As the active ingredient in several name brand antidepressants, bupropion is intended to assist in the treatment of major depressive disorders (MDDs) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Having been on the market for approximately 27 years, bupropion has established a successful track-record. However, recent evidence lends weight to the long-suspected link between bupropion and catastrophic complications. Pregnant women who receive bupropion treatment in the later stages of pregnancy may significantly increase the risk of their child developing severe, life-threatening birth defects.
If you or a loved one has given birth to a child with congenital abnormalities after taking bupropion, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free confidential case evaluation. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and we can help.
Bupropion Birth Defects Lawsuit Overview
Introduced into interstate commerce as an entirely new molecular entity, bupropion was distributed throughout the United States for the first time on December 30, 1985. At the same time it was released, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of bupropion to assist in the treatment of depression and seasonal affective disorder. Certain prescriptions containing bupropion are also indicated for smoking cessation treatment.
Bupropion is unique, in that it is capable of initiating a distinct mechanism of action. Bupropion is in a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, (SSRIs). As an SSRI, bupropion increases the levels of serotonin in the brain by prohibiting reabsorption of the chemical. The increased ratio of serotonin is believed to influence certain aspects of an individual’s mood by coming into contact with local nerve receptors. Though the mechanism of action remains ambiguous to the medical community, it is believed that increased levels of serotonin are responsible for treating the symptoms associated with major depressive disorders and generalized anxiety disorders.
While the mechanism of action exhibited by bupropion has proven beneficial in the treatment of such disorders, it is not without concern. Recent studies suggest that the use of SSRI antidepressants may be responsible for the development of a distinct set of anatomical birth defects. Pregnant women who receive bupropion treatment may significantly increase the risk of their child developing severe, life-threatening birth defects. One study in particular suggests that the use of Bupropion in the later stages of pregnancy may drastically increase the risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), a potentially fatal condition. Due to the severity of such complications, families may contact a lawyer at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP for a free case evaluation regarding their potential bupropion birth defects lawsuit.
Bupropion Birth Defects
Bupropion has been associated with the following birth defects:
- Atrial Septal Defects
- Ventricular Septal Defects
- Ebstein’s Anomaly
- Mitral Valve Defects
- Transposition of the Great Arteries
- Tetralogy of Fallot
- Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS)
- Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome (HRHS)
- Tricuspid Valve Stenosis
- Tricuspid Atresia
- Aortic Stenosis
- Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
- Coarctation of the Aorta
- Truncus Arteriosus
- Heart Murmur
- Pulmonary Stenosis
- Pulmonary Atresia
- Gastroschisis – abdominal wall defect
- Esophageal Stenosis
- Esophageal Atresia
- Anal Atresia
- Spina Bifida
- Heart Malformations
- Neural Tube Defects
- Hand Deformations
- Cleft Lip
- Cleft Palate
- Fetal Death
- Growth Restriction
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)
- Mental Retardation
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Down’s Syndrome
- Dandy Walker Syndrome
- Undescended Testicles
- Cloacal Exstrophy
Due to the severity of these complications, families may contact a lawyer at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP for a free case evaluation regarding their potential bupropion birth defects lawsuit.
Bupropion Birth Defects Study
In order for the medical community to better understand the association between SSRIs such as bupropion and corresponding birth defects, researchers conducted a multinational cohort study. The expansive study witnessed researchers collect data on more than 1.6 million births, as to determine the effects of specific SSRIs.
Data was acquired from several registries in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, or Sweden between 1996 and 2007. Looking at medical birth registries, prescription registries, and cause of death registries within those dates, researchers were able to determine a distinct pattern between specific SSRIs and their corresponding birth defects. Fluoxetine, citalopram, bupropion, fluvoxamine, and escitalopram were the most common SSRIs acknowledged in the registries. Subsequently, these generics can be found in popular name brand SSRI antidepressants such as Celexa, Prozac,Lexapro, and Symbyax.
A total of 1,618,255 individual registries were reviewed, each of which were from the aforementioned countries. Of those children, 11,014 were exposed to SSRIs late in pregnancy while their mother received antidepressant treatment. Among the 11,014 children that were exposed to the variety of SSRI antidepressants, 33 were diagnosed with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn. Subsequently, similar tests acknowledged another 32 children diagnosed with PPHN after being exposed to SSRIs early in pregnancy.
Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn is a rare condition and the absolute risk for the development of this complication in infants exposed to SSRIs was as low as three out of every 1,000 live births. However, the risk of PPHN associated with exposure late in pregnancy is significantly higher. Pregnant women who receive SSRI antidepressant treatment late in pregnancy may increase their risk of having a child with PPHN by more than two times.
As its name suggests, persistent pulmonary hypertension is directly correlated to the circulatory system. PPHN is the direct result of a newborn’s circulation system being unable to adapt to breathing outside of the womb. While in the womb, the fetus obtains oxygen from the placenta through the umbilical cord. High blood pressure in the lungs forces the blood through the pulmonary artery to the other organs via a fetal blood vessel, called the ductus arteriosus.
Subsequently, after a child is born, the blood pressure in their lungs plummets significantly. The lowered blood pressure causes a drastic spike in blood flow to the lungs. After exchanging oxygen for carbon monoxide, the blood is then returned to the heart and pumped back out to the body. The ductus arteriosus constricts and permanently closes in the first day of life. However, in babies with PPHN, the pressure in the lungs remains high and the ductus arteriosus remains open, allowing blood to be directed away from the lungs. This creates a lack of oxygenated blood flow throughout the body while simultaneously creating other severe complications.
Bupropion Heart Defects
Unfortunately, bupropion treatment has been associated with several defects that affect the heart as well. It is believed that the pharmacodynamics of bupropion may impede the growth of a health heart. The severity of many congenital heart defects is directly correlated to the anatomical defect itself. Often times, small abnormalities may prove to be insignificant and correct themselves over time. However, severe defects may lead to a number of catastrophic complications. More often than not, congenital heart defects can significantly disrupt the flow of blood through the circulatory system. As a result, the blood is unable to acquire the necessary amount of oxygen from the lungs to disperse throughout the body. Subsequently, the body’s demand for oxygen is not met and the individual may suffer fatal circumstances if the problem is not addressed.
Do I Have a Bupropion Birth Defects Lawsuit?
The trial lawyers at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP have decades of experience navigating through complex legislative and regulatory issues and litigating high stakes cases all over the nation. Our law firm focuses on the representation of plaintiffs in bupropion birth defects lawsuits. We are currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
Again, if you or a loved one has given birth to a child with congenital abnormalities after taking bupropion, you should contact our lawyers immediately by clicking the link below or calling toll free 1-(949) 557-5800. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and we can help.