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Wellbutrin During Pregnancy

Wellbutrin during pregnancy has been found to possibly lead to birth defects and attorneys in the US are considering Wellbutrin lawuits for birth injury.

Depression is a severe mental disorder which affects millions of Americans, causing significant changes in mood, attention and behavior. Many experts believe that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain involving the amount of neurotransmitters that are released. Many individuals suffering from depression are prescribed antidepressant medications in order to relieve the symptoms of this condition. Antidepressants like Wellbutrin function by affecting neurotransmitters, or chemicals in the brain that nerves use to send messages back and forth. Unfortunately, for pregnant women suffering from depression treatment poses a significant challenge, as these drugs may be associated with adverse side effects among exposed infants. In light of recent studies, antidepressants like Wellbutrin may no longer be considered safe in the treatment of pregnant women, due to the potential for Wellbutrin and other antidepressant drugs to cause birth defects in newborns. According to antidepressant side effect studies, infants whose mothers take antidepressants like Wellbutrin during pregnancy may have a considerably increased risk of developing one or more major birth defects.

wellbutrin-pillWellbutrin Described

Wellbutrin is an atypical antidepressant and contains the active ingredient bupropion. Wellbutrin differs from other antidepressants like SSRIs and SNRIs in that it is believed to inhibit the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine. Wellbutrin was approved by the FDA in 1985 to treat depression, although the drug has also been indicated for seasonal affective disorder, depression that occurs mostly in the winter and fall. Wellbutrin is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline and can be found in 75mg, 100mg and 150mg tablets, 100mg, 150mg and 200mg sustained-release tablets, and 150mg and 300mg extended-release tablets. As of 2007, Wellbutrin was the fourth most frequently prescribed antidepressant on the U.S. market, after Zoloft, Lexapro and Prozac, with over 20 million prescriptions filled. While Wellbutrin is an effective antidepressant on its own, the drug is commonly used in combination with SSRI antidepresants, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Wellbutrin and Birth Defects

According to recent research, the antidepressant drug Wellbutrin may be associated with a number of serious birth defects among infants. Included in this list of potential Wellbutrin birth defects are:

  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN)
  • Heart defects (left outflow tract defects)
  • Omphalocele
  • Craniosynostosis
  • Limb defects
  • Neural tube birth defects
  • Anal atresia
  • Cleft lip
  • Cleft palate

Due to this potential for causing fetal harm, women on Wellbutrin who are planning a pregnancy are advised to consult their physicians about alternative treatment options. To date, no antidepressant drug has been deemed "safe" in the treatment of pregnant women, as research regarding the effect of antidepressants on a developing fetus is incomplete.

Wellbutrin Birth Defect Studies

"Researchers found a six-times increased risk of PPHN birth defects among infants exposed to certain antidepressant drugs after the twentieth week of pregnancy."

In 2006, the FDA issued a public health advisory warning patients and healthcare professionals about the increased risk of PPHN among infants exposed to certain antidepressant drugs in utero. This FDA action was taken following the release of a New England Journal of Medicine study that same year, in which researchers found a six-times increased risk of PPHN among infants whose mothers took certain antidepressant drugs after the twentieth week of pregnancy. PPHN, or persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, is a serious heart and lunch condition in which a newborn's circulation continues to bypass the lungs after birth, depriving the rest of the body of oxygen.

In 1997, GlaxoSmithKline established the Bupropion Pregnancy Registry in order to evaluate the outcomes of pregnancies involving women who took Wellbutrin while pregnant. By 2008, Wellbutrin makers determined that 3.6% of the 675 infants exposed to Wellbutrin during the first trimester of pregnancy developed birth defects. Heart defects were present in 1.3% of the pregnancies analyzed in the study. According to a study published in the American Journal of Nursing in 2010, fetal exposure to certain antidepressants may be associated with an increased risk of congenital heart defects, including atrial and ventricular septal defects. Another study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2010 indicates that infants born to women who took Wellbutrin during early pregnancy were more than twice as likely to be born with a heart defect known as left outflow tract defects. This National Birth Defects Prevention Study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is an ongoing study of genetic and environmental risk factors for more than thirty categories of birth defects. The study evaluated the potential link between the use of Wellbutrin during pregnancy and the development of birth defects and found a positive correlation between Wellbutrin use during the first trimester of pregnancy and serious cardiac birth defects.

Wellbutrin Use and Pregnancy

The FDA has labeled Wellbutrin a pregnancy category C medication, which means it has the potential to cause harm to a fetus when taken during pregnancy. If you are currently taking Wellbutrin and you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consult your healthcare provider immediately. It may be unsafe to discontinue use of a prescription drug without medical consent, but your doctor may be able to help you find a safer treatment option. According to the FDA, Wellbutrin should only be used in pregnant women if the possible benefits of the treatment outweigh the potential risks to the fetus.

A Wellbutrin Attorney Can Help

Due to the severity of the birth defects potentially associated with Wellbutrin use during pregnancy, the drug may no longer be considered safe in the treatment of pregnant women. If you or a loved one has suffered from a birth defect which you believe to be associated with the antidepressant Wellbutrin, contact a Wellbutrin attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and medical expenses, which you can collect by filing a Wellbutrin lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline. Pharmaceutical companies like GlaxoSmithKline are responsible for the safety of their medications and should be held accountable for any adverse side effects sustained by consumers of their products. Unfortunately, some drug companies employ deceptive practices in order to make their product more appealing to the public, such as concealing the more serious side effects of their drugs. Without accurate drug information from pharmaceutical companies, consumers are unable to make educated decisions about which drugs are safe for them to take. Victims of potential Wellbutrin birth defects are not at fault; with the help of a qualified Wellbutrin lawyer, birth defect victims can protect their rights and collect the compensation they deserve.

Tell Family And Friends

Spread the word so women are aware of the risks for both anticonvulsant birth defects and antidepressant birth defects and so families dealing with the hardship and expenses of lifetime care can get financial help from experienced class action attorneys. Learn more about Side Effects from prescription drugs.

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Antidepressant drugs that are under investigation by lawyers regarding their use while pregnant and birth defects:

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Wellbutrin Information

Stay tuned to learn more about Wellbutrin use while pregnant and the potential harm it can do to an unborn child. 



Generic Name:



  • Major depressive disorder
  • Seasonal affective disorder

FDA Approval:


Pregnancy Side Effects:

  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN)
  • Omphalocele
  • Neural tube birth defects
  • Heart defects
  • Craniosynostosis
  • Limb defects
  • Anal atresia
  • Cleft palate
  • Cleft lip

FDA Actions:

  • FDA pregnancy category C