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Prozac and Pregnancy.

Prozac can be extremely helpful to a depressed woman, but this depression-fighting drug is generally banned during pregnancy. Now, a study offers women more information on the question of whether they can safely use Prozac when pregnant.

Prozac (fluoxetine) is the most commonly prescribed antidepressant in the United States. Yet not much is known about the drug's impact on a developing embryo or fetus. Kenneth Lyons Jones of the University of California, San Diego and his colleagues studied 228 pregnant women who called the California Teratogen Information Service (CTIS) from 1989 through 1995 because they were taking fluoxetine. The team compared those women to 254 pregnant women who called during the same period but were not taking the drug.

The researchers report in the 10/ 3/96 New England Journal Of Medicine that women taking fluoxetine had no greater risk of miscarriage and no heightened risk of major birth defects, such as cleft palate.

The study did uncover some potential dangers, however. When taken during the first trimester of pregnancy, fluoxetine seemed to increase the chance that a baby would be born with three or more minor malformations, such as fused toes. Women who continued to take the drug in the third trimester of pregnancy ran a greater risk of premature delivery and of delivering small babies suffering from a variety of health problems.

Pregnant women taking Prozac should talk to their obstetrician about the new findings, advises Jones. Those who can stop taking the drug safely during pregnancy should do so, he says. However, "there clearly are a number of women who, by virtue of their depression, need to continue the drug."

--Science News, 10/19/96
COPYRIGHT 1997 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Special Delivery
Article Type:Product/Service Evaluation
Date:Jan 1, 1997
Words:278
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