What Is Prozac?
The drug Prozac, which is also known as Fluoxetine, is an antidepressant medication which belongs to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) group of medicines. When chemicals in the brain become unbalanced, Prozac can be used to treat this. If chemicals in the brain are unbalanced, this can cause panic attacks, depression, obsessive compulsive disorders and anxiety. It is also used to treat more severe disorders such as bulimia nervosa (this is an eating disorder) and other major depressive disorders such as bipolar. It is recommended that patients start out taking 20mg of Prozac per day and this can be increased to 80mg a day if a doctor believes that this is warranted.
Prozac Side Effects
Prozac is one of the most prescribed antidepressant drugs in the world and over 54 million people have taken the medication and this includes women who were pregnant. It has been concluded in various studies that side effects of Prozac exist and there is a risk in pregnant women of Prozac birth defects which include primary pulmonary hypertension, heart defects and pulmonary stenosis.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning in July 2006 about the risk of serious lung problems in newborn babies where the mothers had been taking an SSRI antidepressant drug during their pregnancy. This warning followed the publication of a study in the New England Journal of Medicine which suggested that newborn babies were up to 6 times more likely to have persistent pulmonary hypertension problems where the mother had taken an SSRI drug such as Prozac. It also claimed that newborn’s whose mothers took Prozac while pregnant were prone to insomnia, agitation and poor feeding.
The drug was placed in Pregnancy Category C which means that studies on animals have proved a potential risk to the unborn baby but studies in humans do not show greater risks of birth defects compared with stopping the medication. The study also suggested that taking Prozac and breastfeeding presents a potential risk of the drug being transferred to the child.
Pregnant women have also been warned by the FDA that they should not just suddenly stop taking antidepressant medication when they are pregnant because of the associated risks of suffering with depression while pregnant.
In July 2011 the Archives of General Psychiatry suggested a link between Prozac and autism (other SSRI drugs also included in this). A link was suggested to autism spectrum disorder where the mother had taken an SSRI medication up to a year prior to giving birth. According to the article the risk of the baby having autism spectrum disorder doubled if the mother was taking SSRI drugs up to a year prior to birth and quadrupled if they took the drugs during the first three months of their pregnancy.
Prozac And Pregnancy
There have been a number of suggested Prozac birth defects and these include:
Tetralogy Of Fallot. This is a combination of a thickening of the right ventricle, a dilated aorta connected with the left and right ventricles, large ventricular septal defect and a narrowing of the pulmonary. This can lead to the blood being poorly oxygenated as it flows through the body.
Septal Defect. This is a hole in the heart wall that can cause poor circulation of the blood. It means that the heart needs to pump harder to ensure that there is sufficient blood flow. This condition often requires major surgery.
Great Arteries Transposition. This is where the great vessels, the aorta and pulmonary artery, are transposed. Again major surgery is often required to correct this.
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. This occurs when the left side of the heart does not completely develop which in severe cases can lead to the sudden death of the baby. A heart transplant may be required to save the child.
Coarction Of The Aorta. The aorta is too narrow with this condition which leads to the blood flow through the body being uneven. There is a need for surgery in a number of these cases.
Pulmonary Stenosis. The pulmonary valve is narrowed which results in a decreasing of blood flow to the lungs.
Club Foot. This is the abnormal development of the blood vessels, joints, bones and muscles in the babies leg and foot which tends to cause the foot to turn inward and downward.
Cleft Palate. If the parts of the skull that go to form the roof of the mouth do not join together properly then a cleft palate will result. This can cause issues with hearing loss, ear infections, feeding, breating and speech problems.
Cleft Lip. This affects the baby’s upper lip which can cause speech development problems.
Craniosynostosis. This problem occurs when some or all of the baby’s sutures become hard before they are supposed to which can lead to intracranial pressure, a lack of head growth and a misshapen skull.
If you or a member of your family was taking Prozac while pregnant and had a baby with birth defects then you may be eligible for compensation. You will need the help and advice of qualified Prozac lawyers who will assess your case. You will need to contact an experienced Prozac attorney if you want your case to be successful.