Prozac (generic: fluoxetine) is an antidepressant medication intended for the treatment and prevention of several behavioral disorders. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved of the use of Prozac to treat major depressive disorders and generalized anxiety in adults. However, while Prozac displays a unique propensity to treat symptoms of depression and anxiety, it has also become synonymous with catastrophic complications. Pregnant women who receive Prozac treatment may significantly increase their risk of giving birth to a child with a distinct set of severe, life-threatening birth defects.
If you or a loved one has given birth to a child with birth defects that you feel may be the result of taking Prozac during pregnancy, you should contact our lawyersimmediately for a free confidential case evaluation. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and we can help.
Prozac Lawsuit Overview
Arguably the most popular antidepressant to ever be sold in the United States, Prozac has established itself as one of the most popular drugs the world has ever seen. As a product of Eli Lilly & Co., Prozac was introduced into interstate commerce in 1987 as an antidepressant that promised to trump all of those that came before it. After receiving the appropriate approval from the FDA, approximately 80 million people world wide filed for a prescription. It is estimated that one out of every 10 Americans is prescribed an antidepressant, with the vast majority opting for Eli Lilly’s Prozac. While Celexa, Lexapro, Luvox and Zoloft are popular in their own right, they are nowhere close to the magnitude of sales that Prozac has established.
Fluoxetine, the active ingredient found in Prozac, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). As an SSRI, fluoxetine 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 Prozac may also be responsible for a variety of congenital birth defects with varying degrees of severity. Subsequently, pregnant women who receive Prozac 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 in which these birth defects harm children, patients may contact a Prozac lawyer at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP for a free case evaluation of their potential Prozac lawsuit.
Prozac Birth Defects
The following is a comprehensive list of birth defects linked to the use of Prozac 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
- Down’s Syndrome
- Dandy Walker Syndrome
- Undescended Testicles
- Cloacal Exstrophy
Due to the severity of these birth defects, patients may contact a lawyer at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP for a free case evaluation of their potential Prozac lawsuit.
Prozac Heart Defects
Unfortunately, many of the birth defects associated with Prozac treatment interfere with the development of the heart. It is believed that the pharmacodynamics of Prozac 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.
SSRI Pregnancy Risk
PPHN is a rare but extremely serious condition in which a newborn’s arteries to the lungs remain constricted after delivery, limiting the amount of blood flow to the lungs and therefore the amount of oxygen into the bloodstream. Sadly, 10 to 20 percent of infants with PPHN will end up dying even if they receive treatment for the condition. A 2006 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) found a sixfold increased risk of PPHN in infants born to mothers who took an SSRI antidepressant in the last trimester of pregnancy.
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.
FDA SSRI Warning
In 2004, the FDA issued a warning against the use of certain antidepressants for pregnant women. The warning stated that doctors may want to taper expecting mothers off antidepressant medications in the third trimester to reduce the risk of congenital birth defects. However, recent studies suggest that women treating depression with SSRI’s like Prozac as early as the first trimester of pregnancy may still have an impact on the unborn child. Unfortunately, this means many women may be unaware that they are pregnant while on a prescribed Prozac treatment regiment. As a result, women may be unintentionally subjecting their child to these unnecessary risks of congenital birth defects. Due to the severity of these birth defects, patients may contact a lawyer at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP for a free case evaluation of their potential Prozac lawsuit.
Do I Have a Prozac 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 Prozac 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 birth defects that you feel may be the result of taking Prozac during pregnancy, 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.