Effexor and Cleft Lip Side Effects

Effexor side effects like cleft lip may result in injury lawsuits being filed by patients. Contact an Effexor attorney to explore your compensation options.

Recent studies and FDA warnings have indicated that women who take certain antidepressant drugs during pregnancy may have a significantly increased risk of giving birth to children with serious birth defects, including cleft lip. Effexor has been on the market in the U.S. since 1993 and is FDA-approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder. Effexor (venlafaxine) belongs to a group of antidepressant drugs called SNRIs, or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, which function be preventing the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for controlling mood. Effexor is currently manufactured by drug company Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, which is a division of Pfizer, Inc. Despite the fact that SNRI drugs like Effexor are newer and have shown slightly more success in treating depression than the popular SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants, these drugs may no longer be considered safe, especially in the treatment of pregnant women. If you took Effexor while pregnant and your child was born with a side effect like cleft lip, contact an Effexor attorney for legal help.


Cleft Lip Symptoms

Cleft lip is a type of facial defect, characterized by a vertical fissure in one or both sides of a child's upper lip. Under normal circumstances, a child's lips are fully developed by the seventh or eighth week of gestation. Cleft lip occurs when there aren't enough cells in the lip area as the structure is developing during early pregnancy. In severe cases of cleft lip, the fissure may even extend up through the nose, potentially causing serious complications.


Cleft Lip Treatment and Complications

The only permanent treatment for cleft lip involves surgery to repair the defect and restore the normal appearance of the child's lip. Without treatment, a child may suffer from a number of serious complications resulting from the malformation of the upper lip, including:

  • Difficulty during feeding
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Hearing loss
  • Dental problems
  • Speech and language delay


FDA Warnings and Effexor Side Effect Studies

Although the majority of antidepressant side effect studies have focused on SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants, the similarities between these drugs and SNRI antidepressants may allow experts to examine SSRI side effect studies in order to evaluate the potentially harmful nature of Effexor and other SNRI antidepressant drugs. In 2006, the FDA issued a public health advisory warning patients and healthcare professionals about the increased risk of the birth defect PPHN in children exposed to certain antidepressant drugs in utero. This FDA warning was based on the results of a 2006 New England Journal of Medicine study, in which researchers found a six-times increased risk of PPHN in children whose mothers took certain antidepressant drugs after the twentieth week of pregnancy. The following year, the NEJM published two additional studies, the first of which indicated that children whose mothers took certain antidepressant drugs in early pregnancy were nearly twice as likely to develop birth defects like anal atresia, limb defects and club foot. Researchers also found a possible link between certain antidepressant drugs and cleft lip, cleft palate, and neural tube defects.


Effexor Use During Pregnancy

Due to the potential for the antidepressant drug to cause serious fetal harm when taken during pregnancy, the FDA has classified Effexor as a pregnancy category C medication. If you are currently taking Effexor and you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consult your healthcare professional to discuss alternative treatment options. It may not be safe to stop taking a prescription drug without medical consent, as this may cause further harm to you or your child. However, with the help of your doctor, you may be able to find a safer way to treat your condition.


Effexor Attorneys for Cleft Lip Side Effects

Although cleft lip can typically be treated successfully, the medical costs of the required surgeries, in addition to the long-term medical care that often follows cleft lip surgery, can pose a significant financial burden for many families. If you or a loved one has suffered from a side effect like cleft lip and you believe Effexor to be the cause, contact an Effexor attorney to discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to file an Effexor lawsuit against Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (Pfizer), in order to seek financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Drug companies like Wyeth 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. Only by hiring a qualified Effexor lawyer can victims of potential Effexor side effects protect their rights and collect the compensation they deserve.

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