Know More about Birth Defect Facts

When Paxil hit the market in 1992, it promptly became one of the bestselling and commonly used drugs all over the world. Conversely, the eminence this drug is experiencing may meet a hamper as studies exposed that this drug could raise the risk of many birth defects. For example, links have been created between Paxil and neural tube defects making the use of the drug during pregnancy dangerous.

Generically known as paroxetine hydrochloride, Paxil was once classified Pregnancy Category C by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, many studies on human have revealed significant fetal risk prompting the FDA to change its Pregnancy Category to D. The FDA came to this decision after a study revealed Paxil to be linked to twice as many major birth defects as other antidepressants.

In the study, most of the birth defects identified were heart-related; atrial and ventricular septal defects. These heart abnormalities refer to the perforations in the chambers of the heart. These defects could cause changes in the newborn’s blood circulation that may eventually lead to congestive heart failure.

Congenital abnormalities, also known as birth defects, are faults that exist at birth or even before birth. One out of every 33 babies is born with a congenital defect and these defects account at least 1 in every 5 infant deaths. Moreover, babies with birth defects are more likely to succumb to illness and lifelong disabilities than babies born without birth defects.

Most birth defects occur in the first trimester of pregnancy – a very important stage of development. There are many factors that could cause these defects. Here are some known factors that could increase the chance of having a child with a birth defect:

  • Having someone in their family with a birth defect (For this case, you might need to talk to a genetic counselor.)
  • Taking “street” drugs, smoking, drinking alcohol during pregnancy
  • Taking certain medications that are known to cause birth defects
  • Being pregnant at the age of 35 years or beyond
  • Having medical conditions such as diabetes or obesity

For any concerns with your pregnancy, it is best to talk to your obstetrician or to your health care provider about taking any prescription drugs even over-the-counter medications and dietary or herbal supplements. In addition, if you become pregnant while on a drug therapy – especially Paxil, talk to your doctor before stopping any medications.

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