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Childhood Obesity, Diabetes Risk Linked to Antidepressants in Pregnancy

Another study has linked side effects of antidepressants in pregnancy to potential health risks for children, suggesting that use of Prozac while pregnant may increase the risk of childhood diabetes and weight gain.  

Researchers from McMaster University presenting the findings of their new study on June 22, at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and The Endocrine Society, indicating that there appears to be a connection between use of Prozac and the birth of children that ultimately develop diabetes and suffer from childhood obesity.

Using an animal model, researchers found that Prozac use during pregnancy increased fat and liver inflammation in offspring. The researchers suggested those findings are likely consistent with an entire class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

In October, researchers published a study in Diabetes Care, which found evidence that antidepressant use was linked to an increased risk of diabetes among those actually taking the drugs, but could not find a causal link.

Antidepressant Pregnancy Risks

According to researchers, about 20% of women in the U.S. are prescribed an antidepressant during pregnancy.

Many popular antidepressants have been linked to a risk of serious health problems for children exposed to the medication before birth, including septal heart defects, skull malformations, neural tube defects, abdominal defects, spina bifida and other serious injuries.

Recent studies have also found that antidepressant use in pregnancy may increase the risk of seizure problems and delay of infant development milestones, such as sitting and walking are affected by antidepressant use during pregnancy.

Pregnancy antidepressant use may also been linked to an increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns (PPHN), which is a serious respiratory disorder that may cause insufficient blood flow to the lungs, leading to serious and potentially life-threatening problems.

In recent years, a growing number of Zoloft lawsuits and Paxil lawsuits have been filed in courts throughout the United States on behalf of children born with defects and malformations after exposure to the medication during pregnancy. The complaints allege that the manufacturers of the medications failed to adequately research the risks associated with use of the antidepressant in pregnancy, or provide proper warnings to women about the risk of becoming pregnant while using the medication.

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