Citalopram, generally known by its brand name Celexa, is an “SSRI” (Selective Serotonin Reputake Inhibitor), typically prescribed for mental issues such as depression, panic disorders, anxiety issues, and more. Although it’s been shown to help people with the aformentioned issues, recent studies indicate that taking Celexa while pregnant may heighten the risk of birth defects as well as maternal health issues.
Risks Associated With Celexa While Pregnant
Recent studies have shown that individuals, including pregnant mothers who suffer from depression, may experience an increase in the depression symptoms, with possible suicidal thoughts and ideations. Women ages 25 and younger are especially at a heightened risk of developing severe depression.
Other associated risks include:
- Worsening panic attacks
- Behavioral changes such as impulsive actions and rapid speech
- Excessive sweating
- Nausea and/or vomiting
If you’re considering taking Celexa whether pregnant or not, it’s important to talk with your doctor beforehand.
What if Pregnant Women Are Already Taking Celexa?
Women who are already taking Celexa when they become pregnant face a difficult situation. It would seem the easiest way to eliminate the risk of birth defects is to stop taking the medication.
However, if you’ve been taking Celexa and suddenly stop, the health risks may be more severe than the risk of birth defects. Mothers who stop taking Celexa have a heightened risk of miscarriage as well as the risk of the depression worsening to the point of contemplating suicide. Although pregnancy should be a happy, joyous occasion, studies suggest that when women suffering from depression become pregnant, the chance of the depression worsening is increased.
Risks Associated With Celexa And Infants
Infants are at risk of developing numerous birth defects if exposed to Celexa and other similar SSRI medications, including, in severe cases, life threatening issues. Some of the most common birth defects and injuries that infants are at risk for include:
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)
- Spina Bifida
- Various Heart Defects
Recent studies also show that Celexa and other antidepressants may be linked to abdominal issues, craniofacial birth defects, autism, and Down’s Syndrome.
Celexa Breastfeeding Warnings
It’s important to note that although infants are exposed to Celexa more frequently while in utero, they can also be exposed to the medication if you plan to breastfeed. In a few instances documented in recent studies on SSRIs and breastfeeding, at least two infants developed poor feeding habits, became listless, and lost weight after being exposed to breastfed milk that contained traces of Celexa.
Yet, in other instances, no traces of Celexa were found in the breastmilk of women taking Celexa. Regardless, it’s imperative for all mothers to understand the risks of breastfeeding, not matter how small the risk is.
Antidepressant Usage and Liability
It’s important to note that if you were prescribed Celexa or any other SSRI medication associated with birth injuries while pregnant, your physician has the obligation and duty to inform you of the risks and hazards of the drugs. If your doctor failed to warn about possible health issues and birth defects, they may be liable for damages.
In addition, if the manufacturers of Celexa failed to warn consumers and/or physicians of the risk associated with the medication, they too may be liable for damages.