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Pregnant Women Warned About Prozac Risk to Fetus

Pregnant women who take Prozac, the antidepressant, are twice as likely to give birth to babies with a congenital heart problem, The Times of London reported Thursday.

The U.K.'s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said there was a "possible small risk" of congenital heart defects if women were given the drug in early pregnancy.

The agency said it looked at the evidence from a number of studies of fluoxetine, the active ingredient in Prozac, and concluded that it could double the background rate of congenital heart defects.

About one in 100 babies are typically born with a problem such as a heart murmur, hole in the heart or other problem with the organ’s structure or rhythm.

But the MHRA estimated this rate increased to almost two in 100 pregnancies among women prescribed fluoxetine, which is a similar rate to another common antidepressant, Seroxat (paroxetine).

The drugs are part of a group known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which wre not recommended to be taken during pregnancy because of the risk of withdrawal symptoms in the developing baby.

But it was estimated that 2.3 percent of pregnant women each year were prescribed SSRIs when the benefits were considered to outweigh the risks.

SOURCE LINK: Times of London

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