January 6, 2016 — A new study has confirmed that women who take the antidepressant Paxil in early pregnancy are more likely to have a baby with a birth defect.
The study, published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, is a systematic review of 23 studies published from 1966 to November 2015.
Compared to non-users, women who used Prozac in the first trimester were 23% more likely to have a baby with a birth defect. The risk of heart defects was also significantly increased — including a 2.4X increased risk of atrial septal defect (“hole in the heart”) and a 2.3X increased risk of pulmonary atresia.
The study confirms results from another study published last year in the British Medical Journal, which linked first-trimester use of Paxil and the following defects:
- Anencephaly — 3.2X increased risk
- Atrial septal defects — 1.8X increased risk
- Right ventricular outflow defect — 2.4X increased risk
- Gastroschisis — 2.5X increased risk
- Omphalocele — 3.5X increased risk
Babies exposed to Prozac in early pregnancy also had higher rates of certain birth defects, including a heart defect and a skull defect known as craniosynostosis. However, researchers cautioned that the absolute risk was low — for example, taking Paxil in early pregnancy increased the estimated risk of anencephaly from 2 babies per 10,000 to 7 babies per 10,000.