Celexa, which is prescribed to treat various forms of depression, has been found to be responsible for birth defects, when the drug is taken by patients during pregnancy. There has been serious criticism over the use of SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), with Celexa being one among this class of drugs. The main active ingredient of Celexa is Citalopram. During depression there is an imbalance of chemicals in the brain and Celexa affects by taking care of these imbalances. However, the side effects, especially related to birth defects cannot be ignored and must be made public to protect babies from developing disorders and abnormalities.

Birth Defects Caused by Celexa

Celexa could lead to several birth defects in the unborn child if taken during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. Some of the Celexa birth defects are discussed below.

Premature birth- If a patient uses Celexa during pregnancy, there is higher chance of premature birth of the child.
Miscarriage- Use of Celexa during pregnancy increases risk of miscarriage. A study has revealed that 5.5% of the pregnant women using antidepressant suffered spontaneous abortions.
Withdrawal symptoms- If Celexa is used during pregnancy there are chances that the new born develops withdrawal symptoms such as shortness of breath, turning blue, low blood sugar, jaundice, fluctuation in body temperatures, difficulty in feeding, convulsions, vomiting, stiffness, tremors and abnormal crying.
Clubbed foot- Use of Celexa during pregnancy could cause child to suffer clubbed feet. Children with this condition have one or both feet turned inward at the ankle.
Cleft lip or palate- Celexa could also cause cleft lip in the unborn baby. A cleft lip occurs when tissues of upper lip fails to fuse properly.
Delayed development- Children born to patients who have used Celexa during pregnancy could have a slow rate of development.
Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension (PPHN)- Patients who have used antidepressants past their 20th week of pregnancy have their child exposed to six times higher risk of developing PPHN. It is a fatal lung condition.
Gastroschisis- Child born to a patient using Celexa during pregnancy is at higher risk of developing gastroschisisis. This defect causes protrusion of infant’s intestines out of the body.
Heart Problems- Use of Celexa during pregnancy could lead to heart defects in the unborn baby. These heart defects could be septal defects, heart valve abnormalities, coarctation of the aorta, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA), transposition of the great arteries and Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) or enlarged heart. These defects could be permanent in nature and child may need medical tretment for whole life.
Macroephaly- Some children may develop macroephaly or abnormally large head if the mother has used Celexa during pregnancy. Macroephaly could lead to infections, internal bleeding in the skull, cysts on the brain, and other defects.
Craniosynostosis- in this condition skull of the child fuse prematurely and thus there is abnormal growth of skull. If there is insufficient growth of skull, then brain is pressed and child could have visual and cognitive impairments.
Neural tube defects- If a patient uses Celexa during pregnancy there are chances that the child develops neural tube defect. It is identified by an opening in the child’s spinal cord or brain. This occurs due to failure of nerve cells to fuse properly. Child may be born without some portions of the skull and brain. Some children may even die.
Spina bifida- Spina Bifida is caused by a neural tube defect in the lower spinal column. Spinal cord may protrude between the unfused bones. Spinal bone did not close in this condition.
Abdominal Birth Defects- Use of Celexa during pregnancy could also lead to abdominal birth defect in the child. There develops a defect in the abdominal muscles and could lead to impairment of large intestine, small intestine and liver.
Anal atresia- Patients using Celexa during pregnancy may have their child suffering from anal atresia. This is a condition in which anus is partialy or completely closed.
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)- Children born to a patient who have used Celexa during pregnancy may develop Autism Spectrum Disorder. They are at two times higher risk of developing this condition compared to children born to patients not using any anti-depressant.
This is not the complete list of birth defects caused by Celexa. There are several more birth defects, which could be caused due to use of Celexa. Thus use of Celexa during pregnancy is not advisable.

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