Personal Injury

Antidepressants – Dangers During Pregnancy Explained

Issue: Birth defects in infants

Zoloft, Celexa, Wellbutrin, Paxil and Other Antidepressants Taken Before and During Pregnancy Can Lead to Birth Defects Including Heart, Spine, Brain, and Facial Defects

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Antidepressants and SSRIs (an abbreviation of “Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors”) are commonly prescribed to treat depression, anxiety, and certain personality disorders. They include drugs like Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Celexa, Paxil, Lexapro, Prozac, Fluvoxamine, and Symbyax.

Antidepressant Birth Defect Risks Explained

When taken by pregnant women, these drugs can enter the fetal bloodstream. Certain SSRIs and other antidepressants have been associated with serious birth defects and other risks, including the rare, but life-threatening, condition of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). Babies with PPHN have extremely high pressure in their lung blood vessels and are not able to get enough oxygen into their bloodstream.

Medical Research Linking Birth Defects and SSRIs

In 2007, the British Medical Journal published a study finding that certain SSRI anti-depressants taken during pregnancy were associated with 3.25 times the risk of heart defects, including arterial and ventricular septal defects, compared to babies not exposed to SSRIs.

Earlier, in 2006, the journal Epidemiology published a study finding that SSRIs taken during the second and third months of pregnancy were linked to a two-times risk of congenital malformations (including septal heart defects) compared to babies not exposed to SSRIs.

Little is known about the impact of exposure to antidepressants during pregnancy and the long term mental development of children. However, a 2010 study found that mothers prescribed bupropion (often sold under the brand names Wellbutrin and an antidepressant drug chemically different than other SSRIs) have an increased risk of being diagnosed with ADHD.

Septal Heart Defects

The septum is a wall of tissue which separates the left heart from the right heart. Defects in the interatrial septum (the wall of tissue between the heart’s two upper chambers) or the interventricular septum (the wall of tissue between the heart’s lower two chambers) allow blood to flow from the left side of the heart to the right, reducing the heart’s efficiency. Depending on the extremity of the defect, the condition can be extremely serious, even fatal.

Septal heart defects

Contact Lieff Cabraser

Parents of a baby with pulmonary hypertension, heart malformation or other birth defects whose mother took SSRIs or other anti-depressant drugs while pregnant are welcome to use the form below to contact our law firm to learn about your rights. You may be eligible to file a claim against the manufacturer of the anti-depressant drug prescribed during pregnancy to obtain compensation for the injury inflicted on your baby.

We have successfully represented parents across America whose child developed a dangerous medical condition or was born with birth defects caused by dangerous prescription drugs.

Alternatively, you may call us toll-free at 1 (800) 541-7358 and ask to speak to attorney Fabrice Vincent. We also welcome inquiries from counsel considering referring a case. Lieff Cabraser has strong relations with the plaintiffs’ bar across the U.S.

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Please tell us which antidepressant (SSRI or SNRI or other) you were taking:

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Trademark Information

Paxil and Wellbutrin are trademarks of GlaxoSmithKline. The bottle image is a representation of a Paxil prescription bottle used strictly for informational purposes and for which Lieff Cabraser does not claim ownership. Lieff Cabraser is not affiliated with GlaxoSmithKline.

Zoloft is a trademark of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and is used for informational and product identification purposes only. Lieff Cabraser is not affiliated with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.

Fluvoxamine is a trademark of Abbott Products, Inc. and is used for informational and product identification purposes only. Lieff Cabraser is not affiliated with Abbott Products, Inc.

Celexa and Lexapro are trademarks of Forest Laboratories, Inc. and are used for informational and product identification purposes only. Lieff Cabraser is not affiliated with Forest Laboratories, Inc.

Prozac and Symbyax are trademarks of Eli Lilly and are used for informational and product identification purposes only. Lieff Cabraser is not affiliated with Eli Lilly.

Nothing on this website has been authorized or approved by any of these companies.

By Wendy Fleishman