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Antidepressants Linked to Ventricular Septal Defects
A warning was issued by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for both health care service providers and their patients about the repercussions of using Paxil, a paroxetine antidepressant.Various studies say that Paxil heightens the risk of birth defects on infants of mothers who used it during the first three months of pregnancy. Physical deformities such as irregular head sizes, cardiovascular complications or mental disorders such as autism are prime examples of these birth defects.
The FDA likewise issued a “black box” warning for contraindications of Paxil which included suicidal behavior among adolescent users and cardiovascular complications. The most-complained-about Paxil side effect, however, are birth defects which has been the subject of various lawsuits against its manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline.Atrial and ventricular septal defects are the most reported form of heart defects among infants which prompted the FDA to change Paxil’s pregnancy warning category from C to D.
The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) says that a ventricular septal defect refers to one or more holes in the wall that separates the right and left ventricles of the heart. Ventricular septal defect is considered to be one of the most usual type of heart defect often present upon birth.No symptoms may show on the infant and the as the wall continues to grow after birth, the hole may eventually close.The UMMC says however that if the hole is too large, too much blood will be pumped to the lungs, causing heart failure.
According to the American Heart Association, if the opening is large, the child may breathe faster and harder than normal. Infants may have trouble feeding and growing at a normal rate. Over time, this may cause permanent damage to the lung blood vessels of the infant because more blood than normal is being pumped there. The Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute says that heart failure may be regulated through heart stimulating drugs which will eventually help the child grow naturally. However, Cedar-Sinai further adds that surgery may be necessary if the baby does not respond to treatment.
The FDA has already verified some complaints that associated Paxil to ventricular septal defect. Paxil birth defects may cause other cardiovascular complications such as persistent pulmonary hypertension on newborns, congenital central hypoventilation syndrome and hypoplasia.Although, more studies are required to substantiate these claims, the link between Paxil and the aforementioned birth defects are increasingly becoming clear, warranting more interest and concern.