One of the more popular posts on this blog over the past couple of years has been a guest post by Scottish mom, Cheryl Buchanan. In short, Cheryl aborted her fetus at 23 weeks because she was told that its chances of survival were slim due to several defects.
A series of other posts by Cheryl and myself have appeared on this blog and now, it seems, the mainstream media in the UK have taken an interest. All good, I hear you cry - I guess so, it's good when stories like this are highlighted in the British press but, to be honest, journalism isn't what it used to be. In fact, the article, published on Jan 10 in The Express, leaves more questions than answers, questions that really should have been asked by the reporting journalist, Paula Murray.
Her article highlights Cheryl's plight and also tries to offer balance in the shape of a quote from Lundbeck's Medical Director, Dr. Andrew Jones.
Dr Andrew Jones, Medical Director with Lundbeck, said citalopram should not be prescribed during pregnancy unless "clearly necessary and only after careful consideration of risk/benefit".
However, he said there was "considerable evidence" to show that women who stop taking antidepressants during pregnancy are more likely to suffer a recurrence with "greater risks to the woman and her unborn child than the potential risks of exposure to the medication".
Dr Jones added: "We are familiar with Ms Buchanan and have supported her with the information she has requested. It is always a tragic situation when one loses a child. We will not comment on her personal case in public but the safety of Lundbeck’s antidepressants is supported with the large amount of data that has shown no evidence of an increased risk of birth defects associated with treating pregnant women with citalopram."
I left a comment on the Express article suggesting that Jones was having his cake and eating it, sadly, for some bizarre reason, that comment has been removed. Kind of weird given that the journalist in question was given the links to Cheryl's story that have appeared on my blog over the past couple of years.
Why didn't the journalist ask Dr. Jones for the "considerable evidence" that shows that women who stop taking antidepressants during pregnancy are more likely to suffer a recurrence with greater risks to the woman and her unborn child than the potential risks of exposure to the medication?
Why didn't the journalist ask Dr Jones about the citalopram animal reproduction studies where it was shown that citalopram has been shown to have adverse effects on embryo/fetal and postnatal development, including teratogenic effects resulting in in decreased embryo/fetal growth and survival and an increased incidence of fetal abnormalities (including cardiovascular and skeletal defects) (Source FDA)
Furthermore, why wasn't Jones pushed for an answer in defining the terminology, Possibly, Probably or Certain? There's a whole new can of worms there for anyone seeking that Pulitzer.
Contrast the citalopram animal reproduction studies with the claim of Dr Jones that women who stop taking antidepressants during pregnancy are more likely to suffer a recurrence with "greater risks to the woman and her unborn child - it's a theory folks, one that has been blown out of the water many times by other academics. The citalopram animal reproduction studies is the actual science here and really should have been picked up by the reporting journalist.
Dr Jones is towing the company line, ie; he's keeping lawyers at bay and expectant mothers at risk - throwing in the line, "citalopram should not be prescribed during pregnancy unless clearly necessary and only after careful consideration of risk/benefit", is nothing more than a mandatory disclaimer used by pharmaceutical companies, they know their drugs are being used in pregnancy yet they just sit back and allow it to happen because they believe the prescribing physician is in a better position to judge whether or not the patient will benefit from the drug. Lines such as " women who stop taking antidepressants during pregnancy are more likely to suffer a recurrence with "greater risks to the woman and her unborn child", will always persuade prescribing physicians that antidepressant drugs are a must for depressed mothers - even though this statement is merely a theory.
Begs the question why Jones failed to mention the citalopram animal reproduction studies to the investigating journalist.
Meantime, Cheryl Buchanan remains in limbo and her child, through no fault of her own, remains dead.
Citalopram Birth Defects (Guest Post)
Are Lundbeck Luring Pregnant Mothers With a Red Apple?
Lundbeck: Possibly, Probably or Certain about Celexa Birth Defects?