Prozac, also known as fluoxetine, is a mood-altering SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) drug commonly prescribed to counteract depression, anxiety disorders, and panic disorders. Unlike other SSRIs, including Paxil and Zoloft, Prozac has been reported to induce euphoric states in some users, which can increase the likelihood of addiction, particularly in child patients.
Prozac has been on the U.S. market since 1987. Though its patent expired in 2001, the brand name drug, along with its generic versions, continues to be widely prescribed. In 2010, over 24.4 million prescriptions of generic fluoxetine were written in the U.S. alone.
In 2006, prompted by an FDA warning, drug maker Eli Lilly updated the Prozac label to indicate an increased in “suicidal thinking or behavior” in pediatric patients. That same year the FDA also issued a public safety warning indicating an increased risk for for Prozac birth defects, specifically for a heart and lung disorder called persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN).
In December 2011, the FDA qualified its previous warning, suggesting that new studies on SSRIs reported conflicting findings about the risks of birth defects.
Prozac side effects
Prozac has been linked to side effects ranging from insomnia and sexual dysfunction to addiction, suicide, and birth defects in children whose mothers took the drug during pregnancy.
Many patients who have experienced serious Prozac side effects, including Prozac birth defects, have consulted a lawyer to determine their eligibility to obtain compensation through the means of filing a Prozac lawsuit.
Prozac birth defects
One of the most serious Prozac birth defects is a condition known as persistent pulmonary hypertension in the newborn, or PPHN. PPHN occurs when a newborn’s lungs cannot properly pump oxygen into the bloodstream, resulting in hypertension (high blood pressure) and other potential complications after birth. Other Prozac birth defects include:
- Congenital Heart Defects
- Limb Malformations
- Abdominal Birth Defects
- Cranial Abnormalities
- Neural Tube Defects
In 2005, the FDA issued a warning about use of SSRIs during pregnancy, citing studies that show a higher incidence of congenital heart defects in the babies of women who took Prozac during the first three months of pregnancy.
Many mothers whose babies suffer from Prozac birth defects have chosen to file a Prozac lawsuit in hopes of gaining compensation for their child’s suffering and medical expenses.
At this time, there has not been a consolidation of Prozac litigation into a single court. However, litigation in regard to other SSRIs may provide a roadmap for future Prozac lawsuit filings. For example, settlements by GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturers of Paxil, which currently total more than $1 billion, may set the stage for future Prozac lawsuit settlements.