SSRI Antidepressants & Birth Defects

Zoloft® and Pregnancy

If you, or someone you know took Zoloft®, during pregnancy and your child was born with a birth defect, you have legal rights and may be entitled to claim money damages.

Zoloft ® (generic: sertraline) is a type of drug known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Manufactured by Pfizer, Zoloft ® is one of the United States’ most widely prescribed antidepressant medications and is used to treat a wide range of psychological conditions including depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCD) and bi-polar disorder among others.

Despite the obvious benefits of Zoloft®, recent medical studies have shown that mothers exposed to Zoloft® or sertraline while pregnant may be at a substantially higher risk of giving birth to a child with a serious birth defect.

SSRIs Similar To Zoloft® 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 Zoloft® 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 Zoloft® 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

Zoloft® Linked To 2x Increase In Septal 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 cardiological care is required, then later life-long care by an adult congenital cardiologist.

Read the study published by the British Medical Journal

Zoloft® Linked To A 3x Increase In Right Ventricular Flow Defect

Zoloft® and SSRIs like it have been linked to a defect of heart’s right ventricle. Where Right Ventricular Flow Defect exists, the right ventricle thickens because the heart has to pump harder than it should to move blood through the narrowed pulmonary valve.

Zoloft® Linked To Other Cardiac Malformations

Science has also linked Zoloft® to variety of other 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.

Zoloft® Linked To Anencephaly

Anencephaly results when large parts of the brain fail to form properly and often results in an infant being stillborn.

Zoloft® Linked To Craniosynostosis (Skull Defect)

Craniosynostosis is a cranial birth defect, which results in the gaps between the bone plates in the skull closing too early, thus restricting normal brain and bone growth.

Zoloft® Linked To Omphalocele

Omphalocele is an abdominal wall defect or type of hernia where the abdominal organs protrude outside the abdominal wall and through the infant’s belly button.

FDA Warnings

Currently, the Zoloft® label contains a Pregnancy Category C warning, which indicates that 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 Zoloft ® have not sought to change the warning to Pregnancy Category D.

FDA information on Lexapro

As one of the nations’ pre-eminent pharmaceutical drug litigation law firms, we are committed to providing legal support for families and children harmed by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) antidepressants. If you took Zoloft® or sertraline while pregnant and your child is showing signs of an SSRI-related birth defect, you may be entitled to money damages.

It is important that you contact an experienced drug recall lawyer 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 evaluation of your case.

Zoloft® is a registered trademark of Pfizer.
Paxil® is a registered trademark of GlaxoSmithKline.

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