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CDC: Study shows antidepressants may cause birth defects

Depression is a complex issue affecting many people in Nashville, as well as the rest of the country. There is a variety of effective medication available to help manage the pervasive sadness and emotional mood swings that depression or other mental conditions cause. However, recent studies have shown that some types of antidepressants are dangerous drugs for expectant mothers to take.

In a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers analyzed the data of 9,857 mothers who had children without birth defects, and 17,952 mothers whose babies were born with birth defects from 1997 to 2009. Out of these mothers, 1,285 said they took antidepressants anytime shortly before conception through the first trimester of pregnancy. Zoloft was the drug most commonly taken, with Prozac, Paxil, Celexa and Lexapro following.

The CDC found evidence that some of these medications raised the risk of babies developing certain defects in utero, including defects to the heart, brain, skull and abdominal wall. In 2005, the FDA had warned of the possibility of heart defects in babies whose mothers had taken certain antidepressants.

However, researchers from the CDC stated they were unable to confirm consistent results of the dangers of antidepressants during pregnancy. More research may be needed to provide information on consumer protection from drugs that may harm unborn infants. When treating depression among pregnant women, doctors may need to determine if the problem is severe enough to outweigh the risks. If a physician or drug manufacturing company fails to educate patients of potential harmful effects, there may be a case for malpractice.

Source: The Washington Post, "Link between some antidepressants and birth defects is confirmed," Ariana Eunjung Cha, July 9, 2015

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