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Zoloft Lawsuit

baby with Zoloft birth defects reaching through incubatorFor millions of women, the antidepressant Zoloft has provided much-needed relief from conditions like generalized anxiety disorder, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. The drug, which was approved by the FDA in 1999 and manufactured by drug maker Pfizer, is designed for the treatment of several mental health disorders and belongs to the class of drugs known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s).

Also known as sertraline, Zoloft has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years due to its possible correlation to the development of fetal birth defects, particularly if ingested in the first trimester. As a result, thousands of women have instigated Zoloft lawsuits against the drug maker for failing to properly warn patients as to the possibility that the drug could harm their child in utero.

Parents who believe their children suffered Zoloft side effects in utero are urged to speak with a product liability attorney at Eisbrouch & Marsh to review their options for legal recourse.

Prenatal antidepressant use in question

SSRI drugs have been on the U.S. market for decades, however only in recent years have experts begun to draw a link between the prenatal use of these powerful antidepressant drugs and resulting birth defects.

According to several studies and reports, the interaction between SSRI’s and a developing fetus can leave lasting, irreversible damage, including:

  • Clubfoot: A deformity of the feet, also known as congenital talipesequinovarus. This condition causes the feet to develop downward and usually requires extensive orthopedic corrective surgery
  • Heart Defects: Prenatal SSRI use is linked to the malformation of the fetal heart, missing chambers and holes in the heart. These conditions often require dangerous, potentially-fatal open-heart surgery on the newborn shortly after delivery
  • Omphalocele: An omphalocele is a sort of hernia in which the baby’s bodily organs form outside its body. This condition requires extensive corrective surgery and a lengthy recovery period
  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension in a Newborn: Known as PPHN, this condition is fatal in approximately 10 percent of newborns and leads to other disorders including rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, heart murmurs and respiratory distress

SSRI’s are also linked to malformed skulls, epilepsy, developmental delays, spina bifida and stillbirth. 

Zoloft and birth defects

Upon its introduction into the U.S. drug market, Zoloft did not carry any warnings with regard to use during pregnancy. In fact, tens of millions of prescriptions were filled before the FDA began to respond to the influx of complaints lodged by parents and obstetricians concerned about its effect on a developing fetus. As a result, the FDA classified the drug as a “Category C,” meaning it has shown an impact on the developing fetuses in animal studies.

While there are no current human studies available examining the prenatal use of Zoloft, certain correlations have emerged as a result of research upon women who unknowingly took the drug during pregnancy. In fact, women who take the drug during the 20th week of pregnancy and beyond are more likely to give birth to an infant with PPHN, heart defects and the fatal condition anencephaly.

In a 2006 retrospective study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 1,213 women were enrolled in the study in four separate cities between 1998 and 2003. Of the group, 377 women gave birth to infants with PPHN. The study revealed that infants born to mothers who were prescribed SSRI’s like Zoloft after the 20th week of gestation were six times more likely to give birth to a child with PPHN than those were did not take the drug. Interestingly, the study did not reveal an association between PPHN and prenatal SSRI use prior to the 20th week of pregnancy.

Seeking compensation for Zoloft side effects

Consumer product manufacturers, including prescription drug makers, are under an ongoing duty to warn the public if their product is dangerous or could cause harm. If a drug maker fails to warn patients about the potential risk for harm, it could face significant exposure to liability in the event the patient is injured by the product.

As an experienced Zoloft attorney at Eisbrouch & Marsh will explain more thoroughly, drug maker Pfizer may have failed to warn pregnant women of the possibility of birth defects due to the use of the SSRI – and those patients may be able to obtain compensation for their injuries and the harm to their child.

Parents whose children were diagnosed with birth defects after SSRI exposure may be able to obtain compensation not only for the actual costs of the child’s injury, treatment and ongoing care, but also for the pain, suffering and mental anguish associated with raising a child with a lifelong disability. 

Ongoing Zoloft litigation

Zoloft has been the subject of many legal complaints over the years, including several alleging a causal link between prenatal use and subsequent birth defects. Currently, Zoloft lawyers are tackling cases alleging atrial septal defects, orthopedic abnormalities, heart conditions and dozens of conditions present in plaintiffs’ children at birth. Hundreds of these Zoloft lawsuits have been consolidated pursuant to multidistrict litigation rules, which are designed to help streamline cases involving several hundred or thousand plaintiffs located across the nation.

Notably, several other SSRI drugs have been linked with birth defects as well, including Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, and Paxil. 

Filing a Zoloft lawsuit

If your child suffers from a birth defect and you took Zoloft while pregnant, we encourage you to make an appointment to speak with an attorney at Eisbrouch & Marsh. Our lawyers understand the delicate nature of birth defect litigation and offer compassionate representation with proven results.

To learn more about recovering compensation in a personal injury lawsuit, please call our office today at 201-342-5545.