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Antidepressant Birth Defects

Antidepressants such as Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, Lexapro, Celexa and Effexor have been linked to an increased risk of heart defects and other birth defects when taken during pregnancy. The Food and Drug Administration has issued multiple warnings about the risk of birth defects associated with these antidepressants—known collectively as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

In July 2006, the FDA warned that women who use SSRIs after the 20th week of pregnancy were six times more likely than non-users to give birth to a child with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). PPHN is a serious circulatory condition caused by the failure of a fetal blood vessel known as the ductus arteriosus to close after a baby is born. PPHN can cause serious physical and developmental problems in the newborn, and may be fatal.

Two studies published by the New England Journal of Medicine in June 2007 identified an increased risk of birth defects other than PPHN in children whose mothers used SSRI antidepressants such as Zoloft during pregnancy. Researchers found that SSRI users were more likely than those who did not take antidepressants to give birth to children with other heart defects such as ventricular outflow tract obstruction defects, hypoplastic left heart syndrome and septal defects, including atrial or ventricular septal defects.

The use of SSRIs by pregnant women was also associated with an increased risk of craniosynostosis, anencephaly, clubfoot, limb-reduction defects, anal atresia, diaphragmatic hernia and omphalocele. Individual SSRIs were also linked to a risk of neural-tube defects, cleft lip, cleft palate, pyloric stenosis and other birth defects.

If you or a loved one used antidepressants during pregnancy and gave birth to a child with heart defects or other birth defects, you make qualify to file a lawsuit. For a free legal consultation, contact the lawyers at Hissey Kientz, LLP by calling toll-free at 1-866-275-4454, or by filling out the free case evaluation form located on this page.

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