Zoloft Birth Defects Named in Lawsuits
The FDA approved the antidepressant Zoloft in 1991. Manufactured by Pfizer, Zoloft is known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), a common type of antidepressant that blocks the reabsorption of the “feel-good” neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. The result is a greater amount of serotonin, which seems to help boost mood.
In 2006, however, scientific studies linked Zoloft and other SSRI medications with birth defects, along with an increased risk of stillborn births and miscarriages. Parents of children who were born with heart defects, craniosynostosis, abdominal defects, and more often seek the advice of a Zoloft lawyer, who can help guide them through the process of filing a Zoloft birth defects lawsuit.
Zoloft birth defects include PPHN
In July 2006, the FDA released an informational update concerning Zoloft (sertraline) and persistent pulmonary hypertension of a newborn (Zoloft PPHN). This condition results when the baby’s circulation system fails to adapt to breathing outside the womb, resulting in high blood pressure in the lungs. A report in the New England Journal of Medicine found that infants born to mothers who took SSRI antidepressants after the 20th week of pregnancy were six times more likely to have PPHN than infants born to mothers who did not take antidepressants during pregnancy.
About five years later, on December 14, 2011, the FDA issued an updated drug safety communication reporting that their review of new study results showed conflicting results regarding Zoloft birth defects, specifically PPHN. They added, “…the potential risk with SSRI use during pregnancy remains unknown.”
Zoloft lawyer familiar with heart and abdominal defects
Many parents have filed a Zoloft lawsuit claiming heart defects. In 2007, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study linking the use of Zoloft during pregnancy to omphalocele, a condition in which some of the abdominal organs remain outside the abdomen.
Another 2007 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that women taking SSRIs in the first trimester had an increased risk of anencephaly—a birth defect in which the baby is born without a forebrain. The same study also showed an increased risk of craniosynostosis, a condition in which the bones of the infant’s skull fail to close.
More studies show Zoloft heart defects
In 2009, the British Medical Journal published a study concluding that mothers taking an SSRI during pregnancy were at an increased risk of septal heart defects. Zoloft in particular was associated with an increased risk of congenital heart defects. The study also indicated that taking antidepressants during the third trimester can lead to preterm births.
Parents seeking the advice of a Zoloft lawyer may also claim their children suffer from Zoloft birth defects like spina bifida, club foot, and other types of heart defects.
Each Zoloft lawsuit consolidated in federal court
On April 12, 2012, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated each federal Zoloft lawsuit into one court in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.