Paxil, Effexor, Other Antidepressants Linked to Miscarriages: Study

  • Written by: Staff Writers

A new study suggests that side effects of Paxil, Effexor and other antidepressants could increase the risk of a miscarriage for pregnant women. 

Researchers from the University of Montreal found that women were about 68% more likely to have a spontaneous abortion if they used a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). If they took more than one class of antidepressant, the risk of having a miscarriage doubled. The results of the study were published online May 31 by CMAJ, the medical journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Researchers looked at nearly 70,000 pregnant women and found 241 women who had been prescribed antidepressants during pregnancy and had spontaneous abortions. Compared to a matched control group of 1,401 women, they determined that the rate of spontaneous abortion among women given antidepressants, including Paxil and Effexor, was 5.5%, versus 2.7% in women who were not given antidepressants.

When the researchers grouped women by the type of antidepressant they used, Paxil and Effexor were the two SSRIs that seemed to have the strongest connection to miscarriage.

“A higher mean daily dose of [Paxil] or [Effexor] was associated with an increased risk of spontaneous abortion, consistent with a dose-response relationship,” the researchers concluded.

Researchers found that the numbers increased when women were given more than one class of antidepressant, doubling the risk of miscarriage.

Paxil (paroxetine) is an SSRI prescribed to treat depression. Approved in 1992, it has become one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States, with sales of just under $1 billion in 2008.

GlaxoSmithKline has reportedly paid about $1 billion to settle lawsuits over Paxil, which have included allegations of birth defects and suicide. And with hundreds of Paxil birth defect lawsuits still pending, the company is likely to spend substantially more to satisfy jury verdicts or settle all Paxil cases.

Effexor (venlafaxine), was first created by Wyeth in 1993 for the treatment of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders. It was the sixth best selling antidepressant in the U.S. in 2007, with more than 17 million prescriptions. It is also sold under the brand names of Efexor, Alventa, Argofan and Trevilor.

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  1. Anne Reply

    i was on antidepressand Efexror 175mg i found out about 6 months after taking this i was carrying my child i was so, happy 10 weeks into the pg i lost my baby not goo i cryed for months then nthey increased my dosage.

  2. Al Reply

    My sister miscarried while taking Paxil. She won’t admit the Paxil she was taking might have had something to do with it. Then she thinks it would have been her fault she miscarried because she was the one who put the Paxil in her mouth. It wasn’t her fault. Look at the statistics with this stuff. It’s awful. If you’re going to take this, please take birth control too. If you want to be pregnant, consider all of your options carefully. For some people, there are even non-drug ways of feeling better. Search for natural remedies to depression. If people are having a tough time, it seems the drug companies are eager to come up with a pill that “cures” it. Yes, sometimes it does help. However, the simpler options are not always considered before taking something this extreme. Buyer beware.

  3. AJ Reply

    I just miscarried after 6 weeks pregnancy, and I was on Paxil up until the point I discovered I was pregnant (5 weeks in). Since my husband and I are trying to successfully conceive, I am going to stop taking the drug. I firmly believe that Paxil is linked to my miscarriage.

  4. chr3ist0ina Reply

    i was on paxil and topamax when i found out i was pregnant. i miscarried after 2 months. i called a lawyer and they only take birth defects from prescrip. drugs. can someone tell me how to sue these people who give these death capsules. my baby would be 3 months if they had gotten a chance to be born. i still hurt over this.

  5. Valerie Reply

    This is absolutely terrible. I guess that’s why some people prefer to try natural remedies for depression first. This, I suppose, is a reminder to always be careful and to research for any potential side effects before popping anything, natural or otherwise, into your body, especially when you’re pregnant. To everyone who has miscarried due to this, I cannot imagine the pain you must feel. I just hope you have managed to find the inner strength to move on from this ordeal, and my heart goes out to you.

  6. vicky Reply

    I have just learned about the Paxil /miscarriage connection.

    I miscarried 20 years ago, after being on Paxil for about a year

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