SSRI Antidepressants & Birth Defects

Lexapro® and Pregnancy

If you, or some you love, took Lexapro while pregnant, and gave birth to a child with a serious birth defect, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

Lexapro (generic:escitalopram), is part of a group of antidepressant drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Manufactured by Forest Labs, Lexapro is extensively used to treat depression and a range of psychological conditions. Despite its obvious benefits, some medical studies suggest that exposure to Lexapro, or its generic escitalopram during pregnancy, may increase the risks of serious birth defects.

Birth defects linked to Lexapro

Lexapro linked to 4x increase in cardiovascular heart defects

Atrial Septal Defects (ASD) and Ventricular Septal Defects (VSD) are commonly known as holes in the chambers of the heart. They are among the most common congenital heart defects. The atrial septum is the wall between the left and right atria or upper chambers of the heart. There is a natural opening before birth that usually closes on its own shortly after birth. When this “flap” fails close, the child has an ASD. The ventricular septum is the wall between the left and right ventricles (lower chambers) of the heart.

A hole in the ventricular septum is called a VSD. Most infants born with a septal heart defect require surgery and extensive medication. Frequently, specialist pediatric cadiological care is required, then later life-long care by an adult congenital cardiologist.

Lexapro Linked To Other Cardiac Malformations

Science has also linked Lexapro to variety of other cardiac malformations and birth defects. These defects included malformations in the valves and chambers of the heart as well as certain other circulatory problems. Oftentimes these defects are serious enough to require prolonged treatment and, in some cases, surgical intervention.

SSRIs Similar To Lexapro Linked To 6x Increase In Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension Newborn (PPHN)

PPHN is a potentially life-threatening cardiopulmonary disorder that can develop quickly in newborns. PPHN impairs a baby’s body from supplying oxygen to bloodstream. It is thought that SSRI drugs like Lexapro may cause the pressure in the blood vessels leading to a baby’s lungs to increase to the point where the baby’s blood continues to bypass the lungs even after birth. According to research published in the New England Medical Journal, women who took antidepressants like Lexapro after the 20th week of pregnancy, may be six times more likely to give birth to a baby with PPHN.

Read the study published in the New England Medical Journal

FDA Warnings

Currently, the Lexapro label contains a Pregnancy Category C warning, which indicatesthat the “potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women despite potential risks to the unborn child. Other drugs such as Paxil (paroxetine) contain a Category D Warning, informing medical providers and patients that scientific studies have shown a risk to the fetus when taken during pregnancy.

Despite the scientific studies referenced above, the manufacturers of Lexapro or escitalopram have not sought to change the warning to Pregnancy Category D.

FDA information on Lexapro

As one of the country’s leading prescription drug litigation law firms, Burg Simpson’s drug recall lawyers are committed to providing help to families and children harmed by antidepressants like Lexapro and escitalopram.

If you or someone you know was prescribed Lexapro and/or escitalopram during pregnancy and gave birth to a child with a serious birth defect, you may be entitled to compensation. You should contact an experienced dangerous drug attorney as soon as possible.

If you wait, evidence that could help establish your case may be lost, damaged, or even destroyed. In addition, statutes of limitations put strict time limits in place by which lawsuits must be filed. These time limits vary depending on the state in which you live.

Contact us today for a  free no-obligation review of your case.


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