Zoloft (generic: sertraline) is a unique antidepressant medication that is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). However, recent studies suggest that Zoloft may be responsible for the development of catastrophic birth defects. Subsequently, pregnant women who receive Zoloft treatment may significantly increase their risk of giving birth to a child with 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 Zoloft 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.
Zoloft Lawsuit Overview
As a product of Pfizer, Zoloft was introduced to the U.S. market on December 30, 1991. Following regulatory actions taken by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Zoloft was approved to assist in the treatment of major depressive disorders and generalized bouts of anxiety.
Sertraline, the active ingredient found in Zoloft, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). As an SSRI, sertraline 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 SSRI medications may also be responsible for a variety of birth defects with varying degrees of severity. Subsequently, a distinct set of birth defects has recently been associated with the use of Zoloft. Pregnant women who receive Zoloft treatment may significantly increase their risk of giving birth to a child with a severe, life-threatening birth defect.
Zoloft Birth Defects
The following is a comprehensive list of Zoloft 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 severe nature of these birth defects, patients may contact a lawyer at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP for a free case evaluation of their potential Zoloft lawsuit.
PPHN is a serious and life-threatening lung condition that occurs soon after the birth of the newborn. Children born with PPHN have a propensity to exhibit extremely high pressure in their lung blood vessels and are not able to get enough oxygen into their bloodstream. While relatively uncommon in the medical field, PPHN is severe in nature. This life-threatening condition affects approximately two out of every 1000 babies born in North America. Recent studies, over the past five years, suggest that the use of SSRI antidepressants like Zoloft may increase the risk of a child being born with this catastrophic condition. Signs and symptoms of PPHN include (but are not limited to):
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Respiratory distress
- Heart murmur
- Low oxygen levels
According to an FDA Health Advisory, an article published in a 2006 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) suggests that pregnant women who receive SSRI antidepressant treatment may be six times more likely to give birth to a child with PPHN.
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.
Unfortunately, about ten percent of babies born with PPHN die, while others require long-term medical treatment in order to survive. Even moderate cases of PPHN can still cause significant hearing loss, brain damage, seizures, developmental and / or neurological problems.
Zoloft Heart Defects
Unfortunately, many of the birth defects associated with Zoloft treatment interfere with the development of the heart. It is believed that the pharmacodynamics of Zoloft 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.
FDA SSRI Warning
Recent studies suggest that women treating depression with SSRI’s like Zoloft 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 Zoloft 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 Zoloft lawsuit.
Do I Have a Zoloft 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 Zoloft 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 Zoloft 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.