In 1988, the introduction of Prozac (fluoxetine) marked the arrival of a so-called third generation of antidepressants in New York and across the country. Drugs like Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro and Paxil feature selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that work by inhibiting the re-absorption of a chemical called serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a naturally occurring substance that is produced by the human body. SSRIs provide for more efficient use of this mood-enhancing chemical when levels are abnormal.
SSRIs became popular because they were believed to create fewer side effects and medical conditions than the antidepressants that preceded them. They were increasingly used to treat depression, panic disorders, anxiety disorders and various personality disorders. By 2005, SSRIs had become the most prescribed type of drugs in America.
What are the Dangers of SSRIs?
Concerns emerged about a potential increase in suicide risk among young people that took SSRIs. In October 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) responded by issuing a safety alert that pertained to children and SSRIs. Two years later, this warning was expanded to include anyone 24-years-old or younger. Also, in 2006, the FDA issued an alert regarding pregnant women who were taking this class of antidepressants, warning of the potential for Serotonin Syndrome and PPHN.
Serotonin Syndrome occurs when more of the chemical is present than the brain can handle. This occurs in both overdose cases and in cases where a mix of medications is taken that excessively elevates serotonin levels. The syndrome can appear suddenly, and it can cause death in a short time span in some cases. PPHN is a medical condition arising from heart and/or lung problems in newborns. In New York and elsewhere, such complications potentially related to antidepressant use have resulted in the filing of SSRI lawsuits.
Clinical trials regarding birth defects and SSRI use by the mother have suggested a potential linkage between this class of antidepressants and:
- Spina bifida
- Tetralogy of fallot (TOF)
- Ventricular and atrial septal defects
- Holes in the heart
- Club foot
- Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS)
- Transportation of the great arteries (TGA)
- Coarctation of the aorta
Injured While On SSRIs?
If you or a loved one may have suffered injury from taking this class of antidepressants, please contact us at Attorney Group for New York. We can answer your questions and help you understand your options in your particular situation. If you decide to pursue a claim, we can connect you with an affiliated attorney who can assist you through the legal process. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more.