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Paxil, Prozac Up Risk of Heart Birth Defects

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A new study has found a link between heart birth defects and taking Paxil or Prozac during early pregnancy. According to an article published in the November issue of The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, the prevalence of major heart birth defects among children born to Prozac users was 2.8%.  It was 2% in the Paxil group and 0.6% in the control group.

The study also found that women who smoked more than 10 cigarettes a day  while taking one of the antidepressants were 5.40 times more likely to have a baby with a heart anomaly.  Those smoking less than ten cigarettes a day were 2.75 times more likely to have a baby with a heart birth defect, the study said.

According to the researchers, the risk of heart birth defects was highest among those smokers who took Prozac. “These findings clearly show a significant association between major heart anomalies and taking fluoxetine (Prozac) and smoking during pregnancy,” lead author Professor Asher Ornoy from the Israeli Teratology Information Service in Jerusalem, Israel, told Science Daily.

The study authors have urged pregnant women who smoke to break their cigarette habit, especially if they must take Prozac.  Any pregnant woman taking either Prozac or Paxil should consult their doctors.  They should continue taking their medication unless their doctor tells them to stop, te researchers said.

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