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Canadian Supreme Court classifies class action antidepressant case

December 7th, 2012

A Canadian Supreme Court has classified an antidepressant lawsuit against a drug maker as a class action, the first of its kind in Canada. The drug at the center of the lawsuit is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) in the same class as Zoloft, called Paxil.

Faith Gibson alleges in the Paxil lawsuit she was not warned that taking an SSRI such as Zoloft or Paxil during pregnancy could increase the risk of birth defects. Her daughter was born with a hole between the ventricular chambers of her heart. The Supreme Court ruled that the antidepressant lawsuit would cover any woman in Canada who gave birth to a child with birth defects under similar circumstances.

Several studies have found that SSRI antidepressants such as Zoloft can increase the risk of severe birth defects among children born to women who use the drug during pregnancy. Zoloft birth defects include persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), hypoplastic left heart syndrome, ventricular outflow tract obstruction defects, omphalocele, coarctation of the aorta, and other heart defects. Dozens of families in the United States have filed Zoloft lawsuits, alleging that their children were born with birth defects as a result of exposure to Zoloft during pregnancy.

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