SSRI antidepressant drug Paxil has reportedly been linked to an increased risk of cardiac birth defects when taken by pregnant women.
In 2005, the FDA warned that women taking this drug during pregnancy were twice as likely to deliver children with certain Paxil birth defects, specifically atrial septal defects (ASD) and ventricular septal defects (VSD).
Further research has suggested that SSRI drugs like Paxil may also be linked to a number of other SSRI birth defects affecting the heart, including transposition of the great arteries and hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
Paxil Heart Defects
The FDA released a public health advisory in December of 2005 revealing that women taking Paxil (generic: paroxetine) during the first trimester of pregnancy may have an increased risk of delivering a child with cardiac birth defects. The agency also announced that, due to the potential risk of Paxil birth defects, the drug would be moved to pregnancy category D, indicating that human research suggests that the drug poses a risk to a fetus. These decisions were based on the agency’s analysis of two studies, which revealed that most of the observed Paxil cardiac defects were atrial septal defects or ventricular septal defects.
While the FDA has associated Paxil use during pregnancy with holes in the heart, studies have linked the use of SSRI drugs, a class of antidepressants which includes Paxil, during pregnancy to a number of other cardiac malformations including:
- Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
- Tetralogy of fallot
- Coarctation of the aorta
- Club foot
- Spina bifidia