Zoloft Lawsuit Settlements | Zoloft Birth Defects Lawsuit

Parents Seek Zoloft Lawsuit Settlements in Death of Newborn

Shay Morrigan | November 8th, 2011

Paula Peska and Scott Day were the proud parents of a newborn on October 27, 2009, but by October 28, they were grieving parents instead, as their baby had died of numerous  Zoloft birth defects. The couple has now filed a Zoloft birth defects lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, blaming manufacturer Pfizer for their newborn’s death.

“Pfizer failed to adequately warn or remedy the risks,” states the Zoloft birth defects lawsuit, one of many seeking Zoloft lawsuit settlements, “but instead concealed, suppressed, and failed to disclose the dangers.”

Seeking Zoloft lawsuit settlements for heart defects

This latest Zoloft birth defects lawsuit is one of many filed around the country seeking Zoloft lawsuit settlements. In 2006 the FDA warned that popular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants like Zoloft (sertraline) may increase the risk of Zoloft birth defects, particularly persistent pulmonary hypertension of a newborn (PPHN), a serious and life-threatening lung condition. But what about plaintiffs seeking Zoloft lawsuit settlements for heart defects?

Ms. Peska’s newborn was diagnosed with a cluster of Zoloft birth defects, all affecting the heart. These included Tetralogy of Fallot, truncus arteriosus, ventricular septal defect, atrial septal defect, confluent branch pulmonary arteries, pulmonary valve atresia and other cardiopulmonary defects.

Looking at Zoloft birth defects of the heart

A number of different heart defects may form the basis for Zoloft lawsuit settlements. Tetralogy of Fallot is a problem with the heart’s structure that involves four heart defects, including ventricular septal defect (VSD). A VSD is a hole in the septum between the heart’s lower chambers, called the ventricles. An atrial septal defect (ASD) is similar, only it involves a hole in the upper heart chambers (atria), which can result in high blood pressure in the lungs. Both defects can cause difficulty breathing, heart palpitations and frequent respiratory infections.

A study published in the 2010 American Journal of Nursing linked SSRI antidepressants with heart defects, particularly septal heart defects. Another study by the Swedish National Registry of nearly 7,000 infants exposed to SSRIs found they almost doubled the risk for fetal heart defects.

Chances for a successful Zoloft birth defects lawsuit

It remains to be seen whether or not Ms. Peska and Mr. Day may receive the Zoloft lawsuit settlements they’re seeking. The FDA did warn about Zoloft birth defects in 2006, and it also warned about potential heart defects in 2005, though at that time the focus was on another SSRI antidepressant, Paxil (paroxetine). GlaxoSmithKline, Paxil’s manufacturer, has already paid out millions on settlements to parents of babies with birth defects.

Pfizer may find itself following in GlaxoSmithKline’s shoes, as there is scientific data supporting a link between SSRIs and Zoloft birth defects, particularly PPHN and septal heart defects. According to Ms. Peska’s Zoloft birth defects lawsuit, “Even in the face of numerous published studies, Pfizer continues to deny these dangers and will not revise its drug labeling.” Other families seeking Zoloft lawsuit settlements have stated the same, claiming that Pfizer had a responsibility to implement stronger warnings, continuing education, sales calls to doctors, and more to be sure mothers were aware of the risks. It will now be up to the courts to decide if the company indeed failed in its duty to the public.