Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (also known as SSRIs) have been linked to various birth defects in infants whose mothers took the drugs while pregnant. SSRIs are often prescribed to treat patients with various conditions related to anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
While SSRIs cause a number of side effects in people who take them, mothers who take SSRIs while pregnant may be putting their babies at risk for additional side effects, some very serious. These SSRI medications have been linked to the following birth defects:
- Zoloft – club foot, lung defects, asthma/breathing problems, craniosynostosis, omphalocele, limb reduction
- Paxil – persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), cardiomyopathy, craniosynostosis, spina bifida, club foot
As with any medication, women who take SSRIs should talk to their doctors if they are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while on the medication.