Zoloft Heart Defects Lawsuit - SSSR Side Effects Pregnancy

Zoloft Heart Defects Lawsuit Added to Philadelphia MDL

Laura Woods | January 20th, 2014

Zoloft Heart Defects Lawsuit

A North Carolina mother has filed a Zoloft heart defects lawsuit against Pfizer Inc. She claims that taking the drug while pregnant caused her child to be born with multiple health issues including congenital birth defects, right foot deformities, a heart murmur, spinal defects, hip dysplasia, and other related conditions. The lawsuit will join the Zoloft multidistrict litigation (MDL) currently pending in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

In her claim, the plaintiff states her belief that Zoloft “is defective, dangerous to human health, unfit and unsuitable to be marketed and sold in commerce and lacked proper warnings as to the dangers associated with its use.” She took the drug as instructed by her physician and claims she never would’ve taken or been prescribed the drug if she knew of its danger to her unborn child.

Zoloft side effects during pregnancy

The child of the plaintiff was born with a variety of birth defects, including:

  • Congenital birth defects: A mere one percent of babies are born with congenital heart defects (CHD). Infants at high-risk for these conditions include those with mothers taking certain medications while pregnant. Common forms of CHD in early infancy include patent ductus arteriosus, tetralogy of fallot, transposition of the great vessels, coarctation of the aorta, hypoplastic heart, and heart value problems.
  • Right foot deformities: Congenital clubfoot is present in approximately 1 in 1,240 live births. This condition occurs when there is a slight imbalance in muscle forces in the lower leg, causing foot deformity. The foot is commonly “kidney-shaped.”
  • Heart murmur: A heart murmur is an unusual sound heard during a heartbeat. People with a heart murmur may have signs or symptoms of heart problems. Most abnormal murmurs in infants are caused by CHD present at birth.
  • Spinal defects: Spinal issues can be congenital. Common spinal defects in infants include infantile idiopathic scoliosis, congenital scoliosis, and spina bifida.
  • Hip dysplasia: The most common developmental hip deformity in children is characterized by a number of symptoms. This includes ligaments that are too loose, inadequate development of the hip socket, a shallow hip socket, or a hip socket tilted outward rather than assuming the normal horizontal position.

The plaintiff accuses the defendant of knowing that Zoloft could cause congenital birth defects, but purposely concealing the information from the FDA, the medical community, and patients.

“Prior to the time that the Parent Plaintiff ingested Zoloft during her pregnancy, Defendants knew of the dangerous birth defects associated with Zoloft’s use during pregnancy from the preclinical studies and the subsequent published studies confirming these risks,” states the claim. “[The] defendants took no action to adequately warn or remedy the risks, but instead, concealed, suppressed, and failed to disclose the dangers.”

Zoloft birth defects MDL

The plaintiff’s Zoloft heart defects lawsuit will join MDL 2342 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The Zoloft products liability multidistrict litigation was established on April 17, 2013 to centralize lawsuits during pre-trial proceedings in order to reduce the number of redundancies and help minimize court costs.

Plaintiffs who have filed claims against Pfizer believe taking Zoloft while pregnant caused their children to be born with serious birth defects. More than 420 lawsuits are currently joined together under the MDL, under the direction of Judge Cynthia M. Rufe, and that number is expected to increase.

  1. U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Combs v. Pfizer Inc., Et. Al http://www.paed.uscourts.gov/mdl2342.asp

  2. Boston Children’s Hospital, Congenital Heart Defects http://www.childrenshospital.org/health-topics/conditions/congenital-heart-defects

  3. Cleveland Clinic, Congenital Clubfoot http://my.clevelandclinic.org/orthopaedics-rheumatology/diseases-conditions/congenital-clubfoot.aspx

  4. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, What is a Heart Murmur? http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/heartmurmur/