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California couple files Zoloft lawsuit after infant’s death

February 17th, 2012

A California couple has filed a Zoloft lawsuit against the drug’s manufacturer after the death of their infant daughter from congenital heart defects. Farah and Trevor Hartley allege that Pfizer withheld information that taking Zoloft during pregnancy could increase the risks of birth defects.

Farah Hartley took Zoloft while pregnant with her daughter Jasmine, alleging the company marketed the antidepressant as safe for pregnant women. The child was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and died waiting for a transplant, despite surgical attempts to save her.

Zoloft belongs to a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which have been found to increase the risks of birth defects when taken during pregnancy. A New England Journal of Medicine study found that women who take Zoloft or other SSRIs during pregnancy are twice as likely to give birth to a child with heart defects, including septal defects and persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn.

The Food and Drug Administration has issued several warning about the link between SSRIs such as Zoloft and an increased risk of birth defects. But despite this evidence, the agency has not announced plans to recall Zoloft or other SSRIs.

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