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The Potential Side Effects of SSRIs

Updated May 28, 2019 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

When a new generation of antidepressants arrived in the late 1980s, they offered a more refined way to treat various psychiatric conditions like depression, anxiety attacks, and personality disorders. Prozac was first introduced in 1988, and Paxil arrived in 1992. Later, Zoloft, Lexapro, and Celexa were also released into the market. For the past decade, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, have become the most prescribed class of drugs in the United States.

By reducing the rate at which the brain re-absorbs the chemical serotonin, these SSRIs can increase the amount of serotonin available to help the flow of messages within the mind. SSRIs can potentially enhance mood as a result.

Concerns Over Excessive Risks

However, over time, concern has grown over a possible link between SSRIs and childhood suicide risk. This led the Food and Drug Administration to issue a safety alert in 2004 regarding the use of these medications in children. Two years later, an expanded warning included young adults up to age 24 as well.

Serotonin Syndrome

Another concern arose regarding a possible link in pregnant women between these drugs and a condition known as serotonin syndrome. This condition is marked by a build-up of excessive levels of this hormone, a build-up that can potentially overwhelm normal brain function. The syndrome commonly occurs during an overdose, but it can also result from taking multiple prescriptions that all elevate serotonin. Serotonin syndrome has been linked to sudden death in a number of cases.

Birth Defects

Drugs commonly known as SSRIs have been potentially linked to a variety of birth defects, including but not limited to the following:

  • Spina bifida
  • Club foot
  • Craniosynostosis
  • Hypo-plastic left heart syndrome
  • Ventricular and atrial septal defects
  • Coarctation of the aorta

There have also been other links found between SSRIs and babies with persistent pulmonary hypertension.

Contact a Drug Injury Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have experienced adverse effects from taking prescribed antidepressants, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis Drug Injury Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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