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SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)

SSRIs are a very large group of antidepressant drugs used in the treatment of depression, anxiety, as well as certain personality disorders. A cause of depression is believed to have been due to low levels of serotonin, which are believed to induce the feelings of a good mood. SSRIs prevent the body's reuptake of serotonin. This class of drugs is ultimately increasing the level of serotonin in the body. Doctors may have wrongly prescribing these medications in a significant number of cases since low serotonin levels are not indicated in the wide number of illnesses this class of drugs is being prescribed for. If you or a loved one were taking an SSRI while you were pregnant and had a child born with a birth defect, please contact Jeff Bowersox at 503.452.5858 or toll-free 800.255.1996. A list below will help you determine if you have been taking one of the SSRI class of anti-depressants.

Black Box Warning from the FDA - A black box warning is the sternest warning by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that a medication can carry and still remain on the market in the United States.

The FDA warning includes Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram), and other antidepressant medication. (Warning issued May 2007.)

A partial list of birth defects of the heart due to taking the drugs while pregnant, and other congenital birth defects include:

  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)
  • Pulmonary Stenosis – Lung Defect
  • Omphalcele – Abdominal Wall Malformation
  • Gastrochesis – Abdominal Wall Malformation
  • Craniosynostosis – Cranio-facial Malformation
  • Clubfoot – Limb Malformation

List of SSRI Medications Identified:

Most of the following list of SSRI drugs was developed as "copy cat" drugs after the success of Prozac, a Fluoxetine, to mimic its effects and yet be patentable for drug makers. All of the following affect critical levels of Serotonin:
Citalopram: Developed in 1989, it has continued to stay on the market with some generic branding. Like all SSRI antidepressants, it has side effects but is considered to have fewer drug interactions than other types. Brand names are Celexa, Cipramil, Dalsan, Emocal, Recital, Sepram, Seropram.

Escitalopram: Very similar to citalopram, it joined the ranks of the SSRIs with development in 1997 and approval in 2001 by the FDA. Since it is still a young version, the effectiveness is not quite clear, but has shown to be stronger than many other types and even effective in cases of severe depression. Brand names include Cipralex, Esertia and Lexapro.

Fluoxetine: The beginner and perhaps most widely known (Prozac) of all SSRIs, this research and development began in 1970. While it still continues to be widely used, this type of SSRI carries a warning by the FDA on its box. Brand names include Prozac, Depress (UZB), Fontex, Fluctin (EUR), Fluox (NZ), Prozac, Sarafem, Seromex, and Seronil.

Fluvoxamine: This SSRI is most widely used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It fell out of popularity in the U.S. when it was announced that one of the shooters from Columbine was on this drug. However, it has been re-introduced to the U.S. and has been successful for many. It is now marketed as Luvox. Brand names are Dumyrox, Favoxil, Fevarin, Luvox and Movox.

Paroxetine: This class of SSRI drug is used to treat many depression-related disorders. Brand names are Aropax, Deroxat, Paroxat, Paxil, Rexetin, Sereupin, Seroxat, and Xetanor.

Sertaline: Research for this SSRI began in 1970, but was not approved for use by the FDA until 1991. So far evidence suggests that it is more effective than Prozac for certain disorders. Also, proponents say it has the positive effects of tryclic antidepressants without the side effects. Brand names include Lustral, Serlain and Zoloft.

Zimelidine: The very first of the SSRIs to be marketed, it has since then been banned worldwide due to serious and fatal conditions connected to it, such as Guillan-Barre syndrome. Zelmid (the brand name) was the first SSRI antidepressant, even before Prozac. Brand names are Normud and Zelmid.

Just because your name brand does not show up on this list does not mean you are not taking an SSRI. Please ask your physician if your antidepressant is an SSRI.


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