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No Major Risks from Antidepressants for Unborn Babies

There are barely any important risks for newborns whose mothers have taken antidepressants during the early pregnancy, as shown by the studies conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Boston University, which the National Institutes of Health and Paxil maker GlaxoSmithKline PLC has partly funded.

Both proponents of the study focused on the common kind of antidepressant drugs chosen like the brands Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft. Despite the possible bad effects of these drugs to babies, findings of these studies are good news for pregnant women fighting depression. Obstetrics chairman of the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, Dr. Susan Ramin is familiar with the findings of the studies and says that risk is still involved but close to insignificant.

Both studies try to address the confusion on the link of birth defects with the selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs that is a class of drugs. They looked into a wider variety of birth defects to determine any relation between the SSRIs and the abnormalities. Over 19,000 newborns with birth defects and more than 9,000 defect-free babies were examined by both studies. They took note of the SSRIs that were taken in the first three months of pregnancy by the mothers of all the babies included in the study. As a result SSRIs did not have a link to birth defects.

A psychiatrist for pregnant women at the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, Dr. Stephan Quentzel commends the results of the study as comforting for depressed pregnant women who worry about the health of their unborn babies. He adds that depression may even have a graver effect on the babies than the antidepressants.

It is very important for women to consult with their doctors, especially before pregnancy, the possible risks of antidepressant drugs which may be minimal but cannot be ruled out as stressed by researchers.

Vanessa Arellano Doctor

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