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Home > Research Articles > Antidepressants may affect baby brains

United Press International

Monday, February 23, 2004

United Press International - February 22, 2004

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Feb 22, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) --

The researchers found fetal exposure to selective-serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, known as SSRIs, was linked to abnormal sleeping patterns, heart rhythms and alertness levels, reported the Web site theage.com.

"We've found SSRIs disrupt the neurological systems of children," said study leader Philip Zeskind. "And we're talking about hundreds of thousands of babies being exposed to these drugs during pregnancy."

The researchers compared 17 babies born to mothers who took antidepressants during their pregnancy with 17 babies born to mothers who did not.

The study found women who use SSRIs during pregnancy have healthy, full-birth-weight newborn infants who show disruptions in a wide range of neurobehavioral outcomes.

A spokesman for Lilly, the manufacturer of one SSRI, Prozac, said the label on the drug says studies on pregnant women "do not indicate a teratogenic (fetus-damaging) effect."

The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.