According to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) may be associated with Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). A recently completed study revealed that maternal use of SSRI’s late in the third trimester of pregnancy results in an increased risk of PPHN. SSRI’s are a class of antidepressant drugs, and include Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft. In the study, an increased risk of PPHN was not demonstrated with the use of non-SSRI antidepressants or the use of SSRI’s prior to the 20th week of gestation. PPHN is a condition that affects about 1 to 2 infants per 1000 births. Generally, shortly after birth, infants with PPHN develop severe respiratory failure and require intubation and mechanical ventilation. Even with treatment, 10 to 20 percent of babies with this condition do not survive.
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