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British Medical Journal

Study links Prozac, Paxil use with birth defects

paxil zoloft

A sweeping government study of thousands of women has found links between the older antidepressants Prozac and Paxil and birth defects, but has cleared other popular treatments in the class, including Celexa, Lexapro and Pfizer’s Zoloft, which is the subject of a major lawsuit over birth defect claims.

Earlier studies had raised questions about antidepressants in a class of drugs known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs, prompting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2005 to issue a safety warning about use of the treatments during pregnancy.

In the current study, published on Wednesday in the British Medical Journal, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wanted to see if the birth defect risk affected the entire class of drugs, or only select treatments.

For the study, the researchers asked nearly 28,000 women if they took Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil or Zoloft any time from one month before conception through the third month of pregnancy and analyzed which women bore children with birth defects.

They found that many popular antidepressants – Celexa, Lexapro or Zoloft – are not associated with birth defects. Only two in the study, Prozac, sold generically as fluoxetine, and Paxil, sold generically as paroxetine, were implicated.

In women who took those two drugs early in pregnancy, birth defects occurred 2 to 3.5 times more frequently compared with women who did not take them.

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Study: Eating junkfood during pregnancy risks pre-term birth

A new study on diet and pregnancy suggests that what you eat when you are expecting is as important as what you don’t.
Women who ate plenty of fruits and vegetables and who tried to drink water instead of soft drinks were less likely to have premature babies than women who ate more “Western” diets, a big study in Norway has shown.
It wasn’t that women who ate pizza, tacos and sweets were more likely than average to have premature babies, the researchers found. It was that healthier eating lowered the risk by about 15 percent.
Dr Linda Englund-Ögge of Sweden’s Sahlgrenska Academy and colleagues studied a big database of 66,000 Norwegian women who are taking part in a larger study. One of the things they did was fill out a food diary while pregnant.
Englund-Ogge’s team classified their diets into three broad types: a “prudent” diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and not too much junk food; a “traditional” Nordic diet with boiled potatoes, fish and gravy; and a more typical modern “Western” diet with processed white flour, sweets and snacks.
“Our results indicate that increasing the intake of foods associated with a prudent dietary pattern is more important than totally excluding processed food, fast food, junk food, and snacks,” they wrote in their report, published in the British Medical Journal.
It makes sense, says Dr. Walter Willett, a nutrition expert at the Harvard School of Public Health who was not involved in the study. “It does fit with what we have learned about diet and pregnancy,” he told NBC News.

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