July 9, 2015 — A new study published in the British Medical Journal has confirmed a link between the antidepressants Prozac and Paxil and an increased risk of birth defects when they are used during pregnancy.
Researchers looked at data on nearly 18,000 mothers of infants with birth defects and compared them to nearly 10,000 infants without birth defects who were born between 1997-2009. A total of 1,285 reported using antidepressants during one month before conception through the first trimester of pregnancy.
Paxil was associated with five birth defects:
- 3.2-fold increased risk of anencephaly
- 1.8-fold increased risk of atrial septal defect
- 2.4-fold increased risk of right ventricular outflow tract obstruction defect
- 2.5-fold increased risk of gastroschisis
- 3.5-fold increased risk of omphalocele
Prozac was associated with higher rates of two birth defects:
- 2.0-fold increased risk of right ventricular outflow tract obstruction
- 2.9-fold increased risk of craniosynostosis
The researchers concluded:
“These data provide reassuring evidence for some SSRIs but suggest that some birth defects occur 2-3.5 times more frequently among the infants of women treated with paroxetine or fluoxetine early in pregnancy.”