Study links use of Antidepressant Paxil and Prozac with birth defects

A comprehensive and wide reaching study concluded by the CDC has revealed that expectant mothers who take certain antidepressants like Fluoxetine and Paroxetine during pregnancy may be risking birth defects in their unborn child.

Studies conducted earlier had raised questions about a class of drugs labeled as SSRIs or Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors had prompted the FDA to issue safety warning in 2005 and to be used with caution in pregnancy.

A study which was published in the British Medical Journal had experts from the US CDC wanted to find out if the risk of birth defects was limited to only a few select drugs or a whole class of drugs.


The study involved 28000 women who were asked if they took antidepressants like Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, or Lexapro anytime from one month before conception through the first trimester of pregnancy. This was followed by an analysis that women bore children with birth defects.

The study revealed that Prozac, sold generically as paroxetine and Paxil, sold generically as fluoxetine, were found to cause birth defects while and Lexapro are not associated with birth defects. In Women, who took paroxetine and Paxil birth defects were seen 2 to 3.5 times more commonly as compared to women who did not take them.


Prozac was linked with birth defects in which the babies was misshapen. Paxil was indicted in causing birth defects like protrusion of intestines outside the body and anencephaly in which portions of brain and skull were missing. Paxil and Prozac were also linked to a heart defect.

Dr Michael Bloomfield, clinical lecturer in psychiatry at University College London, commenting on the study said that the study called for more studies since the risk of birth defects isĀ  a serious matter. Most women take these medication on the notion that the potential benefits outweigh the risk which according to the latest study is not correct.