WARNING: Lexapro Taken During Pregnancy Can Cause Birth Defects
Lexapro (escitalopram oxalate) is one type of prescription SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) used in the treatment of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder in adolescents and adults. Taken once per day, Lexapro works to restore and regulate chemical balances in the brain related to mood. To date, Lexapro has been prescribed to over 18 million adults in the US. Unfortunately, recent developments in medical research suggest that when taken during pregnancy, Lexapro (and other SSRIs) can result in major birth defects including Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension, Congenital Heart Defects, and a range of others.
FDA Classification of Lexapro
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently has Lexapro classified in “Category C” in relation to its risks of fetal injury when taken by the mother during pregnancy. The FDA’s “Pregnancy Category C” means that studies have shown negative effects to a fetus, but that in some cases benefits to the mother may warrant the usage of such a drug despite risks to the fetus. Recent speculation suggests that Lexapro and other SSRIs may soon be classified as “Category D” due to the increase in studies linking maternal use during pregnancy to birth defects. Several of these medical studies will be described below.
Lexapro SSRI Pregnancy Studies
Here are the findings of three respected research studies regarding the maternal use of SSRI antidepressants, including Lexapro, during pregnancy:
Clinical Epidemiology Study– Studied over 200,000 pregnant women in Denmark and discovered that taking SSRIs during pregnancy can heighten risk of birth defects between two and four times. Lexapro (generic Escitalopram) heightened the risk of any malformation 2X and increased risk of Septal defects 4X.
Zoloft (generic Sertraline) increases the risk of heart malformations 3X.
Alwan Study– Conducted in 2007 established elevated risks of Anencephaly, Craniosynostosis and Omphalocele when mother took SSRI medication during pregnancy.
Antidepressant Autism Study- Very recent study from July of 2011 suggests link between SSRI use during pregnancy and risk of Autism and Autism Spectrum disorders to unborn child. Risks are associated with all SSRIs including: Lexapro, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Prozac, and Effexor. Study reviewed files from almost 2,000 children and found risk of Autism to be double when mother took SSRI in year prior to birth.
Lexapro Pregnancy Lawsuit – Talk to Antidepressant Lawyer
If your child was born with serious birth defects and the mother had been prescribed Lexapro or any other SSRI antidepressants, anti-psychotic or epilepsy prescription medications at any time during the pregnancy, then contact the lawyer because you and your child could have a legal right to monetary payment for their injuries and associated expenses.