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Study Indicates Effexor Linked to Birth Defects

By Andrea Gressman


antidepressant birth defectsThe attention that antidepressant birth defects have received is steadily increasing as more product liability lawsuits are filed. Another factor contributing to this growing awareness are new studies continually being released.

One such study involves Effexor, an SNRI (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant used to treat depression, anxiety and panic disorder. This particular study indicates a confirmation that SNRI antidepressants, specifically Effexor, cause birth defects when used during pregnancy – just as SSRI antidepressants have been known to cause.

Birth Defects Research published the study in 2012. It specifically targeted venlafaxine, which is Effexor’s generic name.  Their goal was to determine whether or not Effexor was in fact linked to causing certain birth defects. They used data that had been collected from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. This data involved mothers of babies who had developed 1 of 30 different birth defects, which was then compared to other mothers of babies that did not have birth defects. Researchers were able to establish that those who took Effexor from one month prior to becoming pregnant to the third month of their pregnancy had exposed their fetus to the drug.

Some of the birth defects linked to Effexor include:

  • Anencephaly
  • Atrial septal defect secundum
  • Cleft palate
  • Coarctation of the aorta
  • Gastroschisis

It is important to note that Effexor is often used when other SSRI antidepressants, such as Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro, and Prozac, are not effective. Therefore, those who have used Effexor during their pregnancy could possibly have depression that is more severe in nature than others, and this may have a factor in the birth defects as well.  However, it is still the theory of the researchers that Effexor possibly affects the cardiac development and the craniofacial development of the baby, which results in the birth defects listed above. The researches have suggested that additional studies be completed to confirm these results.

As mentioned above, Effexor is not used as commonly as Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro, or Prozac. However, no matter which SNRI or SSRI antidepressant you used during pregnancy, if your child was born with birth defects it is important to know your legal options.

Visit the Zoloft & SSRI Antidepressant Birth Defect Class Action Lawsuit Investigation page for more information and to receive your free legal review from a birth defect attorney.


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Updated March 7th, 2013


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