Paxil belongs to a family of antidepressant medications known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Other mood-enhancing drugs in this group include Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, and Prozac. SSRI medications have been linked to a number of dangerous side effects, including addiction, suicide, and birth defects in children whose mothers took drugs such as Paxil while pregnant.
Paxil lawsuit settlements
GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Paxil, has paid out over $1 billion in Paxil lawsuit settlements. According to reports, in 2010 the company set aside an additional $1.4 billion to cover future settlement payouts.
In 2003, over 1,500 Paxil lawsuit plaintiffs had their cases consolidated into federal multidistrict litigation (MDL). Plaintiffs in these cases sought damages for withdrawl symptoms resulting frorm Paxil addiction, which included anxiety and involuntary movements.
More recently, thousands of plaintiffs, represented by a Paxil lawyer, have filed lawsuits alleging that their newborns suffer from Paxil birth defects. Cases making these claims have been centralized for coordinated management as a mass tort in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Mass tort Paxil trials in Philadelphia are currently scheduled through April, 2012.
Paxil birth defects
A number of Paxil birth defects have formed the basis of a Paxil lawsuit, including:
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension in the Newborn (PPHN)
- Heart Defects
- Abdominal Birth Defects
- Cranial Birth Defects
- Neural Tube Defects
- Limb Abnormalities
Some of these Paxil birth defects require surgery to repair, while others might result in an extended hospital stay after the baby is born. In rare cases, Paxil birth defects may even be life-threatening, requiring emergency care after birth.
FDA warns mothers of risk of Paxil birth defects
In 2005, the FDA issued a warning stating that the incidence of birth defects, particularly heart defects, was higher in children of women who used Paxil during pregnancy. Prior to the warning, the FDA reviewed two studies that showed the incidence of heart defects in newborns was 1 ½ to two times higher in women who took Paxil while pregnant.
However, conflicting studies since that time have resulted in the FDA’s revision of their original warning, which now states that women on SSRI antidepressants who become pregnant should not necessarily stop their medication.
Patients reach out to Paxil lawyers
Parents who have infants suffering from Paxil birth defects have consulted an experienced Paxil lawyer to determine their eligibility for filing a lawsuit to obtain compensation for their child’s injuries and medical bills. Paxil lawsuit plaintiffs allege that they were unaware of the risks associated with the drug, since GlaxoSmithKline downplayed the dangers of taking the drug while pregnant.
Paxil birth defects like heart malformations are typically associated with use of the drug during the first trimester of pregnancy.