Lexapro Could Lead to Birth Defects, Study Finds|
January 8, 2017
According to recent studies, taking certain SSRIs during pregnancy can result in
an increased risk of the baby being born with a range of birth defects and/or
complications. Several studies have shown that there is a connection between
common SSRI antidepressants such as
Lexapro with serious and even life threatening birth defects. Since, the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning to doctors and
other health professionals about the potential dangers to the unborn fetus of
taking Lexapro and certain other SSRIs whilst pregnant, warning that prenatal
Lexapro exposure can lead to an increase risk of fetal congenital heart defects.
According to the New England
Journal of Medicine, taking
SSRIs during pregnancy can also pose an increased risk of Persistent Pulmonary
Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN).
Lexapro is a
popular SSRI which is prescribed in order to treat major depression. Approved in
2002 and manufactured by Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the drug is often
reported as effective for treating depression. A Selective Serotonin Reuptake
Inhibitor, the medication works by regulating the amount of the neurotransmitter
serotonin in the brain, which in turn affects a person’s mood and their overall
mental health and wellness. In the case of Lexapro, the drug treats the patient
by increasing the amount of serotonin produced in their brain, combatting the
symptoms of depression.
According to studies, taking Lexapro whilst pregnant can lead to serious birth
defects in children. Newborns have a 6x increased risk of being born with PPHN
when their mother has taken Lexapro during pregnancy, whilst there is an almost
double risk of a child being born with heart defects when the mother has been
prescribed this drug. Other health risks include club foot with a 5x increased
risk, anencephaly, which is a fetal neural tube defect,
craniosynostosis, gastroschisis, omphaloele, spina bifida, pulmonary atresia,
esophageal atresia, and diaphragmatic hernia.
Are You Taking Lexapro?
If you are currently taking Lexapro to treat depression and are not pregnant,
there should be no reason for you to stop taking the drug or switch to a
different SSRI. However, pregnant women who are currently taking Lexapro and are
worried about the potential harmful effects that it could have on their fetus
should speak to their doctor or another health professional as soon as possible.
However, bear in mind that abruptly stopping taking SSRI medication such as
Lexapro can have a number of harmful side effects to the patient, so if you are
pregnant and need to stop taking this
medication, it is vital that you do so under the careful supervision of your
doctor in order to avoid any further potential problems for you or your baby.
If you are currently suffering from depression and are pregnant, you might be
worried that without Lexapro, it will be difficult to remain in control of your
symptoms. Thankfully, there are many different alternatives to Lexapro that you
may wish to try in order to treat depression. With the guidance of your doctor,
you may be able to change to a different SSRI such as Zoloft or Celexa, which
currently have no associated risk of birth defects when taken by pregnant women.
On the other hand, you may wish to consider avoiding SSRIs completely whilst
pregnant, and look to manage the symptoms of your mental illness in another way,
for example mindfulness meditation or by speaking to an experienced therapist or
counsellor. SSRIs are just one of many different ways to treat mental conditions
such as depression, therefore if you’re worried about how taking medication will
affect your baby, there is a vast array of other options to choose from when it
comes to getting help.
Lexapro is a popular SSRI that’s been proven effective in treating major
depressive disorder in many patients. However, the manufacturers of SSRIs such
as Lexapro are not required to warn women who take these drugs about the risks
of doing so whilst pregnant. With new studies bringing this information to
light, it’s vital that women are made fully aware of the potential dangers of
taking this drug whilst pregnant for their unborn child.
Depression is most commonly treated with medication such as SSRIs, however,
taking drugs such as Lexapro whilst pregnant could have an adverse effect on
your baby’s health. If you are currently pregnant and suffering from depression
or pregnant and taking an SSRI, it’s important to make sure that you speak to
your doctor about your medication and ensure that it is safe to take for both
you and your child.