Birth Defects and Anitdepressants

According to the most recent survey conducted by the National Center for Health birth injury lawyerStatistics, one in ten Americans over the age of 12 takes antidepressants. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) are the most commonly prescribed antidepressant in the United States. SSRI’s work by altering the levels of serotonin in the brain and are used in the treatment of major depressive disorder, panic attacks, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders.

The first SSRI to hit the drug market was Prozac in 1988. By 2008, prescriptions for antidepressants had increased by 400 percent. While SSRI’s have been touted as a miracle cure for several illnesses, thousands of patients are experiencing severe side effects including increased risk of birth defects.

If you or your child has experienced severe side effects from SSRI’s, contact SSRI birth defect attorney Christopher Dixon to discuss your case. Christopher Dixon is lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and has been recognized by the National Trail Lawyers Association as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer.

SSRI Side Effects

Several studies of SSRI’s and their effects on pregnant women have indicated there is a possibility of increased risk of birth defects. Infants whose mothers who took SSRI’s during the second half of their pregnancies were more likely to be born with birth defects such as:

  • Omphalocele – organs are formed outside of the body during fetal development
  • Cardiovascular malformation – fetal heart defects
  • Infant withdrawal and distress – respiratory distress, cyanosis, apnea, seizures, temperature instability, feeding difficulty, vomiting, irritability, and constant crying
  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension (PPHN) – a condition affecting a newborn’s heart and lungs, preventing the newborn from breathing outside of the womb
  • Cleft lip or palate – openings or splits in the lip or roof of the mouth
  • Cranial defects – infant skull deformation
  • Club foot – feet appear to have been rotated internally at the ankle
  • Spina bifida – A birth defect in which a developing baby’s spinal cord fails to develop properly
  • Fetal brain damage
  • Fetal death

FDA SSRI Antidepressant Birth Defects Warnings

SSRI’s have been prescribed to pregnant women although the FDA has labeled them as a grade “C.” This means studies on animals have shown increased harm, but since it is unethical to test pharmaceuticals on human infants, the effects remain unknown.

In 2006, the FDA issued a warning about the use of SSRI’s by pregnant women and a possible link to birth defects, more specifically PPHN. The warning was based on a study by the National Institute of Health. Over 1,200 women participated and it was found that those women who took SSRI’s while pregnant were six times more likely to have an infant born with PPHN compared to women who did not take SSRI’s during pregnancy.

Antidepressant Birth Defect Lawsuits

Parents whose children were born with birth defects caused by SSRI Antidepressant’s have sued nearly every one of the SSRI manufacturers. Lawsuits claim that manufacturers heavily marketed SSRI’s to pregnant women to help ease mood disorders caused by their pregnancies. The following drugs have been involved in recent birth defect litigation:

Celexa – The SSRI Celexa has been on the market since 1998 when it was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Celexa, generically known as Citalopram, is marketed as a last resort for those still suffering from severe depression after other drugs have failed. Forest Laboratories manufactures the drug and has been served with a lawsuit in Cole County, Missouri. This consolidated litigation is the first in the nation to address Celexa and its connection to birth defects.

Zoloft – Zoloft, generically called Sertraline, is an SSRI that was introduced to the pharmaceutical drug market in 1991. In 2011, over 37 million prescriptions were written for Sertraline in the United States, the second most prescribed medication on the market. Pfizer, the drug’s manufacturer, has hundreds of pending lawsuits in courts across the United States. Parents seeking compensation for their children’s birth defects have filed these lawsuits.

Lexapro – Forest Laboratories introduced the SSRI Lexapro, generically called escitalopram, to the prescription drug market in 2002. Lexapro was marketed as a better alternative to Forest’s first SSRI, Celexa. The first round of Lexapro and Celexa birth defects lawsuits have been consolidated in Cole County, Missouri.

Paxil – Paxil was initially manufactured and supplied by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in 1992. The SSRI has been involved in hundreds of lawsuits since 2009 and, to date, GSK has paid out over $2 billion to settle birth defect cases.

Antidepressant Birth Defects Lawyer

Over the past twenty years, prescription drug manufacturers have accelerated the marketing of their products while making hundreds of billions of dollars in profits. If you took an SSRI while pregnant and your baby was born with birth defects from antidepressants, quick action is essential as the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit could be running out.

SSRI manufacturers need to be held accountable for not fully warning their patients about what could happen to them and their babies when they take these prescription antidepressants. The only way to hold drug companies accountable for their actions is to take them to court. They have been placing profits above their intended recipients for far too long.

If you took an SSRI antidepressant while pregnant and your child suffered a birth defect or other side effect, contact a St. Louis birth defects lawyer to discuss your case at 855-552-2337. We are help to help SSRI users across all 50 states. All consultations are free and there is no fee unless we win. Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to discuss your case with Top 100 Trial Lawyer Christopher Dixon.