2 Studies released in late February have shown that women who take antidepressants during pregnancy especially during the latter part of pregnancy are causing their children to be slower reaching developmental milestones.
Researchers have found that out of more than 81,000 babies studied, the babies of mothers who took antidepressants during the 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy developed the ability to sit without support and to walk later than the children of mothers who suffered from depression but did not take medication. This also seemed to affect male more than female babies.
This sounds as if these mothers may have caused serious problems for their children until you read further into the study. These babies actually developed these skills approximately 3 weeks later than their un-medicated pregnancy counterparts. The only other developmental milestone that these medicated babies have shown is that by the age of 19 months the medicated toddlers were less able to occupy themselves for more than 15 minutes. All other milestones were met at the same time as the children whose mothers did not take antidepressants.
Many antidepressants fall into the field of being serotonin re-uptake inhibitors or SSRI’s. This study isn’t the first to show that antidepressants and SSRI’s can have an impact on fetal development, but it is the first to examine the development of the child after birth.
Attorney Nicole Maldonado, who is currently involved in ongoing antidepressant birth defect litigation, was asked about the inclusion of a certain drug which isn’t classified as an SSRI in many studies about the effects of antidepressant medication. Due to its inclusion in these studies this product could ultimately see a drop in sales if people become wary of its use. The attorney helps explain why this product is included in the studies and the effects of its inclusion.
When asked this question:
“I notice that many studies of SSRIs include Effexor in the study, even though Effexor is an SNRI. Is this because Effexor is mistakenly included in the study? Is it that SNRIs are so similar to SSRIs that they are studied together (and, if they are similar, is it just because they affect serotonin levels?) or would there be another reason for the inclusion of Effexor in SSRI studies? “
Attorney Nicole Maldonado replied:
“SNRI’s, like SSRI’s, are considered “newer” antidepressants that have a similar mechanism of action, inhibiting re-absorption of one or more neurotransmitters that are released between neural synapses when a neuron sends a signal. They both inhibit re-absorption of serotonin.
They have similar intended effects and similar side effect profiles, so along with a similar mechanism of action, they are often included in studies or analysis together.”
As with any medication whether you are pregnant or not, it is important to discuss any concerns or any studies that you find with your physician to make sure that you are taking a product that won’t do more harm than good. Pay attention to the acronyms and classifications of antidepressants you take and research their effects, both by individual drug name and by the classification.