Lexapro and Limb Defect Side Effects

The limb defects potentially linked to Lexapro can have life-changing consequences for children. Contact a Lexapro attorney to discuss your compensation options.

The safety of the antidepressant drug Lexapro has become the subject of significant scrutiny in recent years, due to studies suggesting the drug may be linked to serious Lexapro side effects, including limb defects in children exposed to the drug in utero. Lexapro (escitalopram) belongs to a group of drugs called SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which function by restoring the level of serotonin the brain. Lexapro is currently manufactured by Forest Laboratories and has been available in the U.S. since it garnered FDA approval in 2002. Since its introduction, Lexapro has been used in the treatment of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Despite the popularity of this medication though, serious concerns have been raised about its safety as recent studies have linked the drug to possible side effects when taken during pregnancy. If you took Lexapro while pregnant and your child was born with a limb related Lexapro birth defect, contact an experienced Lexapro attorney to discuss your options for legal recourse.

Limb Defects Described

A limb defect occurs when an upper or lower limb, or a portion of a limb, fails to develop properly, resulting in a limb or digit that is malformed in some way. There are a number of different types of limb defects, named for the way in which the malformation develops.

  • Complete absence of the limb
  • Duplication (extra fingers or toes)
  • Failure to separate (webbed fingers or toes)
  • Undergrowth (limb is smaller than normal)
  • Overgrowth (limb is larger than normal)
  • Constriction band syndrome (a constricting band of tissue forms around the limb, restricting blood flow and tissue growth)

Club Foot

Club foot is a limb defect characterized by a foot that is smaller than normal and internally rotated at the ankle. Although club foot is typically a painless defect at birth, it can become a debilitating condition later in life. As children with club foot grow, they may begin to walk on the outsides of their feet, causing large sores or callouses to develop. Children born with club foot may also suffer from side effects like restricted calf muscle growth and an awkward gait.

Lexapro Side Effect Studies and FDA Warnings

In 2006, the New England Journal of Medicine published a significant study in which researchers identified a six-fold increased risk of a birth defect called PPHN among children exposed to SSRI antidepressants like Lexapro after the twentieth week of pregnancy. In response to this study, the FDA issued a public health advisory later that year, warning patients and healthcare professionals about the increased risk of PPHN in children exposed to Lexapro and other SSRIs in utero. In 2007, the NEJM published two additional studies in which researchers sought to examine the adverse effects of fetal exposure to SSRI antidepressants. According to the first study, women who took an SSRI during the first trimester of pregnancy were nearly twice as likely to give birth to children with malformations like club foot and other limb defects.  In addition, catasrophic birth defects such as omphalocele, craniosynostosis, and heart defects have been possibly linked to Lexapro use in pregnancy.

Lexapro Use During Pregnancy

Lexapro has been labeled a pregnancy category C medication by the FDA, 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 your treatment options. You should never 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 an alternative treatment option for your medical condition without the risk of harmful side effects.

Lexapro Attorneys for Side Effects

Limb defects can significantly alter an affected child's quality of life, preventing him or her from performing everyday activities like grasping objects and playing with toys. If you or a loved one has suffered from a side effect which you believe to be linked to Lexapro, contact a Lexapro attorney to discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to file a Lexapro lawsuit against Forest Laboratories in order to seek financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Drug companies like Forest are expected to produce safe and effective medications, and should be held liable for any adverse side effects sustained by consumers of their products. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. By hiring a qualified Lexapro lawyer to represent your case, you can collect the compensation you deserve and bring public attention to the potentially harmful nature of the antidepressant Lexapro.

Prescription Drugs in The News