Depression Home > Paxil CR and Pregnancy

Paxil CR may cause harm to an unborn child. A few of the problems that Paxil CR can potentially cause in a fetus include heart problems, seizures, and lung problems. A pregnant woman may take the medicine if her healthcare provider believes that its benefits outweigh the risks to her unborn child. If pregnancy occurs while you are taking Paxil CR, let your healthcare provider know.

Pregnancy and Paxil CR: An Overview

Paxil CR® (paroxetine controlled release) is a pregnancy Category D medicine, meaning that it may cause harm to your unborn child.
 

Pregnancy Category D

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a pregnancy category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category D is given to medicines that show side effects to the fetus in humans, but which still may be given to a pregnant woman in certain situations. A pregnancy Category D medicine may be given to a pregnant woman if her healthcare provider believes that its benefits outweigh the possible risks to her unborn child.
 
When paroxetine (the active ingredient in Paxil CR) is taken early on in pregnancy (during the first trimester), it may cause heart problems in the fetus. These heart problems may be minor and may correct themselves, or they may be severe and may require surgery. When paroxetine is taken late in pregnancy (during 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, this medicine is not recommended for use in pregnant women, except in special situations (such as in women with very severe depression who do not respond to other antidepressants). However, it is important to avoid stopping Paxil CR too suddenly, as Paxil CR withdrawal may occur if you abruptly stop taking the medicine.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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