What Are Selective Serotonin Re Uptake Inhibitors

by Terry Bryant

An SSRI, otherwise known as a selective serotonin re uptake inhibitor, is used to treat a myriad of mental issues, including anxiety, depression and some personality disorders. These drugs are not without risk, however, and a recent study brought to light by the Food and Drug Administration shows that these medications may be responsible for severe complications during and after the birth of a child.

A serotonin reuptake inhibitor works by keeping the central nervous system from removing the serotonin neurotransmitter from the extracellular area. Serotonin is believed to be intricately linked to feelings of well-being, though it performs many other functions in the body as well. An SSRI is shorthand for one of many drugs, and there are several dozen on the market today. Women who are pregnant, especially those that have reached their 20th week of pregnancy, must take great care when using these medications.

The FDA has found that children born from these women are six times more likely to suffer a severe, possibly fatal disorder known as persistent pulmonary hypertension, or PPHN.

PPHN is a lung disorder that makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the newborn to take in oxygen outside of the womb. This is due to dangerously high blood pressure that diverts blood away from the lungs. A quick and thorough response is required to save the child, and even those that are treated may not survive as the lungs may be too malformed to function correctly. For those that do live, long-term complications like hearing loss and speech disorders are possible, among other things.

For women who have had a child with PPHN or any other birth defect after taking an SSRI, recompense may be in order. Cases of mass tort like these, however, are often difficult to handle, but seeking the help of an experienced drug injury lawyer can make the process much easier to handle and understand.