What is Wellbutrin?
Wellbutrin is an FDA approved antidepressant medication typically prescribed for the treatment of depression. It has also been used in an off-label capacity to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Bupropion, the active ingredient in Wellbutrin, is also sold under the brand name Zyban to help stop the urge to smoke.
Wellbutrin has a chemical structure that makes it different from other antidepressants. Unlike many of the other recently developed Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants that target the brain chemical serotonin, Wellbutrin acts on dopamine and norepinephrine. Because of its unique makeup, however, Wellbutrin also has different side effects.
What’s the problem with Wellbutrin?
Unfortunately, many women who took Wellbutrin while pregnant may have children with congenital heart defects. According to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, fetuses exposed to the antidepressant during early pregnancy are more than twice as likely to be at risk for heart defects. The study identified a positive association between early pregnancy bupropion use and congenital heart defects. Sadly, these types of birth defects are life-threatening and often require surgery to be corrected. In addition, many newborn babies have also been born with the following life-threatening birth defects.
- Atrial Septal Defects (ASD) – also known as ‘hole in the heart’ defects
- Ventral or Ventricular Septal Defects (VSD) – hole in the heart wall
- Valve Problems – malformed or stuck and won’t close
- Tricuspid Valve (Ebstein’s Anomaly)
- Mitral Valve
- Transposition of the Great Arteries / Vessels
- Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)
- Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS)
- Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome (HRHS)
- Tricuspid Atresia
- Aortic Stenosis
- Pulmonary Atresia
- Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
- Coarctation of the Aorta
- Truncus Arteriosus
- Tricuspid Valve Stenosis
- Heart Murmur
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)
- Pulmonary Stenosis
- Craniosynostosis – cranial skull defect
- Omphalocele – abdominal wall defect
- Gastroschisis – abdominal wall defect
- Esophageal Stenosis
- Club Foot
- Anal Atresia