Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are antidepressant medications that alter levels of serotonin, a mood-enhancing chemical in the brain. The drugs work by limiting the brain’s ability to re-absorb serotonin. The brain is then better able to send and receive signals, and one of the benefits of this altered process is an elevated mood. These drugs are commonly prescribed in Tennessee and throughout the U.S. to treat everything from depression to certain personality disorders. They are also prescribed to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks.
The history of SSRIs in America dates to 1988, when Prozac (fluoxetine) reached the market. They are thought of as “third-generation” antidepressants that generate fewer side effects than earlier antidepressants. The use of SSRIs has skyrocketed to the point that, in 2005, they became the most commonly prescribed class of drugs in the country. Today, Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor, Celexa and Lexapro are among such drugs prescribed by physicians.
What are the Dangers of SSRIs?
Documented instances of suicidal thoughts in young patients on SSRIs resulted in a warning issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2004. In 2006, the FDA warning was expanded to include patients 24-years of age and younger. In that same year, the FDA also officially warned of an increased risk of Serotonin Syndrome and PPHN in pregnant women that were taking SSRIs.
PPHN is a condition that may result in a child being born with lung or heart problems. Serotonin Syndrome refers to the accumulation of excess amounts of the chemical in the brain. The condition can result from combining medications that boost serotonin amounts beyond what can be handled by the brain. The condition can also result from an SSRI overdose. Rapid onset of Serotonin Syndrome is possible, and death can potentially occur in a matter of minutes.
Various clinical trials have also suggested a possible link between SSRIs and a variety of other specific birth defects, such as:
- Spina bifida
- Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS)
- Tetralogy of fallot (TOF)
- Transportation of the great arteries (TGA)
- Holes in the heart
- Coarctation of the aorta
- Ventricular and atrial septal defects (VSD)
- Club foot
Tennessee women that were pregnant while taking an SSRI medication may be able to seek compensation if any of these or other birth defects affected their child. A plaintiff who files an SSRI lawsuit may seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and other losses.
Injured While Taking SSRI Antidepressants? Consider an SSRI Lawsuit
If either you or someone that you know was unaware of the significant health issues that can arise from taking SSRIs, and suffered injury after taking an SSRI such as Zoloft or Lexapro, consider seeking help today. The Attorney Group for Tennessee can provide a complimentary consultation to discuss your situation. If you decide to pursue a claim, we can connect you with an affiliated attorney. Contact us today to learn more.