Is citalopram safe for pregnant or breast-feeding women?

Citalopram can cause rare, yet serious, lung conditions in newborns if taken in the second half of pregnancy. Septal heart defects, anencephaly (a brain and skull defect), craniosynostosis (affecting sutures on the baby's head), and omphalocele (an abdominal organ defect) have also been associated with the use of citalopram during pregnancy. In addition, some infants whose mothers took citalopram are born with symptoms of addiction, such as apneas, superficial breathing, hypotonia, and sleep disorders. Prolonged hospitalization, tube feeding, and respiratory support are sometimes necessary for babies exposed to citalopram in the uterus.

Breast-feeding women should not take citalopram, since the drug passes through breast milk to a nursing baby. If citalopram is necessary for a new mother, she should not breast-feed.

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