Some Antidepressants Pose Birth Defect Risks

Pregnant women with depression often find themselves choosing between the lesser of two evils. Two new studies published in the June 2007 New England Journal of Medicine could help women make a more informed decision. One study of nearly 10,000 infants born with birth defects and nearly 6,000 healthy infants found that women who took sertraline (Zoloft) in the first few months of pregnancy had twice the risk of having a baby born with a heart defect, while those on paroxetine (Paxil) had more than three times the risk. The second study from the University of British Columbia also found a tripling of heart defects in babies born to mothers who took Paxil as well as an increased risk of neural tube defects.

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