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Prenatal antidepressants increase newborn heart risk

Antidepressants taken during pregnancy may increase the risk of heart problems in newborns, a team of international researchers report.

In 2,191 women from Israel, Italy and Germany, the risk of heart problems in newborns was raised by 4.5 times in mothers who took fluoxetine during the first three months of pregnancy. Use of paroxetine was linked with a 2.7-fold increased risk.

The prevalence of major heart anomalies was 2.8% in the fluoxetine group, 2% in the paroxetine group and 0.6% in the control group. There was no increase in other major congenital anomalies.

British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 2008;66:695-705

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