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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My children and I

Let me introduce myself.... My name is Geri.  I am the mother to 4 beautiful children - 3 boys and a girl.  Two of them were born happy and healthy - my other two full of strength and character with special needs.  My son, Christopher aged 6 was born with multiple birth defects. My son Edward aged 5 is autistic.  The common thread between my special needs children is prescription medication.  At the time of conception, I was taking an antidepressant.  what is critical to note is that I stopped immediately after I found out I was pregnant around 6-8 weeks.  It was too late. Unfortunately, each one I took was linked to birth defects and autism.  My mission is to make parents aware of the dangers of these medications and also to provide information on how to obtain compensation for the damages done to their children and family. Below I have provided a listing of medications and their effects.  Click on the link for additional information......

Prescription Drugs and Birth Defects

Recent studies, including one published in the New England Journal of Medicine, have discovered a link between SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants and an increased risk of developing severe birth defects. The study established that mothers who took any of the following drugs during their pregnancy increased the risk that their child would be born with a birth defect: Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Depakote, Effexor, and Pristiq.

About 90 percent of all pregnant women use prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs at some point during their pregnancy.  While many of these are safe to use when expecting, many types of drugs pose the threat of birth defects and should not be used by pregnant women. Doctors have a responsibility to prescribe to pregnant women only those medications that are absolutely necessary and that are safe for consumption during each particular stage of pregnancy. Failure to follow this medical standard may make this medical professional responsible for any birth defects with which a child is born.
Fact: As many as one in ten birth defects are caused by using OTC or prescription drugs during pregnancy.
Teratogenic medications can cause birth defects in three ways: 1) they can damage the fetus directly; 2) they can damage the placenta or umbilical cord, thus increasing the risk of birth defects; and 3) they can cause uterine contractions that can injure the fetus or cause premature delivery.

The following are just some of the drugs that are known to cause birth defects:
  • Antibiotics: While penicillins, cephalosporins, and erythromycins are generally considered safe, tetracyclines, sulfa drugs, ciprofloxacin, and other antibiotics can cause birth defects when taken by a pregnant woman.
  • Benzodiazepines: Tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and anti-anxiety drugs can cause problems in newborns including breathing, temperature regulation, and muscle problems.
  • Accutane and related dermatological drugs: Accutane poses an extremely serious risk of birth defects or death. This drug should never be used by a pregnant woman under any circumstances. Soriatane is also a dermatological drug that is extremely harmful to a developing fetus, and should not be used by any woman for three years prior to conception.
  • NSAIDS: Aspirin and other drugs in the same family (salicylates) can cause birth complications and birth defects when used late in pregnancy.
  • Antidepressants:
    • Paxil: In 2005, the FDA warned that Paxil can double the risk of heart birth defects when used during the first trimester of pregnancy.
    • Prozac: In 2006, a major study found that Prozac also doubled the risk of delivering a child with the birth defect PPHN (Primary Pulmonary Hypertension).
  • Anti-cancer drugs: Teratogens such as Bulsulfan, Chlorambucil, Cyclophosphamide, Mercaptopurine, and Methotrexate can cause serious birth defects including cleft palate, underdevelopment, other physical defects and mental retardation.
  • Anti-seizure medications: Anticonvulsants such as Toprimate and Valproate can cause serious birth defects including spina bifida, organ deformities, cleft palate, and facial defects.
  • Certain thyroid medications
  • Sex hormones
  • Blood pressure drugs
  • Asthma medications
  • Live Vaccines
  • Lithium
  • Thalidomide
Below is a list of SSRIs and the corresponding birth defects.

DEPAKOTE: Depakote exposure during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of:
  • Spina bifida
  • Cleft palate
  • Limb malformation
  • Genital malformation
  • Undescended testes
  • Hypospadia
  • Heart malformation
  • Dysplastic ribs
  • Neural tube malformations
  • Death of the infant
EFFEXOR: Effexor has been linked to the following birth defects when infants are exposed to the drug in utero:
  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN)
  • Central nervous system problems
  • Respiratory issues
  • Digestive system problems
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Behavioral issues
  • Withdrawal
TOPAMAX: Topamax has been linked to the following birth defects:
  • Cleft palate and cleft lip
  • Genital malformation
  • Other malformations
WELLBUTRIN: Wellbutrin has been linked to the following birth defects when an infant is exposed to the drug during pregnancy:
  • Cardiac birth defects
  • Narrowing of the main artery in the heart.

Effexor, Zoloft, Prozac and other SSRI Antidepressants Linked to Autism

A July 2011 Archives of General Psychiatry study found that women who took an SSRI antidepressant like Zoloft while pregnant were twice as likely to give birth to a child with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) than mothers who did not.  ASDs are complex developmental disabilities that cause problems with social interaction and communication.  The scientists who conducted the study have advised doctors and patients to carefully weigh the benefits vs. risks of taking SSRI antidepressants like Zoloft, Effexor, and Prozac carefully before beginning a regimen.
    Additional Information:
New Paxil suits allege birth defect risk.: An article from: Trial
Counsel to correct antidepressant misinformation: before, during pregnancy.(Women's Health): An article from: Family Practice News

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