What Are SSRIs Used For?
As the most prescribed class of antidepressants, SSRIs are the primary medication used to treat depression, although they are also used for other mood disorders, such as bulimia nervosa, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. While scientists claim to not know exactly how and why they work, they do know that SSRIs’ main function is to block the reuptake of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter and cell-signaling molecule in the brain. Serotonin has many different roles, and one of them is to regulate mood. Research has shown that the inhibition of serotonin reuptake has a major effect in improving mood and outlook for patients with major depression.
SSRIs and the Risk of Birth Defects
While SSRIs are considered by many doctors to be relatively safe on account of their mild side effect profile, recent research studies have found that SSRIs may pose a severe risk to the health of fetuses of pregnant mothers taking the drug. Several studies have shown a demonstrable relation between SSRIs and a higher risk of birth defects, which suggests that SSRIs cross the placental barrier and endanger the fetus. Heart defects and physical malformations have been widely cited by such studies. Recently, Johns Hopkins researchers found that there is a link between SSRI exposure during pregnancy and autism. Similarly, a Harvard study noted that SSRI exposure caused a two-fold increase in risk for attention deficit disorders.
The Recent Surge in SSRI Lawsuits
The number of SSRI lawsuits has risen over the last ten years. Pregnant women were often prescribed anti-depressants in the early 2000s, when the birth defect risk was not publicly known. Many of these women were not informed of this risk, and it was only in 2006 that pharmaceutical companies were required by the United States Food and Drug Administration to warn consumers of the risk. With over 500 lawsuits filed against Pfizer over their SSRI, Zoloft, manufacturers have been confronted with litigation claiming that they failed to warn patients about the risks of SSRIs for pregnant women.
Filing an Oklahoma SSRI Lawsuit
If you have a child who was born with a birth defect you believe may have been caused by SSRIs, you may be eligible to pursue monetary damages. Consider contacting Attorney Group for Oklahoma. We can discuss the options available to you and answer questions or concerns you might have about the process of filing an SSRI lawsuit in Oklahoma. We’ll also provide you with a case evaluation at no cost. If you choose to move forward with litigation, we can connect you with an affiliated attorney who can help you seek the compensation you may be entitled to.