Celexa and Craniosynostosis Side Effects

FDA warnings and Celexa side effect studies have indicated that Celexa use in pregnancy may be linked to the development of major side effects, particularly birth defects like craniosynostosis in exposed children. Celexa has been available in the U.S. since 1998 when the drug was FDA-approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder. Celexa (citalopram) belongs to a class of medications called SSRI antidepressants, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which function by restoring the balance of the neurotransmitter, serotonin, in the brain. By doing so, Celexa and other SSRI antidepressants can effectively relieve depression and improve certain mood disorders. Celexa is currently manufactured by drug company Forest Laboratories.

Despite the fact that Celexa is one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs on the U.S. market, studies have shown that this medication may no longer be considered safe, especially in the treatment of pregnant women or women of childbearing age. An emerging body of research has identified a potential connection between SSRI antidepressants like Celexa and serious side effects, like craniosynostosis. If you took Celexa while pregnant and your child was born with craniosynostosis or another severe side effect, contact a Celexa attorney to discuss your legal options.

Craniosynostosis Symptoms

Craniosynostosis is a serious birth defect in which a child's cranial sutures close earlier than normal, preventing the cranium from remaining flexible enough to allow for future brain growth. Cranial sutures are joints that separate the individual cranial bones, contributing to the elasticity of the skull. When one or more of these sutures closes prematurely, that part of the skull is unable to expand with brain growth, and results in a misshapen head. There are several different types of craniosynostosis, named for the type of sutures involved, including:

  • Sagittal synostosis – affects the main suture on the top of the head
  • Metopic synostosis – involves the suture close to the forehead
  • Frontal plagiocephaly – involves the suture that runs from ear to ear on top of the head

Regardless of the type of craniosynostosis, the main symptoms of this birth defect are a misshapen head, the absence of the fontanelle (soft spot on the head), a raised hard ridge along the affected sutures, and the failure of head size to increase over time.

Craniosynostosis Treatment and Complications

Craniosynostosis is a cranial birth defect which requires reconstructive surgery to correct. Craniosynostosis treatment is intended to relieve any excess pressure on the brain, restore the normal appearance of the child's head, and create enough room in the skull for future brain growth. With immediate diagnosis and prompt treatment, many children with craniosynostosis can make a full recovery. Unfortunately, if craniosynostosis is left untreated, it can become a permanent defect, leading to devastating complications like developmental delay, seizures and increased intracranial pressure.

FDA Warnings and Celexa Side Effect Studies

In 2006, the FDA issued a public health advisory warning patients and healthcare providers about the increased risk of a serious birth defect called PPHN in children exposed to SSRI antidepressants like Celexa in utero. This FDA warning was based on a study published earlier that year by the New England Journal of Medicine, in which researchers found a six-times increased risk of PPHN in children whose mothers took an SSRI drug like Celexa while pregnant. The following year, the NEJM published two additional studies in which researchers examined the adverse effects of fetal exposure to SSRI antidepressants like Celexa. According to one study, children born to women who took Celexa or another SSRI drug during pregnancy were more than twice as likely to develop catastrophic birth defects like craniosynostosis, omphalocele and anencephaly.

Celexa Use During Pregnancy

Celexa has been labeled by the FDA as a pregnancy category C medication, which means it has the potential to cause serious harm to a fetus when taken during pregnancy. If you are currently taking Celexa and you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consult your healthcare provider immediately. It may be dangerous to suddenly discontinue the use of a prescription drug, as this may cause further harm to you or your child. However, with your doctor's help, you may be able to find a safer way to treat your condition.

Celexa Attorneys for Side Effects

Craniosynostosis is a serious birth defect which can result in life-altering side effects for affected children. If you or a loved one has suffered from a craniosynostosis side effect which you believe to be linked to Celexa, contact a Celexa attorney to discuss the benefits of filing a Celexa lawsuit against Forest Laboratories. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, the medical expenses resulting from injury treatment, and the pain and suffering endured by you and your family. You are not at fault for any injuries caused by a dangerous pharmaceutical drug. Drug companies are responsible for the safety of their medications, and should be held liable for any adverse side effects sustained by consumers of their products. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. With the help of an experienced Celexa lawyer, victims of potential Celexa side effects can protect their rights and collect the compensation they deserve.

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