Paxil and Zoloft (sertraline) are part of the class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This class of drugs is used to treat depression and anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, and millions of prescriptions are filled in the United States each year. But studies have turned up an increased risk of serious birth defects in babies born to mothers taking Paxil or Zoloft, triggering concerns and some lawsuits from Missouri Drug Recall Attorneys.
A 2005 study by Paxil’s manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, turned up an increased risk of major birth defects in babies born to mothers taking the drug. Most often, these were defects in the babies’ hearts, especially holes between the heart’s chambers (ventricular septal defects). This risk exists in the general U.S. population, but researchers have found that it’s 1.5 to 2 times more likely for mothers who took Paxil in the first trimester (three months of pregnancy). Shortly thereafter, another study linked SSRI antidepressants taken after the 20th week of pregnancy to an increased risk of a birth defect called persistent pulmonary hypertension. These are very serious birth defects that can be fatal or leave the child disabled for life. Severe heart defects may require surgery at a tender age. As a result of all this, the FDA reclassified Paxil from pregnancy category C to category D, which means human studies have shown a risk to the fetus.
Zoloft is still pregnancy category C, which raises the likelihood that it will be prescribed to pregnant women. But because it’s an SSRI, Zoloft carries the same increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension that Paxil and related drugs do. This is high blood pressure in the baby’s lungs causing difficulty breathing, and it can be deadly in newborns. Those who survive may suffer damage to the brain, hearing or speech, leaving them disabled for life. At least one study has also connected Zoloft use in early pregnancy to an increased risk of congenital heart defects and missing limbs, as well as malformed or misplaced organs.
Because of these serious side effects, the FDA now advises patients and their doctors to carefully consider whether the risks outweigh the benefits of continuing to use Paxil, Zoloft or other SSRIs during pregnancy. But drug makers GlaxoSmithKline (Paxil) and Pfizer (Zoloft) and makers of the generic equivalents still face thousands of lawsuits across the United States from families that claim they suffered severe birth defects because manufacturers failed to adequately warn them about the risks. Many such lawsuits were filed on behalf of Missourians by our lawyers. Because these are disabling or life-threatening injuries to babies, families that win these suits often win millions of dollars &mdash: money intended for a lifetime of medical treatment and other help for children living with disabilities and health problems.
E. Ryan Bradley represents families all over Missouri that have suffered serious birth defects because of Paxil, Zoloft or other SSRI antidepressants. Our St. Louis Defective Drug lawyers help injured children and their parents pass on the staggering costs of a serious birth defect to the drug company that failed to warn about the risk. Just like all other manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies have an obligation under Missouri law to warn consumers about safety risks from using their products. When they fail, and a vulnerable baby is hurt as a result, they can be held legally and financially responsible for the results. In a Paxil birth defects lawsuit, families can claim compensation for all of their past and future medical bills, often a substantial number, as well as other financial costs of the injury and compensation for their emotional and physical pain.
If you believe your family suffered a birth defect from taking a defective drug, call E. Ryan Bradley today to discuss how we can help. We offer free, confidential consultations. You can reach us online or call 314-400-0000.