Wellbutrin Birth Defects
Approved to treat: Major depression
Drug category: Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI)
Year approved: 1985
Babies who are prenatally (before birth) exposed to Wellbutrin have an increased risk of developing birth defects, including serious and life-threatening heart defects, including:
- Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
- Coarctation of Aorta
Study Finds Link Between Anti-depressant Exposure and Birth Defects
Considerable research, including a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2010, establishes a link between early pregnancy Wellbutrin use and left outflow tract heart defects. A left outflow tract defect disrupts blood flow from the heart’s left chambers to the rest of the body.
Wellbutrin is listed by a Category C drug by the FDA, which means that it has been tested on animal fetuses, but no controlled study has been performed on humans. 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 certain anti-depressants are not currently required to warn users of these increased risks and, as a terrible result, babies continue to be harmed.