There is growing research suggesting that using Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) during pregnancy may increase your risk of having a baby with a birth defect or intellectual disability.
What is Pristiq?
Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) is one of the newest antidepressant medications on the U.S. market, introduced in 2008 by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (now a part of Pfizer). Pristiq belongs to a class of drugs known as SNRIs (Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors), which treat psychological disorders by influencing levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, which are thought to influence mood and emotions.
Pristiq is almost the same drug as Effexor, though there are some key differences (including dosage and side effects). Both drugs are manufactured by Wyeth and are metabolized by the body into desvenlafaxine.
Pristiq and Pregnancy
Researchers have found evidence that taking Pristiq during pregnancy may increase your risk of having a baby with a birth defect. Pristiq is a Pregnancy Category C drug, according to the FDA. In studies of Pristiq in animals, it can have adverse effects on a developing fetus. However, it is unknown what effect Pristiq has on a developing human baby. Pristiq can also pass through breast-milk, which could potentially harm a nursing infant.Pristiq and Heart Defects
Using antidepressants may increase your risk of having a baby with a heart defect. Septal heart defects are most strongly associated with antidepressants. These defects occur when the septal wall (between the left and right side of the heart) has holes, which vary in size. Atrial Septal Defects (ASD) occur in the septal wall between the two upper chambers; Ventricular Septal Defects (VSD) occur in between the two lower chambers.