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Antidepressants in Pregnancy Tied to Child Obesity, Diabetes

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July 1, 2014 — The use of Prozac (fluoxetine) or other antidepressants during pregnancy could increase levels of triglycerides, fat, and cholesterol in a developing fetus, which could increase a child’s risk of diabetes and obesity, according to a study presented at a joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and The Endocrine Society.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers from Canada. They administered 10-mg of Prozac to a group of pregnant female rats in the two weeks before pregnancy, throughout the pregnancy, and until weaning (about 21 days after birth).

The researchers examined the livers of Prozac-exposed offspring and found higher levels of fat and cholesterol. There were also higher levels of TNF-α, which is a biomarker of inflammation.

Researchers who presented results of the study warned:

“We have demonstrated for the first time in an animal model that maternal use of a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, resulted in increased fat accumulation and inflammation in the liver of the adult offspring, raising new concerns about the long-term metabolic complications in children born to women who take SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy.”

Other studies have found that Prozac increases the risk of diabetes for the person taking the medication, but this is the first study to investigate the risk among Prozac-exposed children. Hundreds of lawsuits are currently pending against manufacturers of Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), and Effexor (venlafaxine) for failing to adequately warn pregnant women about the risks of using antidepressants.

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