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Pregnant woman are being urged to avoid taking the antidepressant Paxil because of the risk of birth defects. A committee of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has issued the warning based on two separate studies showing that children born to women taking Paxil during their first trimester have experienced nearly twice the incidence of heart defects.

In December 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had issued an alert to health care professionals warning about early results of tests linking the drug to an increased risk of birth defects, particularly heart defects, when women take it during the first three months of pregnancy. The drug is manufacturered by GlaxoSmithKline.

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