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Paxil and Miscarriages

Pregnancy is not always the hearts-and-rainbows time that talcum powder and baby formula advertisements make it out to be. Women with a bun in the oven are often plagued by hormones gone haywire, and as many as 15% experience depressive symptoms. When left untreated, depression can increase the patient’s risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight, preeclampsia, and miscarriage. Those who miscarried were found to have elevated levels of serotonin in their system, suggesting that this naturally-occurring chemical in the body could be a contributing factor.

Depression is often treated using antidepressant drugs such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which include Paxil (paroxetine). SSRIs essentially keep serotonin in the bloodstream longer than designed by blocking its reuptake or reabsorption by the sending cell. The reason for this is to counteract the depression; serotonin is commonly known as the “happiness” hormone (although it is not technically a hormone) to influence mood in a positive way although low serotonin levels are not necessarily the cause of depression. Serotonin in the bloodstream is believed to help in balancing moods and inducing a sense of well-being in depressed patients.

However, a recent study of pregnant Danish women on the effect of administering SSRIs in the first trimester indicates that it may increase the risk of a miscarriage by a factor of 1.27 and a similar risk (1.24) for women who discontinued SSRI pharmacotherapy in the last two trimesters. Because of this die-if-you-do, die-if-you-don’t situation, researchers believe that if a patient in her first trimester is already being treated for depression, it would be advisable to continue treatment despite the elevated risk of miscarriage. If treatment has not yet started, it is advisable that pregnant women avoid using Paxil and other SSRI drugs.

It is the duty of the drug maker to include such warnings in their labels. If you suspect that there has been misrepresentation about the safety of your medication in pregnancy which resulted in a miscarriage, you may have a case against the manufacturer or distributor. Contact an experienced dangerous drug lawyer in your area to find out if you have a legal basis for a lawsuit.