Why Antidepressants Are Dangerous During Pregnancy
Taking antidepressants during pregnancy puts children at risk of respiratory illness, seizures
Mothers who take antidepressant drugs during their final stages of pregnancy may suffer from mild drug withdrawal, but the babies are twice as likely to contract respiratory illness and suffer from related seizures. Researcher Eydie Moses-Kolko, MD, said these severe symptoms occur in less than 1 percent of babies exposed to antidepressants like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft and Celexa shortly before birth. She added the decision to continue such treatments should be made on a patient-to-patient basis.
Cranston, R.I., mom Lisa Kirshenbaum said finding a doctor sufficiently trained in the use of antidepressants was the real challenge. Boston psychiatrist Lee Cohen, MD, thinks there may be a connection between antidepressants and infant jitteriness, but doesn't believe it causes other symptoms, and is afraid depressed women may avoid the care they need for fear of harming their babies. Kirshenbaum says women with depression should educate themselves on the subject. Related articles on this topic are also available on the NewsTarget Network, including: Vioxx only the beginning; antidepressants and statin drugs are medication timebombs.
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Original news summary: (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,156926,00.html)
Infants born to mothers who take antidepressants during the final months of pregnancy can suffer mild to severe symptoms of drug withdrawal, but the symptoms rarely last longer than the first few weeks of life, according to a newly published review.
Researchers reported that newborns exposed to antidepressants taken by their mother late in pregnancy have twice the risk of admission to special-care nurseries as newborns not exposed to these drugs.
Researcher Eydie Moses-Kolko, MD, tells WebMD that these severe symptoms occur in less than 1% of babies exposed to antidepressants like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, and Celexa shortly before birth.
Cranston, R.I., mom Lisa Kirshenbaum couldn't agree more, but she adds that finding a doctor who has experience treating women with depression during pregnancy is critical.
Concern about the use of antidepressant drugs known as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) late in pregnancy have grown in recent years with the publication of several studies linking them to withdrawal-like symptoms in newborns.
Use of these medications during pregnancy is not associated with fetal malformation, say the researchers.
Infant jitteriness, irritability, feeding problems, respiratory distress, and stiffened muscle tone are among the symptoms associated with antidepressant exposure shortly before birth in the studies.
Moses-Kolko and colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine report that infants exposed to SRI antidepressants shortly before birth were three times as likely to exhibit behaviors like jitteriness, respiratory distress, and fussiness as nonexposed infants and those exposed only during early pregnancy.
Cohen directs the Center for Women's Mental Health at Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the few treatment facilities in the country that specializes in treating depression during pregnancy.
Kirshenbaum now knows that much of what she heard from doctors during her first two pregnancies was wrong.
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