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Misc. News : Non-food Things Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Antidepressants linked to serious birth defects
By Sue Mueller
Jun 29, 2007 - 6:13:35 AM

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Infants born to women who took antidepressants during the first trimester of their pregnancies are at higher risk of serious birth defects, according to two new studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  

The risk of birth defects was deemed small, no more than 1 in 5000 births, but the consequences of taking antidepressants can be serious in those who were affected. Developmental problems associated with the drugs were found in the intestines, brain and skull.  

In the studies, researchers compared 19,471 infants with birth defects to 9,952 normal babies to examine if there is a link between use of a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors including Paxil, Prozoac, Zoloft and Celexa by mothers during the first trimester of their pregnancies and birth defect risk.

It's believed that these antidepressants work by enhancing the activity of the brain chemical serotonin with a low level of which one might feel down and depressed.   Serotonin may be increased by eating certain carbohydrate-based food such as candy and sweets, according to the Columbia University health educators and health care providers, an unsubstantiated source cited.

It has been known that babies born to women on antidepressants experience signs of withdrawal, including tremors and sleep disturbances, during the early days of life. An estimated 10 percent of pregnant women experience depression.

An early study reported by BBC in April 2007 showed three of 25 pregnant women who were diagnosed with major depression had premature birth (under 37 weeks) while on average depression caused birth two days earlier than expected.

The current studies found that Paxil made by GlaxoSmithKline tripled risk of a heart defect that reduces blood flow to the lungs, but the birth defect occurred to no more than 1 percent of births.   Other antidepressants were not linked with heart problems.

In one study, Zoloft was associated with six-times higher risk of omphalocele, a problem involving intestines or other abdominal organs. The risk was experienced in 1 out of every 5,000 births, according to government statistics.

Another study linked antidepressants to doubled risk of three congenital problems including anencephaly in which part of skull and brain is missing, craniosynostosis in which skill bones are closed prematurely and intestinal defects.

The following article is republished, courtesy of International Wellness Directory at for those who might be interested in learning about depression and alternative remedy.   The content has not been substantiated by the writer and readers are advised to exercise caution when considering using any information.

Depression and Nutrition

Depression and Nutrition

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