Paxil (paroxetine) has a greater risk of causing birth defects in developing fetuses than other antidepressants, according to an FDA-issued press release from last week. With other antidepressants, the risk of birth defects is 1%. Studies show that the risk increases to between 1.5% and 2% with Paxil. A similar warning was issued in September; the new warning states that Paxil’s risk is even greater than reported in the previous warning.
However, women who take the drug and are pregnant or trying to conceive should not necessarily stop taking it. The dangers of going off the drugs may be greater than the risk of birth defects, according to the FDA.
If you are concerned about taking the drug, make an appointment with your doctor — even if you’re absolutely positive that you want to go off it. If you don’t decrease the dose of an antidepressant slowly, you’ll feel terrible. Trust me, I know.