Paxil prevents chemicals in the brain from becoming unbalanced and helps prevent depressive tendencies. However, recent studies suggest that Paxil may be linked to an increased risk of severe congenital birth defects in infants whose mothers took the medication while the child was still in utero.

UPDATE: Studies Link Paxil Antidepressants and Birth Defects

January 6, 2016 — A new study has found that babies exposed to Paxil in the first trimester of pregnancy are twice as likely to have certain heart defects and 23% more likely to have any birth defect. Click here to read more.

September 17, 2015 — Fourteen years after a major study concluded that Paxil was safe for teenagers, a re-analysis of the same data has concluded that the opposite is true. Click here to read more.

July 9, 2015 — When women use Paxil just before or during the first three months of pregnancy, they may double or triple the risk of having a baby with certain birth defects, according to a new study. Click here to read more.

June 19, 2014 — The New England Journal of Medicine has published a study concluding that pregnant women who use antidepressants during the first trimester are not more likely to have a baby with a heart defect. Click here to read more.

June 13, 2014 — The Wall Street Journal reports that a lawsuit has been filed by the widow of a man who took six pills of generic Paxil and committed suicide. The plaintiff alleges that GlaxoSmithKline is not warning that Paxil can increase the risk of suicide for adults. Surprisingly, the lawsuit has survived appeal despite the fact that it involves generic Paxil. Click here to read more.

April 3, 2014 — GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Paxil (paroxetine) antidepressants, has recalled certain batches because the active ingredient may have been tainted with pharmaceutical waste since 2012. Click here to read more.

February 2013 — An $8.5 million settlement will resolve a Paxil class action lawsuit in California. The class action alleges that GlaxoSmithKline failed to warn doctors that Paxil was habit-forming, addictive, and could cause severe withdrawal symptoms. Plaintiffs allege that GSK used “false and deceptive” marketing practices.

Paxil Class Action Lawsuit

Hundreds of women who used Paxil during pregnancy have filed a lawsuit for their baby’s birth defect. These lawsuits are not part of a Paxil class action. Instead, they are individual lawsuits. The first lawsuit to go to trial was awarded $2.5 million on behalf of Lyam Kilker, a boy who was born with severe heart defects. In 2010, GSK agreed to settle 800 lawsuits for an average of $1.2 million each, totaling more than $1 billion.


By inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin, Paxil allows a larger supply of serotonin to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. As a result, symptoms of depression are repressed. However, the use of Paxil has recently been linked to severe, life-threatening congenital birth defects. In July 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about the possible birth defects risk associated with using antidepressants during pregnancy. Paxil side effects may linked to an increased risk of congenital birth defects in children born to mothers who took them during pregnancy.

Birth Defects Linked to Paxil

The following is a list of birth defects linked to the use of Paxil during pregnancy:

  • Atrial Septal Defect and Ventricular Sepatal Defect
  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn
  • Valve Problems – malformed or stuck and won’t close
  • Tricuspid Valve (Ebstein’s Anomaly)
  • Mitral Valve
  • Transposition of the Great Arteries / Vessels
  • Tetralogy of the Fallot
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS)
  • Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome (HRHS)
  • Tricuspid Atresia
  • Aortic Stenosis
  • Pulmonary Atresia
  • Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
  • Coarctation of the Aorta
  • Truncus Arteriosus
  • Tricuspid Valve Stenosis
  • Heart Murmur
  • Pulmonary Stenosis
  • Gastroschisis – abdominal wall defect
  • Esophageal Stenosis
  • Club Foot
  • Anal Atresia
  • Spina Bifida


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