Lexapro and Omphalocele Side Effects

Lexapro and Omphalocele side effects may be linked when used during pregnancy.  If your family has been affected by birth defects when Lexapro was taken, contact an attorney to discuss your Lexapro lawsuit possibilities.

According to recent studies, women who take the antidepressant Lexapro while pregnant may have a significantly increased risk of giving birth to children with one or more serious potential Lexapro birth defects, including an abdominal defect called an omphalocele. Lexapro is one of a group of antidepressant drugs called SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which act upon the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain to relieve depression and improve certain mood disorders. Forest Laboratories' 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. Despite the popularity of SSRI antidepressant drugs like Lexapro however, an emerging body of research has identified Lexapro use in pregnancy as a potential risk factor for the development of major potential Lexapro side effects. If you took Lexapro while pregnant and your child was born with a birth defect like an omphalocele, contact a Lexapro attorney to discuss your legal options.

Omphalocele Signs and Symptoms

An omphalocele is an abdominal birth defect in which one or more of a child's abdominal organs protrude from the naval, covered only by a thin layer of tissue. This type of congenital malformation occurs when the abdominal wall muscles fail to close properly when the child is in utero, allowing the organs to remain outside the umbilical cord. While small omphaloceles may only affect the intestines, large defects may involve the liver and spleen as well.

Omphalocele Treatment and Complications

Treatment for an omphalocele requires surgery to correct the defect and restore the normal appearance of the child's abdomen. During surgery, a man-made material is placed over the abdomen and stitched in place, pushing the abdominal contents back into place over time. Once the organs are in their proper place, the artificial material can be removed and the abdomen can be closed. Since omphaloceles are often accompanied by more serious birth defects, like heart defects, omphalocele surgery can sometimes be delayed if there are more pressing matters requiring immediate treatment. Some children born with an omphalocele struggle with complications like intestinal infection and death of the intestinal tissue. Studies show that 25-40% of children born with an omphalocele also suffer from malformations like heart defects, which can cause serious complications for affected children.

FDA Warnings and Lexapro Side Effect Studies

The FDA issued a public health advisory in 2006, warning patients and healthcare professionals about the increased risk of a serious birth defect called PPHN in children exposed to SSRI antidepressants like Lexapro in pregnancy. This FDA warning was based on the results of a New England Journal of Medicine study, in which researchers found an alarming six-times increased risk of PPHN in children whose mothers took Lexapro or another SSRI antidepressant during the third trimester 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 antidepressants like Lexapro. According to the second study, women who took an SSRI like Lexapro while pregnant were more than twice as likely to give birth to children with devastating birth defects like omphalocele, anencephaly and craniosynostosis.

Lexapro and Pregnancy

The FDA has classified Lexapro as a pregnancy category C medication, which means it has the potential to cause serious fetal harm 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. You should never abruptly stop taking 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.

Lexapro Attorneys for Omphalocele Side Effects

Although omphaloceles can typically be effectively treated with surgery, the additional complications that sometimes accompany this malformation can have life-altering consequences for a child. If you or a loved one has suffered from a birth defect which you believe to be linked to Lexapro, contact an experienced Lexapro attorney to discuss the benefits of filing a Lexapro lawsuit against Forest Laboratories. The main goal of Lexapro attorneys is to help victims of potential Lexapro side effects protect their rights and seek financial compensation for their injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Drug makers 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. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. With the help of a qualified Lexapro lawyer, injured victims can collect the compensation they deserve and bring public attention to the importance of having safe medications on the market.

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