FDA Date: 12/14/11
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants FDA Drug Safety Communication
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant use during pregnancy and reports of a rare heart and lung condition in newborn babies
FDA is updating the public on the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants by women during pregnancy and the potential risk of a rare heart and lung condition known as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). The initial Public Health Advisory in July 2006 on this potential risk was based on a single published study. Since then, there have been conflicting findings from new studies evaluating this potential risk, making it unclear whether use of SSRIs during pregnancy can cause PPHN. PPHN occurs when a newborn baby does not adapt to breathing outside the womb. Newborns with PPHN may require intensive care support including a mechanical ventilator to increase their oxygen level. If severe, PPHN can result in multiple organ damage, including brain damage, and even death
At this time, FDA advises healthcare professionals not to alter their current clinical practice of treating depression during pregnancy. Healthcare professionals should report any adverse events involving SSRIs to the FDA MedWatch Program.
FDA has reviewed the additional new study results and has concluded that, given the conflicting results from different studies, it is premature to reach any conclusion about a possible link between SSRI use in pregnancy and PPHN. FDA will update the SSRI drug labels to reflect the new data and the conflicting results.