Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)
One of the most serious birth defects that has been associated with Celexa® and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) is persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), a serious and life-threatening lung condition.
In July 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an alert to notify consumers and health care providers about the risk of PPHN in babies whose mothers took an SSRI when they were pregnant.
"A recently published case-control study has shown that infants born to mothers who took selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) after the 20th week of pregnancy were 6 times more likely to have persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) than infants born to mothers who did not take antidepressants during pregnancy," the agency wrote in the alert.
The FDA said it based its information on a study that was published in the Feb. 9, 2006 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.
What is Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn?
Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) occurs when the circulation system of the baby fails to adapt to the conditions once outside the womb. Prior to birth the fetus gets its oxygen through the umbilical cord and high blood pressure on the lungs causes blood to bypass the lungs. This high blood pressure normally falls after the birth, but with PPHN, the blood flow to the lungs remains constricted.
The circulation system of babies with PPHN continues to bypass the lungs, despite the fact that it is no longer receiving the much needed oxygen through the umbilical cord and placenta. It is a life-threatening condition which requires a quick diagnosis and immediate treatment. The condition causes a variety of symptoms, including the following:
Once the diagnosis of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn is made, treatment will begin immediately. The main goal is to increase oxygen levels in the blood stream, to prevent brain damage and other serious complications. Infants with PPHN will be taken to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where oxygen levels, heart rate and blood pressure will be carefully monitored. Treatment that infants receive while in the neonatal unit might include the following:
- Oxygen - 100 percent supplemental oxygen may be administered
- Assisted ventilation – tubes may be inserted into the trachea so a ventilator can take over the breathing; feeding tubes may also be inserted through the nose to nourish infants
- High frequency oscillatory ventilation - a ventilator machine attached to a vibrating platform
- Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation - similar to a heart-lung bypass machine, it can take over the functions of the heart and the lungs
Contact a Celexa® Birth Defect Attorney
If your baby is born with PPHN or another serious birth defect and you were treated with Celexa® during your pregnancy, you should speak with an attorney about the possibility of filing a claim to seek compensation for your baby's suffering. To schedule a free consultation, please contact our Celexa® birth defect attorneys today.