Prozac Related Birth Defects


Prozac is a frequently prescribed antidepressant used to treat mental health issues such as major depressive disorder (MDD), bulimia nervosa, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. The active ingredient fluoxetine is on the market in various forms but remains a commonly prescribed drug for patients in need of this type of medication.

In July of 2006, the United States Food and Drug Administration published a warning regarding the consumption of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) by pregnant women. The warning was based on a study that alerted the FDA that the use of SSRI-containing antidepressants by expecting mothers may lead to birth defects.

Prozac-related Birth Defects

Some of the possible birth defects associated with SSRI antidepressants such as Prozac include:

  • Limb defects
  • Facial defects
  • Anal atresia
  • Abdominal defects
  • Autism
  • Neural-tube defects
  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)

Some of these birth defects can be corrected immediately following birth, but their occurrence is terrifying for the family. Some defects, like persistent pulmonary hypertension, are life-threatening and require intubation of the child. Others, such as limb and facial defects can affect children throughout their development and into adulthood.

The FDA required all manufacturers of drugs containing SSRIs to update their warning label in order to alert consumers to this possible threat and avoid birth defects in unborn children. Birth defects caused by pharmaceuticals may leave newborns in need of long-term or permanent medical treatment and leave them at risk for further health problems.

Although the information regarding Prozac use and birth defects has been questioned, any women currently taking the medication should consider talking to her doctor before getting pregnant.

Prozac and Behavioral Problems

A study recently unearthed in January 2005 shows that a possible link to behavioral problems, particularly increased suicidal behavior, was shown as early as 1988 in an internal report done by Eli Lilly & Co., the producers of Prozac. Prozac is currently the only SSRI permitted to be used on children, but there are growing concerns that the prescription of this and other antidepressants to adults, teens, and children carries the increased risk of suicidal behavior. The FDA has requested that Prozac carry warnings to potential patients to monitor any worsening of depression or development of suicidal thoughts.

Your Legal Rights

If your family has been adversely affected because of Prozac or another SSRI medication, an attorney may be able to advise you on how to fight for compensation for the suffering you have needlessly suffered.

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