Lexapro is an anti-depressant medication prescribed for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) and general anxiety disorder (GAD). Forest Laboratories introduced Lexapro to the prescription drug market in 2002.
Although prescriptions of Lexapro and other anti-depressants have skyrocketed by 400% since 1998, many individuals, including pregnant women, have experienced severe side effects.
If you or your child has experienced side effects associated with Lexapro, contact a Lexapro lawyer to discuss your right to reimbursement for your harms and losses. For an immediate FREE confidential evaluation of your Lexapro claim, call 855-552-2337.
Lexapro, generically called escitalopram, is classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). SSRI’s work by blocking a receptor in brain cells that reabsorb serotonin, making more serotonin available. SSRI’s like Lexapro are the most commonly prescribed medication in the United States. SSRI birth defect lawsuits continue to grow against the makers of drugs like Lexapro.
Lexapro Side Effects
The side effects associated with Lexapro are similar to other anti-depressants. As with any medication, if you are experiencing any of the following side effects, contact your doctor immediately. Do not stop taking your medication before speaking with your doctor.
Lexapro’s FDA-approved medicine guide lists the following side effects:
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
- Serotonin Syndrome: agitation, hallucinations, coordination problems, muscle twitching, racing heartbeat, high or low blood pressure, sweating, fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Severe allergic reactions: trouble breathing, swelling of the face, tongue, eyes or mouth, rash, itchy welts, blisters
- Abnormal bleeding: increased risk of bleeding or bruising, especially with use of blood thinners or NSAID’s
- Seizures or convulsions
- Manic episodes: greatly increased energy, severe trouble sleeping, racing thoughts, reckless behavior, excessive happiness or irritability
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Low salt levels in the blood
In February 2009, federal authorities from Boston filed a civil suit against Forest Laboratories claiming the company illegally marketed Lexapro for use in children. The lawsuit also claimed the company paid doctors to prescribe Lexapro to children. It is illegal to pay doctors to prescribe certain medications.
The following September, the drug manufacturer’s 270-page marketing plan for Lexapro was distributed amongst the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging. The plan outlined how Forest planned to distribute approximately $100 million to doctors for participating in persuasive speaking events and lunches. The Senate Committee’s review, and subsequent accusations of marketing for unapproved uses by the U.S. Department of Justice, led Forest to settle the charges for $313 million.
In March 2014, Forest Laboratories agreed to settle claims accusing them of misleading parents into purchasing Lexapro for their young children. Up to $10 million was set aside for the settlement. Plaintiffs’ claimed the drug manufacturer withheld clinical studies that showed Lexapro was ineffective in children under the age of 18.
Lexapro Birth Defects Lawsuits
Forest Laboratories legal troubles didn’t end there. Around the same time Forest’s marketing strategies were being scrutinized, studies were being published linking SSRI’s, like Lexapro, with increased instances of birth defects.
Birth defects associated with Lexapro include:
- Spontaneous abortions
- Low birth weight
- Premature birth
- Neonatal serotonin syndrome
- Neonatal behavioral syndrome
- Abnormal neural behavior
- Respiratory distress
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPH)
- Heart defects
- Limb defects
- Cleft lip or palate
- Cranial defects
- Club foot
- Spina bifida
The FDA has not listed birth defects on the Lexapro medicine guide although they issued a “health advisory” in 2006 alerting women to the risks associated with taking SSRI’s while pregnant. More specifically, studies indicated that women who took or are taking SSRI’s in the second half of their pregnancy are twice as likely to give birth to newborns with birth defects.
SSRI’s are prescribed to pregnant women although the FDA has labeled the drugs 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 February 2012, three mothers filed lawsuits against Forest Laboratories in St. Louis Circuit Court. All three were prescribed Lexapro during their pregnancies and claimed that Forest was marketing Lexapro to pregnant women although they knew of the potential for children to be born with birth defects.
The plaintiffs’ children were born with birth defects including spina bifida, club foot, and cleft lip and palate. The women stated they would not have taken the medication had they known that the drug could cause such birth defects.
Families, like the plaintiffs’ who experience birth defects from Lexapro, endure immeasurable pain and suffering. The children born with these defects require multiple surgeries and numerous doctor appointments. Their parent’s ability to work is affected and wages are lost.
Lexapro Birth Defect Lawyer
You have a right to file a lawsuit against Forest Laboratories if taking Lexapro has harmed you or a loved one. The evidence has shown that drug manufacturers like Forest are primarily concerned with lining their pockets. The United States Senate, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice, has noticed their blatant disregard and willful intent to put money above the safety of the general public. Forest has settled several lawsuits for hundreds of millions of dollars. More lawsuits are being filed every day.
If you believe you have a claim against Forest Laboratories, quick action is essential as the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit could be running out. St. Louis Lexapro lawyer Christopher Dixon is ready to review your case today.
For his aggressive and compassionate legal representation, Christopher Dixon is recognized as Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association, as well as listed among the Top 40 under 40. Chris is also a Lifetime Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum for his ongoing efforts on behalf of injury victims.
If you took Lexapro while pregnant and your child suffered a birth defect or other side effect, contact a St. Louis Lexapro lawyer to discuss your case at 855-552-2337. We are help to help Lexapro users across all 50 states. All consultations are free and there is no fee unless we win your case. Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to discuss your case.