A recent MSNBC article addressed the growing concern among pregnant women taking antidepressants during pregnancy and the connection to birth defects. According to MSNBC, a growing concern over the damage done by taking drugs like Zoloft in the third trimester of pregnancy has many women wondering if the anxiety relief is worth the risks to the developing infant.
The MSNBC report, “Depression dilemma in pregnancy: Ditch meds?,” describes a patient who was prescribed antidepressants by two different medical professionals. One of those prescriptions was for Zoloft, which the article explains “may increase the risk for persistent pulmonary hypertension, a condition in which there are problems with the baby’s blood circulation, and not enough oxygen reaches the bloodstream, resulting in respiratory difficulties.”
That article explains that according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “Between 14 percent and 23 percent of women will experience symptoms of depression during pregnancy.” Furthermore, MSNBC explains that around “8 percent of women take antidepressants during pregnancy, according to a study published in 2006.”
Although MSNBC reports that “newer medications, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (which include Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil), have not been found to increase the risk of” intelligence and language problems, a recent Danish study reported in the American Academy of Pediatrics found that children of mothers who took such medications did see delayed developmental milestones.
In that report, scientists found that “Children with second- or third-trimester exposure to antidepressants were able to sit 15.9 days … and to walk 28.9 days … later than children of women not exposed to antidepressants,” though the scientists did note these children still fell within the normal development ranges. In addition, the study found that “Fewer children with second- or third-trimester exposure to antidepressants were able to sit without support at 6 months of age … and fewer were able to occupy themselves at 19 months of age.”
The Danish study concludes that “a permanent or reversible effect of antidepressant exposure on fetal brain development, which may depend on the timing of exposure during pregnancy” accompanies this anti-depressant use during pregnancy.
Furthermore, MSNBC reports that “Taking medications close to the time of delivery may mean the baby experiences some temporary withdrawal symptoms, including jitteriness and irritability, after birth,” highlighting the effect of these drugs on infants. Although many experts claim the effects of untreated depression can lead to complications, others argue that “few studies have looked at the potential effects to the child over the long term,” meaning anti-depressants like Zoloft might pose risks to children scientists are not yet even aware of.
If you or a loved one has experienced serious side effects, birth defects or health complications with Zoloft, contact Newsome Law Firm and fill out a case evaluation form today. Our team of attorneys has experience specific to complications associated with prescription medication. Not only can they give you the legal guidance you need, they can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Pedersen, Lars Henning, Henriksen, Tine Brink & Olsen, Jorn. (February 22, 2010) “Fetal Exposure to Antidepressants and Normal Milestone Development at 6 and 19 Months of Age.” Retrieved on April 25, 2011 from The American Academy of Pediatrics.
Rettner, Rachel. (April 17, 2011) “Depression dilemma in pregnancy: Ditch meds?” Retrieved on April 25, 2011 from MSNBC.