Zoloft is an antidepressant that falls into the category of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The drug has been linked to a number of potentially serious Zoloft birth defects, including Zoloft craniosynostosis. Although specific causes of this skull abnormality have not been pinpointed, studies have associated this defect with Zoloft use.
Craniosynostosis is a birth defect that causes the sutures in an infant’s skull to close earlier than normal. The typical skull of an unborn baby consists of different bony plates held together by sutures, in order to accommodate brain development in utero. As the newborn develops and grows, those sutures gradually fuse together, forming a single bony structure known as the skull.
Impact of Zoloft craniosynostosis on newborns
In the case of craniosynostosis, those sutures close prior to the completion of brain development. This can impact normal brain growth and result in asymmetrical head shape and facial features. If not corrected, severe cases of craniosynostosis can lead to developmental delays, seizures and increasing pressure on certain areas of the brain.
Research suggests that mothers who take Zoloft while pregnant are at much higher risk of having a baby born with birth defects like craniosynostosis. One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that infants exposed to SSRIs like Zoloft while in the womb were twice as likely to be diagnosed with craniosynostosis as the control group.
Accurate diagnosis of Zoloft side effects essential
When a newborn suffers from birth defects, it is essential to get an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment as soon as possible. This can avoid potential developmental delays and other complications from occurring. The first step is recognizing the symptoms of craniosynostosis, which include:
- Misshapen head or asymmetrical facial features
- Bulging fontanel (soft spot at the top of the skull)
- Sleepiness and irritability
- Poor feeding
- Developmental delays
These symptoms should be addressed by a physician as soon as possible. Treatment for craniosynostosis often involves surgery to reduce pressure and correct skull and facial abnormalities.
Zoloft side effects and legal action
Mothers who took SSRIs during pregnancy unknowingly exposed their unborn children to the risk of birth defects. In addition to craniosynostosis, babies have been born with heart defects, limb abnormalities and a potentially life-threatening condition known as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN).
Parents of infants injured by Zoloft have consulted an experienced Zoloft lawyer to determine their eligibility for legal action.