Antidepressant Drug Zoloft Allegedly Causes Birth Defects
The use of antidepressant medication is a big business in America. Thousands of prescriptions are written each year. Such medication, when used under the guidance of a mental health professional, may relieve depression symptoms, but antidepressants also have significant side effects and dangers. The following outlines one example.
In Antidepressants: The Good And Bad News
January 2013, a Kentucky woman filed a lawsuit against Pfizer, the manufacturer of the antidepressant drug Zoloft, alleging that her child was born with severe birth defects caused by the drug, which she took during her pregnancy in 2006. Her son, born in February 2007, received treatments for life-threatening medical conditions, including heart surgery.
The lawsuit alleged that Pfizer knew in 2006 that there was a risk of harm to babies born of mothers who took Zoloft during pregnancy, but failed to warn their patients of this harm. It also alleged that Pfizer urged pregnant women not to discontinue taking Zoloft during their pregnancy, claiming that there would be serious side effects for such discontinuance and that the risk of discontinuance was greater than the risk of birth defects. The woman claimed that she would not have taken the drug if she had been properly warned.
The Kentucky lawsuit is only one of more than 250 suits that have been filed against Pfizer arising out of the relationship between birth defects and the taking of Zoloft taken during pregnancy. The lawsuits are seeking damages for the children’s future medical care, and are also seeking punitive damages due to the manufacturer’s alleged failure to warn about a known potential harm.
Due to the number of lawsuits, most of them have been have been classified as multi-district litigation and have been consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The first trial is scheduled to start in September 2014.
According to recent studies, as reported on YOUBLOG.com, there is in fact an increased risk of birth defects (including heart and lung conditions, spina bifida, hydrocephalus, cleft palate, and other problems) in babies with mothers who took Zoloft during pregnancy. Some babies have died shortly after birth.
Sometimes, the defect is not apparent at birth, but, as the child grows, developmental delays are discovered. Despite the medical evidence and the number of suits that have been filed, the drug has not been recalled and is still on the market.
What To Do
If you have taken Zoloft and you (or your child) suffer from side effects, you may be able to file a lawsuit against its manufacturer and win damages to get the medical care that you need.
The first step is to consult an attorney with experience in this area of law, who can best determine your legal options.