In the United States, 11 percent of Americans age 12 and over take antidepressant medications. The use of these drugs has increased almost 400 percent since the late 1980s, and women are 2 ½ times as likely as men to take antidepressant drugs.
Unfortunately, some of the most popular antidepressant medications can have serious potential side effects, especially for women who are pregnant. The medications, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), have been linked to potentially fatal side effects in infants exposed to the drugs while in the womb.
If you or a loved one took SSRI medications while pregnant and your child was born with a birth defect, the drug company may be held responsible. Contact Michigan Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how to pursue a claim against the antidepressant manufacturer for the harm done to your child.
Antidepressant Birth Defect Risks
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors work to fight depression by correcting a chemical imbalance that causes low serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin has been linked to feelings of happiness and positivity, and SSRIs boost levels of serotonin by blocking the brain from reabsorbing it.
The class of SSRI medications includes well-known antidepressant drugs including Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac and Paxil, all of which are widely prescribed to patients including pregnant women. Unfortunately, studies have demonstrated that these drugs significantly increase the risk of certain birth defects. For example, an infant exposed to SSRI drugs in utero:
- Has six times the risk of developing persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn
- Has five times the risk of clubfoot
- Has three times the risk of omphalocele
- Has three times the risk of pulmonary artesia
- Has 2 ½ times the risk of anencephaly
- Has 2 ½ times the risk of craniosynostosis
- Has a 30 percent increased chance of gastroschisis
- Has a 30 percent increased chance of esophageal artesia
- Has a 60 percent increased chance of spina bifida
- Has an 80 percent chance of a diaphragmatic hernia
The Food and Drug Administration has issued safety communications regarding the risks of SSRI drugs for pregnant women. In December 2012, the FDA warned that SSRIs had been linked to persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN); however, the FDA advised that studies had been inconclusive regarding the extent of the increased danger to infants.
Taking Legal Action for SSRI Birth Defects
Mothers whose children were born with SSRI birth defects after exposure to antidepressants during pregnancy have already begun to take legal action against drug manufacturers. Drug companies have a duty to warn patients of the dangers of SSRI drugs and may have failed to provide adequate information to pregnant women that would allow them to make an informed choice about the risk of the drugs for their babies.
Plaintiffs will need to prove that the SSRI medications were the direct cause of harm to their babies, but do not need to prove that the drug manufacturer was negligent in order to recover compensation for losses. Injured victims affected by SSRI birth defects can also pursue a claim based on design defects and failure to warn. A birth defects lawyer can help families affected by antidepressant medications understand their best option for obtaining compensation.
Contact an Antidepressant Birth Defects Attorney Today
At Michigan Injury Lawyers, our attorneys have extensive experience helping injured patients stand up to the big drug companies and get the compensation they deserve. Contact us to speak with an antidepressant birth defects lawyer and learn more about how we can help with your case.