Antidepressants

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Antidepressants are drugs in a category called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). The drugs that we are currently investigating are:

Prozac (Fluoxetine)
Paxil (Paroxetine)
Zoloft (Sertraline)
Lexapro (Escitalopram)
Celexa (Citalopram)
Wellbutrin (Bupropion)

The generic name of each drug is what appears in parenthesis.

The purpose of SSRIs is to balance chemicals in the brain that are unbalanced and causing symptoms such as depression, anxiety, or other moods that come with changes in emotions.

Risks of Taking Antidepressants

Antidepressants have been known to be associated with birth defects. The defects include: abnormal heart formation, abnormal foot formation (club foot), uncommon growth of the skull, defects in the formation of the brain, irregular lung and spine formation, abdominal wall deformities, cleft lip and palate, arm or leg abnormalities, underweight babies, stillbirth, seizures, and drug addicted newborns.

In one study, 68% of miscarriages were reported for mothers who were taking antidepressants throughout the first trimester. Mothers that used antidepressants later in their pregnancies were known to have a “motor development delay” in infants. This means that the babies were slow in developing use of their arms and legs in normal ways. In 2005, a warning was issued to not use antidepressants in the first trimester of a pregnancy because of the risk of acute heart defects.

ssrisIn 2009, a warning was issued to not use antidepressants after the 20th week of pregnancy because it showed six times higher risk of the infant having Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of Newborns (PPHN). This condition can be fatal and result in the newborn having tremendous difficulty breathing due to blood not traveling correctly through the lungs.

Other risks of antidepressants include, but are not limited to: physical symptoms, involuntary movements of the face, arms and legs, sexual side effects, and withdrawal symptoms. Mild, temporary physical symptoms include insomnia, headache, stomach upset, nausea, and diarrhea. Other symptoms could be more severe such as uterine or stomach bleeding. Patients who take SSRIs are more likely to need blood transfusions if they need surgery.

Involuntary movements involve involuntary tics of the face, arms or legs, muscle spasms, trembling, loss of control of the ability to move arms or legs, and anxiety.

Noted sexual side effects have included a lack of desire, delay or prevention of orgasm, and the overall loss of interest in sex.

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