PROZAC MAY STUNT GROWTH
(c) 2/28/2000 Ian Williams Goddard
In light of the widespread use of psychotropic drugs
to control growing children,  the following is
extremely important: According to a study recently
published in the journal Pediatrics (1999), infants
whose mothers took Prozac while breastfeeding grew
significantly less than infants whose mothers had
discontinued Prozac after delivery.  The study
concluded: "The data set forth in this study indicate
that infants who are breastfed by mothers who take
fluoxetine [Prozac] track a growth curve significantly
below that of infants breastfed without the medication."
Previously, a study published in the New England Journal
of Medicine (1996) found that the birth weight of babies
exposed to Prozac during pregnancy was less than those
not exposed to Prozac during pregnancy.  Additionally,
a recent animal study (1999) found that Prozac reduced the
birth weight of rats and concluded that Prozac "may have a
deleterious effect on prenatal development when administered
during pregnancy."  With the latest study in Pediatrics,
the evidence before us indicates that exposure to Prozac
both before AND after birth may retard human development.
There may be a biological basis for Prozac-induced growth
retardation: Prozac is a selective serotonin reuptake
inhibitor (SSRI), a class of antidepressants that have
been shown to reduce function in the growth-regulating
regions of the brain known as the hypothalamus and pituitary
gland.  It has also been shown that in some cases SSRIs
can reduce the release of growth hormones. [6-9] This
evidence could support a hypothesis that the lower weight
of Prozac-exposed infants may be a result of drug-induced
impairment of growth-regulating centers in the brain.
While it may be too early to draw definitive conclusions
regarding the effect of SSRIs on human growth, the available
evidence clearly points to the likelihood of a detrimental
impact. The available evidence also raises this most-
important question: If Prozac and other SSRIs reduce the
growth of infants, then what effect might they have on the
development of growing children and young adults, who are
increasingly targeted for antidepressant treatment? 
Furthermore, since the evidence suggests Prozac may stunt
growth, is it ethical to expose growing children to SSRIs?
 Zito, J. M., Safer, D. J., dosReis, S., et al. (2000)
Trends in the Prescribing of Psychotropic Medications to
Preschoolers. Journal of the American Medical Association,
 Chambers, C. D., Anderson, P. O., Thomas, R. G., et al.
(1999). Weight Gain in Infants Breastfed by Mothers Who Take
Fluoxetine. Pediatrics, 104(5):e61.
 Chambers, C. D., Johnson, K. A., Dick, L. M., et al.
(1996). Birth outcomes in pregnant women taking fluoxetine.
New England Journal of Medicine, 335(14):1010-5.
 da-Silva, V. A., Altenburg, S. P., Malheiros, L. R., et al.
(1999). Postnatal development of rats exposed to fluoxetine or
venlafaxine during the third week of pregnancy. Brazilian
Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 32(1):93-8.
 Jensen, J. B., Jessop, D. S., Harbuz, M. S. (1999). Acute
and long-term treatments with the selective serotonin reuptake
inhibitor citalopram modulate the HPA axis activity at different
levels in male rats. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 11(6):465-71.
 Lerer, B., Gelfin, Y., Gorfine, M., et al. (1999). 5-HT1A
receptor function in normal subjects on clinical doses of
blunted temperature and hormone responses to ipsapirone challenge.
 Anderson, I. M., Deakin, J. F., Miller, H. E., (1996). The
effect of chronic fluvoxamine on hormonal and psychological
responses to buspirone in normal volunteers. Psychopharmacology,
 O'Flynn, K., O'Keane, V., Lucey, J. V., Dinan, T. G., (1991).
Effect of fluoxetine on noradrenergic mediated growth hormone
release: a double blind, placebo-controlled study. Biological
 Serri, O., Rasio, E. (1987). The effect of d-fenfluramine
on anterior pituitary hormone release in the rat: in vivo and
in vitro studies. Canadian Journal of Physiology and
Find these studies here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed
Additional Drug Reports From Goddard's Journal:
LOOKING FOR "EARLY SCHIZOPHRENIA" IN CHILDREN
MAY INCREASE RISK OF IATROGENIC POLYPHARMACY:
Letter From Peter Breggin, MD, to JAMA:
The Mass Drugging of Children:
Exposing Kids to Brain Damage Risk:
Does Making Kids Take Drugs Violate Anti-Nazi
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