Antidepressants Increase Risk of Inborn Heart Defect

AntidepressantsIf an expectant mom takes antidepressants during first three months of pregnancy, her baby may be born with heart defect, with the risk increasing by 80 per cent. If she takes more than one antidepressant, the risk quadruples. The so called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are usually prescribed to those suffering from depression. The most recognizable of those is Prozac.

Experts, however, warned that the health risk for women may be even higher if they refrain from antidepressants.

Researchers analyzed the health condition of 1,370 babies born by antidepressant takers and compared the data with over 400,000 babies born by mothers who did not take any.

They found that the frequency of underdeveloped tissue that separates parts of the heart was at 0.9 per cent in the first group and 0.5 per cent in the second. Heart defect in babies whose mothers took more than one different antidepressants was found in 2.1 per cent of cases.

Researchers calculated that every 246th mother who took antidepressants at earlier stages of pregnancy may have a baby with heart defect, from minor blood vessel problems to the absence of separating tissue.

They also found the risk increased more with sertaline (Lustral) and citalopram (Celexa). The above-mentioned Prozac had no such effect.

Researchers remind that refraining from the drugs as well as their taking should be done only after consulting with GPs.

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