Lexapro Birth Defects

Possible Lexapro birth defects, like PPHN and neural tube defects, may result in serious consequences for patients. Contact a Lexapro attorney to discuss your options for pursuing financial compensation.

An emerging body of research has identified Lexapro use in pregnancy as a potentially risk factor for the development of serious birth defects among children. Lexapro (escitalopram) has been available in the U.S. since 2002, and is FDA-approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Lexapro belongs to a group of antidepressant drugs called SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which act upon the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain to relieve depression. Lexapro is currently manufactured by drug maker Forest Laboratories, and has become one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs on the market. Despite the popularity of Lexapro and other SSRI antidepressants however, recent birth defect studies have exposed the pregnancy risks of taking SSRI drugs like Lexapro during pregnancy. If you took Lexapro while pregnant and your child was born with a serious birth defect, contact a Lexapro attorney for legal guidance.

Alleged Lexapro Birth Defects

An emerging body of research has identified the use of SSRI antidepressants like Lexapro in pregnancy as a potential risk factor for the development of serious side effects. Among these Lexapro side effects are birth defects like:

  • Heart defects
  • PPHN
  • Anal atresia
  • Neural tube birth defects
  • Omphalocele
  • Craniosynostosis
  • Limb defects

Despite this birth defect risk, studies show that more than 80,000 pregnant women are prescribed SSRI antidepressants like Lexapro in the United States in any given year. Most birth defects are established during early pregnancy, before many women are even aware they are pregnant. Because nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned, all women of childbearing age taking the antidepressant Lexapro may be at risk of unknowingly exposing their child to irreversible harm.

FDA Warnings and Lexapro Birth Defect Studies

The FDA issued an official public health advisory in 2006, warning patients and healthcare professionals about the increased risk of the birth defect PPHN among children who are exposed to SSRI antidepressants like Lexapro in utero. This FDA warning was based on the results of a New England Journal of Medicine study published earlier that year, in which researchers found an alarming six-times increased risk of PPHN among children whose mothers took Lexapro or another SSRI antidepressant after the twentieth week of pregnancy. The following year, the NEJM published two additional studies in which researchers sought to examine the adverse effects of fetal exposure to SSRI drugs. According to the first study, children who were exposed to an SSRI during the first trimester of pregnancy were nearly twice as likely to be born with birth defects like anal atresia, limb defects and club foot. In the second study, researchers found a more than double risk of catastrophic birth defects like anencephaly, craniosynostosis and omphalocele among children exposed to SSRIs like Lexapro in utero.

Lexapro and Pregnancy

The FDA has labeled Lexapro a pregnancy category C medication, which means it may cause serious harm to a fetus when taken during pregnancy. If you are currently taking Lexapro and you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consult your healthcare provider to discuss alternative treatment options. It is never advised to stop taking a prescription drug without medical consent, as this may cause additional harm to you or your child. However, with the help of your physician, you may be able to find a safer way to treat your medical condition.

Lexapro Attorneys for Birth Defects

All children have the right to live a happy and healthy life, and birth defects like PPHN and neural tube defects rob children of this right. If you or a loved one has suffered from a birth defect or side effect and you believe Lexapro to be the cause, contact a Lexapro attorney to discuss your options for legal recourse. You may have grounds to file a Lexapro lawsuit against Forest Laboratories in order to pursue financial compensation for your injuries, the medical expenses of treating your injuries, and the pain and suffering endured by you and your family. Drug companies like Forest are expected to produce safe and effective medications for consumer use, and should be held accountable for any adverse drug side effects sustained by consumers of their products. Unfortunately, some pharmaceutical companies intentionally withhold dangerous drug information in an attempt to avoid negative consequences, such as a drug recall. With the help of a Lexapro lawyer, victims of potential Lexapro birth defects can collect the compensation they deserve and protect themselves and their family from further harm.

Prescription Drugs in The News