Zoloft Poses High Birth Defect Risk

Among the many antidepressants from the group of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), Zoloft is probably the most widely prescribed. To ensure its effectiveness and prevent hazards, strict adherence to the regimen needs to be followed. Moreover, this drug may interact with other substances, for instance, the mixture of Zoloft and alcohol might cause dangerous effects.

Unfortunately, things may not go so well for this drug as complaints about birth defects associated with Zoloft use are rising in number. On a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, it was found out that the risk of having a baby born with congenital heart defect is 2 times higher in women taking Zoloft in their first trimester of pregnancy. Yet, this may not be the only congenital defect linked to Zoloft intake during pregnancy.
Medical experts are now trying to establish the link between Zoloft and the following birth defects:

A club foot is a congenital deformity where one foot or both are internally rotated to the ankle. It is probably the most common birth defect involving the legs whose condition might be mild or severe. This problem can be treated by correcting the position of the foot and then applying a cast to keep the position of the foot.

Cleft lip or palate refers to the non-fusion or the opening of the upper lip or the roof of the mouth (palate). Nonetheless, this can be repaired through a surgery which can be done when the child is still 3 months of age.

Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) is the result of elevated pulmonary vascular resistance to the point that venous blood is diverted to some degree through fetal channels into the systemic circulation and bypassing the lungs, resulting in inadequate supply of oxygen to the bloodstream which may be life-threatening. Treatment of an infant with PPHN is often painstaking as it aims to increase the amount in the blood and reverse any causes of hypoxia (poor tissue perfusion). Inotropic drugs like dopamine and dobutamine are often very helpful along with administration of surfactants to improve the condition.

There are many cardiac defects linked to Zoloft intake ranging from minor anomaly to grave consequences. This may cripple the heart from working properly emanating developmental problems to the child or even worse – death. There are instances that the defects will heal by themselves but some may require surgery to repair the problem.

Brain or spinal cord defects occur when the neural tube, precursor of the central nervous system, fail to properly close. The surgery itself can treat the physical aspect of the child but the impact on its distortion to the nerve functions may mean enduring a permanent physical and emotional suffering to the child.

Birth defects are serious matters thus if you found out that you are pregnant or you are planning to have a child, inform your doctor before starting your Zoloft therapy. The physical and emotional endeavors your child will endure may be tough and lifelong.

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