Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, have been helping to treat obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, anxiety conditions and depression for years. However, it has recently come to light that these medications including well-known Zoloft and Paxil may be linked to an increased risk of birth defects in newborns whose mothers took the medications during pregnancy.
According to many Tennessee birth defect attorneys, the most common SSRIs allegedly linked to birth defects include:
Currently, women are working with Tennessee birth defect attorneys to learn about their legal rights and how to go about filing lawsuits to seek compensation for their babies’ injuries. If you were taking an antidepressant or anxiety medication such as Zoloft and you delivered a child with heart, skull or abdominal defects, you may be entitled to receive compensation for damages.
Studies Show Link Between SSRIs and Birth Defects
A popular class of medications, SSRIs are designed to increase serotonin levels in the brain and boost patients’ moods, thus decreasing the symptoms of certain disorders. However, Tennessee birth defect attorneys note that plaintiffs are filing lawsuits citing evidence that suggests that Zoloft and other SSRIs may cause certain birth defects including:
- Heart defects
- Spina bifida
- Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
- Coarctation of the aorta
- Transportation of the great arteries (TGA)
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN)
- Tetralogy of fallot (TOF)
Babies may be at an increased risk for premature delivery and low birth weight if exposed to certain drugs within the final trimester. They may also exhibit withdrawal symptoms immediately and shortly after birth including, but not limited to, seizures, respiratory distress, crying, irritability, jitters and shivering.
There is evidence that drug maker held information as early as the 1990s that indicated a potential relationship between Zoloft and SSRIs and changes to brain chemistry that could be permanent or persistent. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety update in 2006 that acknowledged concerns of birth defects in women taking SSRIs. While the warning advised women during any stage of pregnancy to use caution, particular conditions were noted during the first trimester and after the 20th week of pregnancy. In the report, the FDA also suggested that women who were considering pregnancy or those currently pregnant consult their physicians for more information.
Additionally, a study published in 2006 revealed that persistent pulmonary hypertension, a potentially fatal lung condition, was six times greater in women who took Zoloft and other SSRIs during the last trimester. Other birth defects were linked to antidepressants as early as one year before conception.
Women Work with Tennessee Birth Defect Attorneys to File Claims
As a result of mounting clinical evidence and safety warnings, women have begun to seek counsel from professional Tennessee birth defect attorneys experienced in handling similar cases. Allegations against the manufacturers include:
- Neglecting to warn the FDA, the medical community and the public about the potential dangers of Zoloft and SSRIs during pregnancy
- Failure to conduct post-marketing studies
- Failure to report results of studies
- Producing, selling and marketing allegedly dangerous medications
- Promoting and marketing Zoloft and antidepressants and anxiety medications to expecting women when manufacturers allegedly knew that these medications increased the risk of birth defects in newborns
Common SSRI Side Effects
However, it is important to note that many patients took Zoloft and other antidepressants and suffered common side effects such as nausea, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headaches, erectile dysfunction, agitation, increased suicidal tendencies, increased risk of fractures, reduced sexual desire, difficulty reaching orgasm and weight loss or gain. These side effects typically subsided within two to three weeks following the initial dose.
Still, while they may have been advised as to the common side effects of these medications, women were allegedly not informed of the risk of birth defects during pregnancy, leading many to file lawsuits, including some with the help of Tennessee birth defect attorneys.
A Tennessee Birth Defect Attorney Can Help
If you are confused about whether you have a claim, contact Attorney Group for Tennessee today. We will evaluate your case, free of charge, and work to determine if you are eligible to receive compensation. If you took Zoloft or other SSRIs during pregnancy and delivered a baby with heart, abdominal or skull defects, you may be able to pursue a claim against the manufacturer of the drug you used. We will connect you with experienced Tennessee birth defect attorneys who will handle your case and work to get you the compensation for damages you have incurred. The time to file claims in these cases is often limited; if you fail to pursue a claim within the statute of limitations, your family may be prohibited from seeking compensation in the future. So contact Attorney Group for Tennessee today for your free consultation.