As the number of patients coming forward with birth injuries linked to taking Zoloft while pregnant increases, Zoloft birth injury attorney around the country are preparing for what may be a monumental legal effort to recover damages for families affected by the drug.
Years ago, researchers linked the popular antidepressant drug Paxil with certain serious birth injuries in infants including heart defects, lung defects, PPHN and musculoskeletal defects such as cleft palate and other injuries.
Studies have now uncovered data to show the same risk for birth injury may lie with similar selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs including Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac and Luvox.
Zoloft was released by drug maker Pfizer in 1991 for the treatment of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety. It has now proven to be the most popular antidepressant of all time in the United States with more than 30,000,000 prescriptions written.
The startling new data has thousands or more expectant mothers worried as the antidepressant drugs they are taking during pregnancy could increase the risk of giving birth to a child with birth defects.
Studies have suggested that the side effects of Zoloft may raise birth defect risks when the drug is taken as early as the first trimester of pregnancy. Many women continue on medications during this time as they don’t even know they are expecting.
The news also has many families who are dealing with a child with a birth injury wondering what legal options they have to get help with their child’s extensive medical treatment and therapy.
Studies show that more than 10% of the population has taken an antidepressant at one time or another and an alarming number of these patients were women dealing with the effects of pregnancy.
Zoloft birth defect lawyers are now investigating and filing lawsuits on behalf of those families where a mother took Zoloft or another SSRI drug during pregnancy and gave birth to a child with a birth defect. Verdicts and settlements in SSRI birth defect lawsuits can reach well above $1 million depending on the extent of injury and medical costs.
The concerns date back to studies conducted five years ago. In 2006, the FDA released a public health advisory cautioning that certain SSRI antidepressants could cause PPHN and lung defects when taken later than the 20th week of pregnancy.
A study released in 2009 linked the use of Zoloft and similar SSRI antidepressants during the first trimester could increase the risk of heart defects by as much as double.
Legal experts predict that as more and more families become aware of the potential risks and serious side effects of taking Zoloft during pregnancy, thousands of people dealing with the serious birth defect of a child will come forward. Hopefully, however, news of the litigation will protect other children in the future.