SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, elevate serotonin levels in patients. By changing these balances, the brain can better send and receive messages and help to increase sleep patterns, moods and behaviors. SSRIs are among the most prescribed medications across the globe. Clinical trials suggest that these medications are safe when taken as directed and may be effective in treating anxiety, depression, panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
However, these medications are reportedly not safe during pregnancy, and women filing lawsuits against drug makers allege that they were not informed of these risks prior to taking the drugs. Florida birth defect attorneys note that plaintiffs across the country are seeking legal counsel to learn more about their rights.
SSRIs Cause Birth Defects?
Plaintiffs and Florida birth defect attorneys allege that numerous birth defects have been caused by SSRI use while pregnant. Several of the most common conditions include:
- Abnormal skull growth
- Spina bifida
- Cleft lip and/or palate
- Partial or complete closure of the anus
- Limb abnormalities like club foot
- Defects in the abdominal wall
- Heart defects
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its first notice on December 8, 2005. In this warning, the agency discussed results from a Swedish trial that allegedly analyzed SSRI exposure and its effect on fetuses and newborns. Researchers concluded that taking Zoloft and similar SSRIs during the first trimester could increase a baby’s chance of suffering from heart defects and complications such as ventricular or atrial septal defects; in these instances, the wall down the middle of the heart does not completely develop. The study also noted other heart defects such as:
- Aortic stenosis
- Pulmonary stenosis and atresia
- Tricuspid atresia
- Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS)
- Conotruncal defects
On July 19, 2006, the FDA issued yet another an advisory concerning the alleged increased risk of neonatal persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) in babies whose mothers were taking Lexapro, Zoloft and Prozac during pregnancy. The condition can be life-threatening as it prevents the proper amount of oxygen from flowing into the bloodstream of the infant.
If you or someone you know took SSRIs like Zoloft while pregnant, delivered a baby with birth defects and you were not properly or adequately informed about the risks and side effects of the drugs, consult a Florida birth defect attorney to learn more about your legal rights.
SSRIs Receive Category C Classification
The FDA has classified all SSRIs except for one into Category C. To be considered at this level, a medication must have showed adverse health effects or birth defects on animals in clinical trials. Therefore, the FDA has advised pregnant and soon-to-be-pregnant women to cease taking Zoloft and other SSRIs to reduce the risk of birth defects.
Physicians assert that any side effects noticed while taking Zoloft and other SSRIs should subside within a month following the first dose. However, plaintiffs and their Florida birth defect attorneys claim that SSRIs can cause adverse side effects such as:
- Dry mouth, headache
- Fluctuations in weight
- Decreased libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Increased suicidal tendencies
- Nervousness, restlessness
- Dizziness, drowsiness
- Vomiting, nausea, diarrhea
These side effects are fairly common in these medications, and patients should not be alarmed if they experience one or more of them. However, pregnant women are advised to cease Zoloft or other SSRI treatments as birth defects can range from mild to potentially fatal. A baby may be born with a harmless heart murmur or the more serious PPHN condition.
If you took Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro or Prozac while pregnant and you believe that your child’s birth defect is a direct result of the medication, consult a Florida birth defect attorney who can help to determine if you are entitled to receive compensation. There is a statute of limitations, or a specified period of time, in which claims are valid; the exact range will depend on the state in which the injury occurred. Should you fail to pursue a claim within the statute of limitations, you may be ineligible to file a lawsuit to seek compensation in the future. Consult a Florida birth defect attorney for more information.
Florida Birth Defect Attorneys May Be Able to Help
If you have any questions about anxiety medications or antidepressants such as Zoloft during pregnancy and the potential for babies to develop birth defects, consult Attorney Group for Florida today. We will work to answer your questions and ease your concerns, particularly if you have never filed a lawsuit before. We will provide you with a free consultation and work to determine if you have a valid claim. Should we feel that you are eligible to file for damages, we will connect you with an experienced Florida birth defect attorney who will assist you further.