Friday, July 15, 2011

Studies linked Zoloft to birth defects.

Pregnant women who are taking antidepressant drug Zoloft may think twice about continuing the medication after several studies over the years revealed that the drug could increase the risk of serious birth defects in infants such as brain and spinal cord defects. Mothers would always protect their child even before they are born to an extent of making sure they will not suffer birth defects.

Pfizer, Inc.-manufactured Zoloft is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that increases serotonin levels in the brain which effectively treats disorders. In response to several studies revealing Zoloft’s hand in various birth defects including a serious and potentially deadly effect on the infants’ heart, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned against using the medication among pregnant women.

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published a 2006 study which claims that women are six times more liable to give birth to an infant who have acquired a serious and potentially fatal circulatory condition called persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) if they take Zoloft while they are already on their 20th week of pregnancy. This claim is further supported by another study in 2007 published also in the The New England Journal medicine (NEJM) that mothers who take Zoloft or similar antidepressant drugs during their pregnancy were twice as likely to give birth to an infant with heart defects most common of which are ventricular outflow defects and septal defects.

Aside from a seriously defective heart, researchers also claimed that children born to mothers who was treated by Zoloft during their pregnancy are twice as likely to suffer from craniosynostosis, a condition wherein there is a problem with the growth of the brain and skull; and six times more likely to suffer from omphalocele—imagine a baby whose parts of its intestines are found outside the abdominal wall. Another study claimed more birth defects such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), Tetralogy of Fallot, cardiomyopathy, anencephaly, patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), tricuspid stenosis, cleft mitral valve or bicuspid aortic valve.

The FDA noted the study of PPHN in infants but it only required birth defect warnings from Paxil, another antidepressant drug. The various studies that showed a connection between Zoloft intake and birth defects prompted the FDA to warn mothers regarding the risk to their newborns.

Mothers are, however, advised to talk to their doctors before deciding to no longer take Zoloft because abruptly stopping in taking the medication may lead to them suffering withdrawal symptoms after giving birth to their child.

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