Infants born to mothers who take antidepressants during the final months of pregnancy can suffer mild to severe symptoms of drug withdrawal. Researchers reported that newborns exposed to antidepressants taken by their mother late in pregnancy have twice the risk of admission to special-care nurseries as newborns not exposed to these drugs. They also have twice the risk of respiratory complications. Some were serious enough to require ventilation. Seizures were also reported in these infants.
The newly published review included studies assessing newborn behavior in women taking antidepressants over the past decade. Moses-Kolko and colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine report that infants exposed to SRI antidepressants shortly before birth were three times as likely to exhibit behaviors like jitteriness, respiratory distress, and fussiness as nonexposed infants and those exposed only during early pregnancy.
SRIs are the most widely prescribed antidepressants and include the drugs Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, and Effexor. Use of these medications during pregnancy is not associated with fetal malformation, say the researchers. Most reports of antidepressant-related complications occurred in children exposed to Prozac and Paxil. Symptoms associated with Zoloft, Celexa, and Effexor exposure were less common but still significant.
The Journal of the American Medical Association, May 18, 2005
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #06.
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