Some antidepressants pose the risk of a birth defect known as patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). Pregnant women taking any antidepressant medications should get regular sonograms to check for fetal heart defects.
What is Patent Ductus Arteriosus?
PDA is a congenital heart condition in which abnormal blood flow occurs between the aorta and the pulmonary artery. Before birth, the two arteries are connected by a blood vessel critical to fetal blood circulation called the ductus arteriosus. A short time after birth, the ductus arteriosus is supposed to close as part of the normal changes occurring in the baby's circulation. In newborns with PDA, however, the ductus arteriosus remains open (patent). This opening allows oxygen-rich blood from the aorta to mix with oxygen-poor blood from the pulmonary artery. This can put strain on the heart and increase blood pressure in the lung arteries.
PDA birth defects linked to antidepressant medications
Unfortunately, children born with PDA and other life-threatening congenital birth defects have been associated with the use of the antidepressant medications. This link between the drugs and congenital heart & lung defects has many concerned that pregnant women should not be prescribed the medications at all.
The following antidepressants have been associated with the development of patent ductus arteriosus in children born to mothers who took them during pregnancy:
- Paxil (Paroxetine)
- Zoloft (Sertraline)
- Celexa (Citalopram)
- Prozac (Fluoxetine)
- Lexapro (Escitalopram)
- Symbyax (fluoxetine and olanzapine)
- Wellbutrin (Bupropion)
- Effexor (Venlafaxine)
How can I tell if my baby has PDA?
Symptoms of PDA may include (but are not limited to):
- failure to thrive
- poor feeding
- tachycardia - rapid or irregular heartbeat
- tachypnea - rapid or irregular breathing
A continuous murmur at the upper left sternal border is also sometimes common. Diagnosis is by echocardiography, and administration of indomethacin with or without fluid restriction may be tried in premature infants with a significant shunt. If the connection persists, surgical or catheter-based correction may be required.
Do I have a PDA Lawsuit?
The Defective Drug & Products Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in antidepressant drug birth defects lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new PDA cases in all 50 states.