Zoloft® Birth Defect Related Lawsuits
Recent studies have shown that Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) are directly linked to birth defects. These defects include, but are not limited to Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension (PPHN), heart, lung, abdominal and cranial defects.
Zoloft®, is an antidepressant that is generally prescribed to treat major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social phobia/social anxiety disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
Common Birth Defects
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has warned patients that taking Zoloft® or any other SSRI during pregnancy has been directly linked to Congenital Heart Defects. These birth defects are 5 times more likely to occur in women who have taken it during pregnancy. The most common defects are Heart Defects, Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension and Abdominal & Cranial birth defects. The heart defects were, in most cases, Atrial and Ventricular Septal Defects, which are characterized by holes in the walls of the chambers of the heart. Heart-related birth defects range in severity from minor, which may resolve without treatment, to severe conditions, which usually require surgical repair.
PPHN: Persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) is a serious and life-threatening lung condition that occurs soon after birth of the newborn.
Abdominal Birth Defects: Abdominal defects develop early in a pregnancy, and can usually be detected through blood tests and ultrasound tests. When fetal abdominal wall defects are discovered early, specialists can be called in for the birth to make sure the baby is protected. Gastroschisis and omphalocele can both be corrected through surgeries, though the bowels are at risk of damage and infection when they are exposed in both the amniotic fluid and after the birth. Surgeries are performed to correct the abdominal wall defects by placing them back into the abdominal cavity.
Complications of these Zoloft® birth defects can include an underdeveloped abdominal cavity that is unable to hold the organs when the initial surgery is performed. A sack, known as a silo, can be placed around the organs to hold them in place and protect them until the cavity is able to hold them. When they are back inside the body, the opening will be closed up with another surgery.
Cranial Birth Defects: Craniosynostosis occurs when the bones prematurely close during the first year of life, which causes an abnormally shaped skull.
Clubfoot: Recent studies conducted by the Institute of Reproductive Toxicology at the University of Ulm, Germany and the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University found that some women who took SSRIs throughout their pregnancy had children born with clubfeet. True clubfoot is a malformation. The bones, joints, muscles, and blood vessels of the limb are abnormal. An infant with clubfoot has a foot that is turned in, stiff and cannot be brought to a normal position.
Neural Tube Defects: Neural tube defects (or NTDs) are birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. The two most common neural tube defects are spina bifida and anencephaly. In spina bifida, the fetal spinal column doesn’t close completely during the first month of pregnancy. There is usually nerve damage that causes at least some paralysis of the legs. In anencephaly, much of the brain does not develop. Babies with anencephaly are either stillborn or die shortly after birth.
Drug companies have downplayed the risk to fetuses of the use of these drugs during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, recent studies have shown a significant increase in occurrence of serious birth defects as a result of using some of these drugs during the first trimester. If you were taking an SSRI before you found out you were pregnant, there is a possibility that your child’s birth defect was caused by the drug — even if you stopped taking it once you found out you were pregnant! Recent litigation has held these drug companies accountable for their failure to warn of these risks. If you or a loved one has taken an SSRI and given birth to a child with a congenital birth defect, you may be entitled to compensation.
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Slater Slater Schulman LLP is dedicated to the representation of plaintiffs in Zoloft® lawsuits. Our firm is handling litigation related to these injuries nationwide.
If you or someone you love has taken Zoloft® while pregnant and given birth to a child with a congenital birth defect, you should contact Slater Slater Schulman LLP for a free consultation by filling out the form on this page or by calling us at (800) 251-6990.
Medical Disclaimer: Please note that any change in medications should be made only after consulting with your doctor about the risks and benefits of doing so and should not be based on any information contained in this web site or on a commercial.