Prozac and Pregnancy

Prozac and breastfeeding/prozac and pregnancyProzac Update

Prozac and breastfeeding

A recent study by researchers at University of Arizona found a link with women who take antidepressants, such as Prozac, and a decrease in breastfeeding.

It is suggested that depressive disorders and/or taking antidepressants while pregnant may cause a decline in the number of women choosing to breastfeed.

In fact,the study showed that women exposed to antidepressants like Zolofty, Celexa, Paxil, Lexapro and Prozac were 60% less likely to breastfeed than women who had not taken any type of antidepressant.

The reason for the significant decline is inconclusive.  It could be due to the mother being fearful that the medication in the breast milk could harm the child or the mother’s depression itself could play a role.

“While the benefits of breastfeeding an infant are very clear, this study suggests that women who are taking antidepressants in pregnancy are not engaging in this behavior as often as we would like to see,” said Christina Chambers, professor of pediatrics at University of California San Diego, and co-author of the study.

Prozac Side Effects

Prozac (fluoxetine hydrochloride) is a prescription medication used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) bulimia nervosa, and panic disorder.  Prozac is made by Eli Lilly and Company and was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1987.

Since its release, studies have linked Prozac to several serious side effects.  Although still available on the market, the FDA has issued three alerts warning of potential Prozac dangers.  Prozac use may cause serotonin syndrome, persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns (PPHN), and may incidence of depression and suicide.

Prozac Health Risks and Side Effects

Since October of 2004, the FDA has issued three separate alerts regarding possible Prozac side effects.

Serotonin Syndrome

In 2006, the FDA issued an alert stating that a life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome can occur when medicines called Serotonin and Noreponeprine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs, such as Prozac) and migraine headache medicines known as 5-hydroxtryptamine receptor agonists (triptans), are taken together.

Serotonin syndrome may be more likely to occur when starting or increasing the dose of an SNRI or a triptan.  If you take migraine medicines, ask your healthcare professional if your medicine is a triptan.

Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension in Newborns

Also in 2006, an FDA alert announced the results of a study linking the use of antidepressant medicines like Prozac during pregnancy to babies born with a serious condition called persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN).

Babies born with PPHN have abnormal blood flow through the heart and lungs, and do not get enough oxygen to their bodies.  Babies with PPHN can become very sick, even die.  Results from the study also showed that babies born to mothers who took SSRIs 20 weeks or later into their pregnancies were six times more likely to develop PPHN than babies born to mothers who did not take antidepressants during pregnancy.

Increased Risk of Suicide

In October of 2004, the FDA issued a public health advisory directing all antidepressant drug manufacturers to revise their product labeling to include boxed warning and expanded warning statements that alert healthcare provides to an increased risk of suicidality.  Since the alert, Prozac has carried a black box warning.
In 2005, the FDA announced that several scientific publications suggested the possibility of an increased risk for suicidal behavior in adults being treated with antidepressant medications, including Prozac.  The FDA advised that all Prozac patients should be watched closely for worsening depression.

Other Prozac Side Effects

Other side effects associated with Prozac use include nausea, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, nervousness, and sleepiness.

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