Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy May Pose Autism Risk

Paxil, a member of the class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), is thought to cause birth defects in children born to mothers who took the medication while pregnant. Many women who have given birth to children with Paxil birth defects have filed lawsuits against manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline alleging the dangers should have been made known to them before they became pregnant.

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Among the dangers that have come to light is the potential risk for autism in a child, according to a July 2011 CNN report. A study conducted by Lisa Croen, Ph.D., director of autism research at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, found that children who were exposed to antidepressants during the first trimester of a pregnancy were about four times as likely to develop a disorder on the autism spectrum (ASD) compared to those children who were not exposed.

How the Researchers Conducted the Study

Using Kaiser Permanente’s patient database, Croen’s team looked at about 300 children with ASD who were born between 1995 and 1999. It then compared them with 1,507 similarly-aged children without autism born in the same hospitals. The authors then cross-referenced those results with instances of the mothers’ antidepressant prescriptions in the year prior to delivery.

After taking into account other autism-risk factors such as ethnicity and the mother’s age, the researchers found that exposure to antidepressants in the womb doubled the risk of ASD. Fetal exposure to the medications showed even more startling results: the risk increased four times over.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has assigned antidepressants such as Paxil with a “C” grade for safety during pregnancy. But the Mayo Clinic goes further with Paxil, recommending that women not use it during pregnancy because the risk is too high.

Protect Your Rights as a Consumer

If you or your child has suffered an injury from your medication, the Rottenstein Law Group can help. Our Paxil lawyers have more than 25 years of collective experience advocating for victims in consumer product injury cases, helping obtain compensation for pain and suffering and unforeseen medical costs. If you think you have a Paxil birth defects lawsuit  please fill out our simple contact form and one of our lawyers will be in touch.

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