Zoloft, Paxil, and Prozac (SSRI) Birth Defects
Personal Injury Lawyers - Representing People Nationwide
For several years, there has been growing evidence linking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) with a variety of birth defects. SSRIs are classified as antidepressant drugs and are used to treat conditions such as:
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- General anxiety disorder
SSRI drugs are used by millions of people around the world and generate billions of dollars in annual sales for the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture them. Some of the most common SSRI drugs include:
If you are taking an SSRI and either plan to become pregnant or have recently become pregnant, consult your physician at once to find out if you should switch to an alternative medication to manage your depression.
SSRIs and Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension (PPHN)
In 2007, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study indicating an increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) among babies born to women who took SSRIs during the second half of their pregnancy. PPHN is a rare and serious respiratory condition that prevents a baby from adequately breathing outside of the womb. As a result of this dangerous birth defect, the baby is unable to receive enough oxygen. There is a 10-20% fatality rate among babies born with PPHN.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine study, the risk of developing PPHN increases even more when SSRIs are consumed during the third trimester. Babies born to mothers taking an SSRI during the last trimester face as much as six times as great a risk of developing this dangerous birth defect as babies born to mothers who do not take these drugs.
Heart Birth Defects Associated with SSRIs
SSRI drugs have also been linked to a variety of other birth defects over the past few years. In 2005, the FDA issued a public health warning for Paxil after several studies demonstrated an increased risk of heart birth defects. Babies born to women using Paxil in the first trimester were 1-2 times more likely to develop atrial and ventricular septal defects which cause the wall separating the right and left sides of a baby's heart to develop improperly. GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Paxil, was required to change the pregnancy warning on the drug's label from C category to D category, indicating a serious risk of birth defects.
Other SSRI drugs such as Prozac and Zoloft have also been linked to heart birth defects. A 2007 study found pregnant women who take Zoloft face a two times greater risk of giving birth to a baby with heart defects. In 2008, a study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology supported the initial 2005 finding as well. This study listed Prozac alongside Paxil as being linked to an increased risk of heart defects.
SSRI Birth Defect Lawsuits
The manufacturers of Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, and a variety of other SSRI drugs are currently facing numerous pharmaceutical injury lawsuits related to birth defects caused by these drugs. If your child was born with PPHN or another birth defect due to your consumption of an SSRI drug during pregnancy, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your damages.
Please contact us today to find an experienced pharmaceutical injury lawyer in your area.