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Birth Defects Caused by Prozac

Generic: Fluoxetine
Approved to treat: Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Panic Disorder
Drug category: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
Year approved: 1987
Manufacturer: Eli Lilly

Prozac birth defectsBabies who are prenatally (before birth) exposed to Prozac have an increased risk of developing birth defects. According to studies, taking certain SSRIs during pregnancy can result in risks as high as the following:

  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) – 6x increased risk
  • Anencephaly (fatal neural tube defect) – 2.5x increased risk
  • Clubfoot – 5x increased risk
  • Craniosynostosis (craniofacial or skull defect) – 2.5x increased risk
  • Omphalocele (abdominal wall defect that causes intestines, liver, spleen and other organs to protrude through the abdominal wall) – 3x increased risk
  • Gastroschisis (abdominal wall defect) – 30% increased risk
  • Pulmonary Atresia – 3x increased risk
  • Neural Tube Defects (brain, spinal cord and spina bifida) – 60% increased risk
  • Anal Atresia (complete or partial closure of the anus)
  • Heart Defects – nearly doubled risk

Multiple Studies Find Link Between Anti-depressant Exposure and Birth Defects

Considerable research, including two studies published in the June 2007 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine and two studies published in the British Medical Journal, have indicated an increased risk of birth defect for babies exposed to anti-depressants such as Prozac before birth.

The FDA lists Prozac as a Category C medication for pregnancy. This means that women who take Prozac during pregnancy have an increased risk of their babies being born with birth defects. While the risk varies for each defect, one thing is clear: women should be warned of these dangerous and potentially fatal side effects before becoming pregnant. Unfortunately, the manufacturers of SSRI anti-depressants are not currently required to warn users of these increased risks and, as a terrible result, babies continue to be harmed.


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