In a recent study, it was determined that antidepressant drugs taken by pregnant women in their 20th week or later caused the frequency of Primary Pulmonary Hypertension in babies to rise.
These studies have raised an alarming dialogue among PPH specialists and other experts in which anti-depressants used by pregnant women can increase the chances of their babies being born with lung problems, specifically Primary Pulmonary Hypertension.
The drugs in question are well known. They include: Celexa, Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft.
Consequently, babies born with Primary Pulmonary Hypertension require immediate assistance in order to breathe. Unfortunately, it is estimated that 10 to 20 percent of these babies will die soon after birth.
Moreover, those born with Primary Pulmonary Hypertension will undoubtedly develop hearing loss, brain abnormalities, and dysfunction in development and seek assistance from a PPH specialist.
Although experts claim the risk of having a child born with Primary Pulmonary Hypertension is very low, women who do take any of these anti-depressants are taking a chance with their unborn. It was also found that women who are still viable to have children, but have depression issues, are more likely to take anti-depressants.
In response to these underlying facts, the FDA concluded that more safety studies were needed, but at the same time, women who do take anti-depressants should not stop due to this report.
But the fact remains that newborns do develop symptoms such as poor eating, seizures, and anxiety. Therefore, one must seek the guidance and assistance of a PPH specialist. One such study reported that 30 per cent of infants exposed to anti-depressants in the womb developed a sugar imbalance, sleep disturbances, and symptoms akin to drug withdrawal.
Consequently, the FDA warned that the use of Paxil during the first trimester is associated with increased risk of birth abnormalities such as cardiac defects. However, it did not end there. According to the Johnson Law Group who practices pharmaceutical litigation in general, and cases relating to Paxil in particular, they discuss the problems of Paxil as a prescribed drug in this way: More than 20 million Americans take antidepressants.
Last year doctors dispensed 150 million prescriptions in the United States, according to IMS Health, a Connecticut-based health care information company. As much as 70 percent of the drugs are prescribed not by psychiatrists but by general practitioners with no special training in complex mental disorders. The overall market for antidepressants in the United States is more than $12.5 billion annually.
Moreover, they proclaim that the FDA alerted health care professionasl and patients about new studies suggesting that Paxil increased the risk of birth defects, particularly heart defects, when women took the drug during the first three months of pregnancy. Early results of two studies showed that women who took Paxil during the first three months of pregnancy were about two times more likely to have a baby with a heart defect than women who received other antidepressants or women in the general population.
Most of the heart defects reported in these studies were atrial and ventricular septal defects (holes in the walls of the chambers of the heart). In general, the FDA said, these defects range in severity from those that are minor and may resolve without treatment to those that cause serious problems and may need to be repaired surgically.
That warning was followed with another alert from the FDA in July 2006 that reported that the use of antidepressants by pregnant mothers resulted in babies born with a serious condition called persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN). Babies born with PPHN have abnormal blood flow through the heart and lungs and do not get enough oxygen to their bodies. Babies with PPHN can become very sick and possibly even die.
The results of this study, reported by The New England Journal of Medicine, showed that babies born to mothers who took SSRIs, the family of drugs that Paxil belongs to, were six times more likely to have PPHN than babies born to mothers who did not take antidepressants during pregnancy.
In another study, the higher incidence of Primary Pulmonary Hypertension did not occur in women who took non-SSRI antidepressants. These include tricyclics such as Elavil, Wellbutrin, Effexor, and Desyrel. The bottom line is that there is a need for more information about the safety and uses of drugs during pregnancy. Seeking advice from a PPH specialist in consultation with a pediatric doctor may be recommended.
If you have been taking Paxil during pregnancy, and your newborn showed signs of either Primary Pulmonary Hypertension, birth defects or serious illness, it is incumbent upon you to contact a PPH attorney to commence litigation on your behalf. While the loss of a child can never be fully measured in monetary value, you may need to seek compensation for additional medical treatment as a result of this devastating loss.
About the Author
Nick Johnson is lead counsel with Johnson Law Group. Johnson represents plaintiffs in many states and focuses on injury cases involving Fen-Phen and PPH, Paxil, Mesothelioma and Nursing Home Abuse. Call Nick Johnson at 1-888-311-5522 or visit http://www.jbclawfirm.com for a free case evaluation.