Since the 1980s, the use of antidepressant medications has increased almost 400 percent. Today, 11 percent of all Americans over the age of 12 take medication to treat depression, with many using SSRI drugs. Many of these individuals are women, as women are 2 ½ times more likely than men to take antidepressants.
Unfortunately, women taking SSRI drugs face serious complications if they become pregnant and take the medications throughout their pregnancies, especially during the first trimester. Women were not adequately warned about the harm that SSRIs could do to their babies, and many have filed lawsuits to pursue damage claims after the medications caused their children to be born with birth defects. Carey, Danis & Lowe can represent you if you or your family members have suffered complications from SSRI medications.
Understanding SSRIs and Birth Defect Dangers
SSRI medications include Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro, and Celexa. The medications work by correcting a chemical imbalance in the brain that leads to low levels of serotonin. SSRIs block the brain from reabsorbing serotonin, which has been linked to feelings of positivity and happiness.
When an infant is exposed to SSRI medications in the womb, however, this results in:
- Up to three times the chance of a cardiac defect, usually an aterial or ventrical septal defect
- Six times the chances of PPHN (persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn)
- Five times the chances of being born with clubfoot
- Three times the chances of omphalocele and/or pulmonary artesia
- Two-and-a-half times the chances of anencephaly and/or craniosynostosis
- Three times the chances of a neural tube defect such as spina bifida
- Two-and-a-half times the chances of a cleft lip or cleft palate
The Food and Drug Administration has acknowledged the link between SSRIs and PPHN. While the FDA indicated that research was inconclusive on proving this link definitively, it did issue a safety communication in December of 2012 warning pregnant women of the possible dangers of SSRIs on fetuses.
Getting Legal Help with a Dangerous Drug Case in St. Louis
Women who took SSRIs during their first trimester and who gave birth to children with any of these birth defects should speak with an attorney. Drug manufacturers are held accountable for the consequences of releasing defective or dangerous drugs on the market. Plaintiffs can pursue legal action based on the legal argument of strict liability, which says manufacturers are always responsible– regardless of negligence– when a consumer is harmed by using a product as intended. Manufacturers of SSRIs could also be held legally liable based on other legal arguments including failure to provide adequate warnings of side effects.
Carey, Danis & Lowe has experience representing many families affected by SSRI birth defects and we can use our legal knowledge to help you pursue your damage claim. To learn more, contact us today to speak with a member of our legal team.
To learn more, please download our free SSRIs and Birth Defects in St. Louis report here.