Paxil and Pregnancy
The FDA has classified Paxil as a pregnancy Category D medication. This means that although the drug may pose health risks to the fetus, a healthcare provider may still prescribe it if he or she believes the benefits to the woman outweigh the possible risks to the unborn child. In most cases, however, doctors do not recommend that pregnant women take Paxil.
Paxil® (paroxetine hydrochloride) is a pregnancy Category D medicine, which means the drug may cause harm to your unborn child.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category D is a classification given to medicines that have been shown to present a risk to the fetus in studies of pregnant women, but may still offer benefits that outweigh the risks the drug presents. A pregnancy Category D medicine may still be given to a pregnant woman if the healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the woman outweigh the possible risks to the unborn child.
When Paxil is taken in early pregnancy (the first trimester), it may cause heart problems in the fetus. These heart problems may be minor and correct themselves, or they may be severe and require surgery. When Paxil is taken in late pregnancy (the third trimester), it may cause side effects in the newborn baby. These side effects can be as minor as irritability or as serious as seizures or lung problems.
In general, Paxil is not recommended for use in pregnant women, except in special situations, such as in women with severe depression who do not respond to other antidepressants. However, it is important to avoid stopping the drug too suddenly, as Paxil withdrawal may occur.