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Zoloft SSRI Birth Defects MDL Lawsuit

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Recent medical studies indicate that a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, SSRI, may have side effects including serious birth defects. Some studies have linked the use of SSRIs while pregnant with birth defects. SSRI birth defects may include persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn and other potentially serious heart and lung problems.

Birth Injuries Caused by Zoloft

Use of Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride), an antidepressant during pregnancy has been shown to cause serious and life-threatening birth defects. When taken during pregnancy, Zoloft has been associated with devastating birth defects, such as:

3 times the risk of infant heart defects
6 times the risk of Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension in Newborns (PPHN)
Spina Bifida/Neural Tube Defects
Club Foot
Abdominal and Cranial Birth Defects

Zoloft is manufactured and marketed by Pfizer, a multi-national pharmaceutical giant. Pfizer brought Zoloft to market in 1991 with approval to treat major depression. It is also used to for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and social anxiety disorder. By 2007, Zoloft was the most prescribed antidepressant in the United States, with almost 30 million annual prescriptions.

What are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors?

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are used as antidepressants and antianxiety medications. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has linked SSRIs to serious birth defects, including persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN).

The study found that women who took SSRIs during their third trimester were 6 times more likely to deliver babies born with PPHN—or to have babies that would develop primary pulmonary hypertension—than women who did not take SSRIs during their third trimester.

What is Primary Pulmonary Hypertension?

SSRI birth defects PPHN is a disorder of the lungs in which the arteries are severely constricted, causing the blood pressure in the pulmonary artery of the heart to rise to excessive levels. Blood flow is then reduced leading to reduced oxygen levels in the blood.

SSRI Heart and Birth Defects

The antidepressant Zoloft, when taken during pregnancy, has been found to more than triple the risk of serious and deadly birth defects. Currently, the following anti-depressants are linked to birth defects:

Proxac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Symbyax (fluoxetine or olanzapine), Celexa (citalopram), Lexapro (escitalopram)

Other birth defects reportedly linked to SSRI use while pregnant:

Club foot
Oral Cleft
Craniosynostosis

Spina Bifida/Neural Tube Defects

Maternal use of antidepressants, such as Zoloft, during pregnancy may increase the risk of infants to be born with spina bifida and other neural tube defects (NTDs) – defects of the brain and spinal cord.

Spina Bifida – A NTD in which the fetal spinal column does not close completely during the first month of pregnancy. It can lead to paralysis.

Anencephaly – A NTD in which there is underdevelopment of the brain and skull. It is a fatal condition, and babies are stillborn or pass away shortly after birth.

SSRI Antidepressants and SNRI Antidepressants

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are similar to SSRIs in that they both increase levels of serotonin in the patient's brain. SNRIs also affect levels of norepinephrine in the brain.

Zoloft MDL Litigation and Lawsuits

In April, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred all Zoloft cases to District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, for coordinated handling as part of an MDL. Such centralization is designed to allow the parties to reduce duplicative discovery across similar cases and eliminate contradictory pretrial rulings from different judges.

All of the complaints involve similar allegations that Pfizer failed to adequately warn consumers or the medical community about the risks of problems for unborn children if Zoloft is used during pregnancy, which could include an increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns (PPHN), spina bifida, heart defects, lung defects, abdominal defects, cranial defects and other malformations.

SSRI Birth Defects Lawyer Contact Form

If you took any SSRI antidepressant medication during pregnancy and your baby suffered any type of birth defect, you may qualify for damages or remedies that may be awarded in a possible lawsuit. Please click on this link to submit your claim to Dr Shezad Malik Law Firm who will review your case.

Read related posts here

Pfizer Zoloft Side Effects Caused Child Heart Defects Posted August 2, 2012, Motion to Consolidate Zoloft Birth Defect Lawsuits Posted February 28, 2012, Lexapro Lawsuits Filed For Birth Defects Posted February 25, 2012