Lexapro (generic: escitalopram) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment and prevention of major depressive disorders and generalized anxiety disorders. As a viable treatment option, Lexapro has been prescribed to approximately 18 million adults in the United States. However, recent studies suggest that Lexapro treatment may coincide with severe, life-threatening complications. Women who take Lexapro during pregnancy may elevate their risk of giving birth to a child with a distinct set of birth defects.
If you or a loved one has given birth to a child with a birth defect after taking Lexapro while pregnant, 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.
Lexapro Lawsuit Overview
As a product of Forest Laboratories, Lexapro was developed with the intentions of repressing major depressive episodes in adults. Along with major depressive disorders, the FDA also saw fit to approve the antidepressant for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorders after it demonstrated sufficient success rates in pre-marketing tests.
Escitalopram, the active ingredient found in Lexapro, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). As an SSRI, escitalopram is believed to influence specific aspects of an individual’s mood by increasing the ratio of serotonin in the brain. While the chemical reactions associated with mood disorders remain ambiguous, it is widely recognized that chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) facilitate communication between nerve cells in the brain and are involved in regulating many aspects of behavior. Subsequently, these neurotransmitters have a significant role in the development of mood disorders. Therefore, SSRIs are specifically designed to block the reabsorption of serotonin in the brain. In doing so, larger amounts of serotonin are able to stimulate nerve cells and influence the mood of an individual.
Unfortunately, the pharmacodynamics of Lexapro may also be responsible for a variety of congenital birth defects with varying degrees of severity. Subsequently, pregnant women who receive Lexapro treatment may significantly increase their risk of giving birth to a child with distinct set of severe, life-threatening anatomical defects. Due to the severity of these birth defects, patients may contact a Lexapro lawyer at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP for a free case evaluation of their potential Lexapro lawsuit.
Lexapro Birth Defects
The following is a comprehensive list of the birth defects that have recently been associated with Lexapro treatment during pregnancy:
- 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
NEJM Birth Defects Study
An article published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) has acknowledged a variety of conditions with varying degrees of severity that have been associated with Lexapro treatment. The 2006 article includes a study conducted by Christina Chambers that identifies several birth defects that may result from the use of SSRI medications during pregnancy. Though additional risks may have been attributed to Lexapro use, the article focused on a specific birth defect known as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN).
The 2006 study included infants who had already been diagnosed with PPHN, a condition synonymous with catastrophic complications. Approximately two children out of every 1000 live births in the U.S. develop PPHN. Though this condition is rare, it must be surgically addressed to avoid dangerous side effects. According to Chambers’ study, PPHN was six times more common in babies whose mothers took an SSRI antidepressant after the 20th week of the pregnancy compared to babies whose mothers did not take an antidepressant. The association between Lexapro and pregnancy, regarding severe birth defects remains a subject of great concern in the healthcare community.
According to a similar study published in the British Medical Journal, women who take SSRI antidepressants late in pregnancy are two times more likely to give birth to a child with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn.
Lexapro Birth Defects Liability
If you were prescribed Lexapro during pregnancy and have a child with a birth defect, you may have a case. Claims of this kind can be made against the prescribing physician or the manufacturer of the medication. To date, there have been a number of class action lawsuits against manufacturers of SSRIs which claim that patients did not receive adequate warnings of the risks of birth defects prior to being prescribed the medications.
Do I Have a Lexapro 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 Lexapro 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 a birth defect after taking Lexapro while pregnant, 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.