Antidepressant medications like Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil contain a class of compounds known in the pharmaceutical industry as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Since their introduction in the 1980s, the drugs have become one of the most common medications prescribed for major depression and are used to address anxiety, mood and personality disorders as well. Studies have shown a long list of side effects associated with Zoloft and similar drugs. One of the most dangerous is a reported increase in birth defects among women who take the medication while pregnant. If your baby is a victim of a birth defect linked to SSRIs, you best resource is to contact affiliated Louisiana Zoloft birth defect attorneys with Attorney Group for Louisiana immediately.
How Does Zoloft Work?
Sertaline is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and marketed under the brand name Zoloft. Like all SSRIs, the medication works by interacting with a naturally occurring chemical in the human body called serotonin. Serotonin works as a neurotransmitter, regulating multiple functions in various systems of the body. In the gastrointestinal tract, for example, serotonin helps regulate digestion. In the central nervous system, serotonin helps to regulate functions like mood, sleep and memory.
Neurotransmitters like serotonin work by sending a chemical signal from one neuron to another. Once the signal has been sent, the transporters responsible for transmitting the signal are reabsorbed by the neurotransmitter. This process is known as reuptake. SSRIs work by limiting the amount of serotonin that the neurotransmitter can absorb, which increases the amount of serotonin available to other cells in the system.
Potential Side Effects
While drugs like Zoloft have been proven effective in treating a broad array of conditions, from depression and anxiety disorders to bulimia and severe premenstrual syndrome, multiple side effects can occur when taking Zoloft as well, including weight gain, low sexual drive, sleep difficulties, fatigue and heart palpitations. A number of studies have linked taking SSRIs during the first trimester of a woman’s pregnancy to an increased risk of birth defects.
A 2007 report published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that children born to mothers taking SSRIs were more likely to develop problems affecting serotonin-related systems, including the intestines and brain, than those born to mothers who didn’t take the drugs. When birth defects occur, consumers in Louisiana can turn to Louisiana Zoloft birth defect attorneys for information about legal recourse.
Additional studies have linked the use of SSRIs during pregnancy with an increased risk for delivering an infant with a persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) that results in respiratory failure. A study published in the British Medical Journal found that the use of SSRIs during pregnancy increased the likelihood of a baby being born with a septal heart defect, which is a hole in the muscular tissue of the heart’s chambers.
Other associated birth defects include missing or deformed limbs, club foot and bowel defects. Louisiana Zoloft birth defect attorneys strive to give parents the chance to seek compensation when faced with these serious birth defects.
Lawsuits Filed by Louisiana Zoloft Birth Defect Attorneys
Lawsuits filed in Louisiana and across the nation against the drug manufacturers that produce SSRIs number in the hundreds. In 2012, a couple from Louisiana filed suit against the Zoloft pharmaceutical company Pfizer, claiming the drug was responsible for their child’s congenital birth defect. In the lawsuit, the couple alleged that the company had information that indicated the drug increased the likelihood of birth defects for children born to mothers who took Zoloft during their pregnancies yet failed to warn consumers about the risk.
In Louisiana, parents dealing with the devastating consequences of birth defects rely on Louisiana Zoloft birth defect attorneys to help ensure that they are compensated for the medical expenses, mental anguish and emotional distress caused when drug companies demonstrate negligence. If your child was born with a possible Zoloft-related birth defect, the Attorney Group for Louisiana can connect you with skilled Louisiana Zoloft birth defect attorneys who can help. Attorney Group for Louisiana is here to answer any questions that you have and to help you to pursue compensation for your suffering, so contact us today.