July 1, 2014 — Women who take antidepressants like Prozac (fluoxetine) during pregnancy could increase their child’s risk of obesity and diabetes, according to a new study presented at a joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and The Endocrine Society.
The research focused on the effect of Prozac on the livers of rodents. Pregnant female rats were given 10-mg of Prozac every day for two weeks before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and until after offspring were weaned.
The findings show a significant increase in the fat and cholesterol content of livers of Prozac-exposed offspring. There was also an increase in TNF-α, a biomarker associated with systemic inflammation.
According to researchers who presented data from the study:
“We have demonstrated for the first time in an animal model that maternal use of a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, resulted in increased fat accumulation and inflammation in the liver of the adult offspring, raising new concerns about the long-term metabolic complications in children born to women who take SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy.”
Currently, up to 20% of women in the United States and 7% of women in Canada are prescribed an antidepressant. Recent studies have found evidence that antidepressants increase the risk of diabetes among those actually taking the drugs. Other studies have found health risks for children who are exposed before birth, including heart defects, skull malformations, abdominal defects, Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN), and more.
In recent years, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers of Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), Effexor (venlafaxine), and more. Plaintiffs accuse drug-makers of failing to provide adequate information about the risk of birth defects.