ATTENTION MOTHERS: PPHN MAY BE CAUSED AS A SIDE EFFECT OF ANTIDEPRESSANTS TAKEN DURING PREGNANCY INCLUDING PAXIL, LEXAPRO, & ZOLOFT.
PPHN Update 1/13/12: According to the results of a new study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), women who use selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy have a significantly increased risk of giving birth to babies with PPHN. In a comprehensive analysis of more than 1.6 million live births, SSRI antidepressant exposure during the second trimester of pregnancy was associated with a doubling of the risk of PPHN.
PPHN Update 12/15/11: The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a new press release regarding the link between SSRI antidepressants and persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). Since issuing a 2006 Public Health Advisory about the association between SSRIs and PPHN, the FDA has continued to receive conflicting findings about this potential risk. Click here to learn more.
What is PPHN?
PPHN is an extremely serious congenital (present at birth) defect in which the baby's arteries to the lungs remain constricted after delivery, limiting the amount of blood flow to the lungs and therefore the amount of oxygen into the bloodstream. Infants born with PPHN typically require intubation and mechanical ventilation. Sadly, 10 to 20 percent of affected infants do not survive despite the treatment.
Antidepressants may cause PPHN
A landmark study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that the use of antidepressants during pregnancy may cause PPHN. The study found that when a pregnant woman takes an antidepressant after the 20th week of pregnancy, there is a 600% increased risk that her child will be born with the condition.
Antidepressants linked to PPHN
The following antidepressants have been associated with the development of persistent pulmonary hypertension in children born to mothers who took them during pregnancy:
- Prozac (fluoxetine)
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
- Symbyax (fluoxetine and olanzapine)
- Wellbutrin (bupropion)
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of PPHN often appear shortly after birth (even if the child is receiving artificial oxygen to breath) and include rapid heart rate, rapid and difficulty breathing, signs of respiratory distress (i.e nostril flaring and grunting), and bluish skin tone (cyanosis), which is a sign of oxygen deprivation.
Do I have a PPHN 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 PPHN cases in all 50 states.