What Is Celexa?
Celexa, also known as Citalopram, is an antidepressant medication in the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) group of drugs. It is used for the treatment of anxiety and depression caused by an unbalance of chemicals in the brain. It can also improve energy levels and provide a feeling of well being. It is taken by many patients, which include pregnant women, to counter the effects of obsessive compulsive disorders and other major depression discords. The dosage for Celexa is normally started at 20mg per day and can be increased to 40mg per day if a doctor believes that the patient will benefit from this.
Celexa And Pregnancy
Studies on Celexa have indicated there could be an increased risk of newborn babies being delivered with birth defects if the medication is taken by mothers when they are pregnant. There could also be a risk to the newborn if taking Celexa and breastfeeding as the drug can be secreted and may cause weight loss or excessive sleepiness in the new baby so it is not recommended that the medication is taken while nursing.
The Food And Drug Administration (FDA) has placed Celexa in Pregnancy Category C which means that there have been studies with animals that show a link to an increased risk of babies being born with birth defects. Studies with humans have not been undertaken in well controlled environments. The FDA have announced that the taking of Celexa during pregnancy should only be considered if a doctor recommends that the benefits to the patient will outweigh the risks of birth defects.
It was reported in February 2006 by the New England Journal of Medicine that mothers who took Celexa or other similar antidepressant medication in their last trimester were 6 times more likely to give birth to a baby that was suffering from persistent pulmonary hypertension then mothers who had not taken any antidepressant drugs. The report went on to say that around twelve in one thousand babies born to mothers that took antidepressants while pregnant had persistent pulmonary hypertension compared to less than two in a thousand whose mothers had not taken any SSRI medications.
Persistent pulmonary hypertension is a very serious condition which can lead to babies having an abnormal blood flow through the lungs and heart which can deprive them of oxygen. Organ failure can result from this such as the kidneys and in some cases the brain. Babies can die suddenly from this condition and those that survive can develop severe breathing problems as they age.
A link between Celexa and neural tube defects was revealed in a study published in the July 2011 edition of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The research suggested that taking citalopram while pregnant in the first three months (first trimester) increased the risk of the newborn baby being born with a neural tube defect which could lead to Spina Bifida.
In another study found in the Archives of General Psychiatry it was suggested that there was an increased risk of babies having autism spectrum if the mother had taken antidepressant drugs, such as Celexa, in the year prior to birth. The research disclosed that women were twice at risk of having a baby with autism spectrum disorder if they took an SSRI drug up to a year before the birth of their baby. If the woman took Celexa or another SSRI drug during the first trimester then the chances of them having a child with autism rose to nearly four times more likely compared to those mothers who had not taken any antidepressants while pregnant.
Celexa Birth Defects
There are a number of birth defects associated with taking Celexa while pregnant:
Septal Defect. This is where a hole develops in wall of the baby’s heart. The heart needs to work harder to pump more blood as this causes poor circulation. This condition can often lead to the need for open heart surgey.
Great Arteries Transposition. This is the reversal of the pulmonary artery and the aorta which carry the blood away from the heart. This can cause a deprivation of oxygen in the blood and surgery is often required to correct this condition.
Pulmonary Stenosis. This causes a narrowing of the pulmonary valve which can lead to blood flow to the lungs being decreased.
Coarction Of The Aorta. This is the narrowing of the aorta in the baby which can cause improper blood flow through the body. Surgery is often required to correct this problem.
Tetrology Of Fallot. This defect has four parts which are a large ventricular septal defect, thickening of the right ventricle, the narrowing of the pulmonary valve and a dilated aorta connected to the left and right ventricles. This can result in the blood not receiving sufficient oxygen from the lungs.
Cleft Lip. This affects the baby’s upper lip and can lead to problems with language and speech delays.
Cleft Palate. If the separate parts of the skull that form the roof of the mouth do not join properly then a cleft palate can result. This can cause problems with feeding, ear infections, breathing and speech in later life.
Club Foot. This condition occurs when the blood vessels, joints, bones and muscles of the leg do not develop properly. This normally leads to the foot turning downwards and inwards which can severely impair mobility.
Craniosynostis. If one or more of the baby’s sutures harden prematurely this can lead to a lack of growth of the infant’s head, intracranial pressure and a misshapen skull.
There have been a number of Citalopram lawsuits to date. If you or a member of your family gave birth to a baby with defects after taking Celexa in pregnancy then you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation. Celexa lawsuits are best handled by a competent Celexa lawyer.
Please ensure that you get sound advice from an experienced Celexa attorney as they will be able to help you and advise on the eligibility of your case.