he antidepressant Paxil has been linked to possible birth defects when women take the drug in their first three months of pregnancy. A joint study conducted by the FDA and the maker of Paxil reviewed medical records of infants born to women who took Paxil. They compared them to women who took other antidepressants during the first three months of pregnancy. Women who take Paxil may be more likely to have a baby born with an abnormality.
Exposure to Paxil in the first trimester of pregnancy may increase the risk at birth for “congenital malformations”, physical defects present at birth that can involve the brain, heart, lungs, liver, bones, or intestinal tract. Congenital malformations are currently the leading cause of infant deaths in the U.S.; some examples include heart defects, cleft lip, cleft palate, Down syndrome, spina bifida, or limb defects.
Even with this warning, “women currently taking Paxil should not discontinue treatment without talking to a doctor first,” says the FDA. It then goes on to say that Paxil and its generic version, paroxetine, “should usually not be taken during pregnancy.”
Paxil has been in the news before. There have been complaints of severe withdrawal symptoms, risks of suicidal behavior and increased violence in children and adolescents. GlaxoSmith Kline, the manufacturer of Paxil, says it is waiting for final results of the studies to “better understand the birth defect risk.”
A joint study conducted by the FDA and the maker of Paxil reviewed medical records of 3,581 infants born to women who took Paxil or other antidepressants during the first trimester of pregnancy. A preliminary analysis found infants born to women who took Paxil were more likely to be born with an abnormality than babies born to women who took another antidepressant. (Sep-27-05) [ABC NEWS]
Cleft Lip / Cleft Palate
What are cleft lip and cleft palate?
Cleft lip and cleft palate are birth abnormalities of the mouth and lip. These abnormalities affect about one in every 1,000 births and are more common among Asians and certain groups of American Indians than among Caucasians. They occur less frequently among African-Americans. Cleft lip and cleft palate occur early in pregnancy when the sides of the lip and the roof of the mouth do not fuse together as they should. A child can have cleft lip, cleft palate, or both. Cleft lip and cleft palate together are more common in boys. It is also important to know that most babies born with a cleft are otherwise healthy with no other birth abnormalities.
Cleft palate occurs when the roof of the mouth does not completely close, leaving an opening that can extend into the nasal cavity. The cleft may involve either side of the palate. It can extend from the front of the mouth (hard palate) to the throat (soft palate). Often the cleft will also include the lip. Cleft palate is not as noticeable as cleft lip because it is inside the mouth. It may be the only abnormality in the child, or it may be associated with cleft lip or other syndromes. In many cases, other family members have also had a cleft palate at birth.
Cleft lip is an abnormality in which the lip does not completely form during fetal development. The degree of the cleft lip can vary greatly, from mild (notching of the lip) to severe (large opening from the lip up through the nose). As a parent, it may be stressful to adjust to the obvious abnormality of the face, as it can be very noticeable.
There are different names given to the cleft lip according to its location and how much of the lip is involved. A cleft on one side of the lip that does not extend into the nose is called unilateral incomplete. A cleft on one side of the lip that extends into the nose is called unilateral complete. A cleft that involves both sides of the lip and extends into and involves the nose is called bilateral complete.