A doctor’s essay published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) argues that antidepressants in a class known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are being overprescribed. Some of the most-prescribed SSRI antidepressants include Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa and Lexapro.
In the United Kingdom, drugs such as Zoloft and Paxil saw an increase in prescriptions of 9.6%, the largest increase in any type of medication. The antidepressant prescriptions come at a time of increased scrutiny about the drugs’ efficacy and safety for patients, particularly pregnant women.
Several studies over the past years have linked SSRI antidepressants to severe birth defects among women who take the drugs during pregnancy. SSRI birth defects include heart defects, brain defects, cleft lip and palate and other congenital birth defects.