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Taking Prozac while pregnant may increase risk of birth defects

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Pregnant women who take the antidepressants fluoxetine (Prozac) and paroxetine (Seroxat) have an increased risk of giving birth to babies with heart anomalies, warn international researchers.

They studied 2,191 women – 410 who had taken paroxetine (Seroxat) during pregnancy, 314 who had taken fluoxetine (Prozac) and 1,467 controls who had not taken an antidepressant.

Those taking fluoxetine (Prozac) during the first three months of pregnancy gave birth to four times as many babies with heart problems as women who did not, while those taking paroxetine (Seroxat) gave birth to three times more children with anomalies than controls, said the researchers from Israel, Italy and Germany.

‘It’s estimated that as many as one in seven women suffer from clinical depression during pregnancy and clinicians need to weigh up the individual risks of pregnant women taking, or not taking, drugs like fluoxetine (Prozac),’ the authors said.

‘We should point out that there is no evidence of any increased risk posed by citalopram (Cipramil) and sertraline (Lustral), which belong to the same group of antidepressants,’ they added.

British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (2008) 66: 695-705

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