Lexapro is a prescription drug for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults and adolescents aged 12-17 years and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in adults.
Lexapro is in the pregnancy Category C classification. In animal reproduction studies, Lexapro has been shown to have adverse effects on embryo/fetal and postnatal development, including teratogenic effects, when administered at doses greater than human therapeutic doses.
In a rabbit study, no adverse effects on embryo/fetal development were observed from Lexapro doses of up to 16 mg/kg/day. Thus, teratogenic effects of were observed at a maternally toxic dose in the rat and were not observed in the rabbit. Rabbits? Rats? Who cares? How can pregnant women relate? They cannot.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women nor should there be as such studies would be unethical. The lesson learned is that if Lexapro is used during pregnancy, the potential benefit must truly justify the potential risk to the fetus.
Women and their doctors should be having this critical dialogue. When prescribed Lexapro, it’s important to tell your doctor if you are pregnant, or plan to get pregnant. Ask your doctor about the benefits of treating your depression vs. possible birth defect risks to your unborn child.
Fetuses exposed to Lexapro and other SSRIs late in the third trimester, have developed complications requiring prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support, and tube feeding. Such complications arise immediately upon delivery.
Reported clinical findings have included respiratory distress, cyanosis, apnea, seizures, temperature instability, feeding difficulty, vomiting, hypoglycemia, hypotonia, hypertonia, hyperreflexia, tremor, jitteriness, irritability, and constant crying. These features are consistent with either a direct toxic effect of SSRIs or, possibly, a drug discontinuation syndrome.
Post marketing adverse reactions reported also included spontaneous abortion. Please note: adverse reactions were reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
Has your baby suffered serious complications as a result of you taking Lexapro during your pregnancy? Find out how the unsafe drug law firm Anapol Schwartz can find out what your legal options are.