Lexapro and Craniosynostosis Side Effects

Lexapro and craniosynostosis birth defects may be linked to side effects of Lexapro use during pregnancy.  Contact a Lexapro lawsuit attorney if your family has been affected to explore your legal options.

Recent Lexapro side effect studies have raised serious concerns about the safety of the antidepressant drug Lexapro, due to the possible risk of major side effects like craniosynostosis. Lexapro has been available in the U.S. since it garnered FDA approval in 2002, and is commonly used to treat major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Lexapro (escitalopram) belongs to a class of drugs called SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which function by increasing the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Lexapro is currently manufactured by drug maker Forest Laboratories, and has become one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs on the market. Unfortunately, an emerging body of research has identified Lexapro use in pregnancy as a potential risk factor for the development of serious side effects, particularly birth defects among exposed children. If you took Lexapro while pregnant and your child was born with a birth defect like craniosynostosis, contact a qualified Lexapro attorney for legal help.


Craniosynostosis Symptoms

Craniosynostosis is a type of cranial malformation in which a child's cranial sutures close earlier than normal, resulting in a misshapen head. Cranial sutures are the joints that separate the different sections of the skull, allowing it to remain elastic enough to accommodate brain growth. When one or more of these sutures close prematurely, that part of the cranium will lose its elasticity as the other sections of the skull continue to expand. The different types of craniosynostosis are named for the specific sutures involved, including sagittal synostosis, frontal plagiocephaly and metopic synostosis. Common symptoms of craniosynostosis are:

  • Absence of the fontanelle (soft spot on the head)
  • A raised hard ridge along the affected sutures
  • Lack of increase in head size over time


Craniosynostosis Treatment and Complications

Craniosynostosis treatment involves surgery to correct the malformation and to repair any side effects of the defect. The main goals of surgery are to restore the normal appearance of the child's head, to relieve any excess pressure on the brain, and to create enough space in the skull to allow for future brain growth. Without treatment, craniosynostosis may become permanent, leading to serious complications like developmental delay, seizures and increased intracranial pressure.


FDA Warnings and Lexapro Side Effect Studies

The New England Journal of Medicine published a study in 2006, indicating that children exposed to SSRI antidepressants like Lexapro after the twentieth week of pregnancy were a shocking six times more likely to develop a severe lung and heart defect called persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). In response to this study, the FDA issued a public health advisory that same year, warning patients and healthcare professionals about the increased risk of PPHN in children exposed to Lexapro and other SSRI drugs in utero. In 2007, the NEJM published two additional studies in an attempt to examine the potentially harmful nature of fetal exposure to SSRI antidepressants. According to the second study, children born to women who took an SSRI like Lexapro while pregnant were more than twice as likely to be born with a devastating side effect like craniosynostosis, omphalocele and anencephaly.


Lexapro and Pregnancy

The FDA has classified Lexapro 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 Lexapro and you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consult your healthcare provider immediately. 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 your doctor's help you may be able to find a safer alternative to Lexapro for treating your medical condition.


Lexapro Attorneys for Craniosynostosis Side Effects

Craniosynostosis is a serious birth defect which can cause life-altering complications for affected children. If you or a loved one has suffered from a side effect like a craniosynostosis Lexapro birth defect, contact an experienced Lexapro attorney to discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering, which you can collect by filing a Lexapro lawsuit against Forest Laboratories. You are not at fault for any injuries caused by a dangerous pharmaceutical drug, and you should not be held accountable for the resulting consequences. Drug companies like Forest are responsible for the safety of their medications, and should be held liable for any adverse side effects sustained by consumers of their products. With the help of a qualified Lexapro lawyer, victims of potential Lexapro side effects can protect their rights and collect the compensation they deserve.

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