Lexapro Side Effects

Lexapro side effects can result in major birth defects among children. Consult a Lexapro attorney to discuss your options for seeking financial compensation.

Lexapro side effect studies have indicated that the antidepressant Lexapro may be associated with a number of severe side effects, particularly the development of major birth defects among children exposed to the medication during pregnancy. Lexapro (escitalopram) belongs to a class 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. Lexapro has been on the market in the U.S. since 2002 and is currently manufactured by drug maker Forest Laboratories. Since its introduction, Lexapro has been used in the treatment of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, and has become one of the most frequently prescribed antidepressant drugs available. Unfortunately, an emerging body of research suggests that Lexapro may not be safe, especially in the treatment of pregnant women. If you took Lexapro while pregnant and your child was born with a severe side effect, contact a Lexapro attorney for help.

Potential Lexapro Side Effects

According to recent studies, women who take Lexapro or other SSRI antidepressant drugs during pregnancy may have a significantly increased risk of giving birth to children with major side effects. Among these potential Lexapro side effects are birth defects like:

  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN)
  • Heart defects
  • Neural tube birth defects
  • Omphalocele
  • Craniosynostosis
  • Anal atresia
  • Limb defects

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

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 PPHN in children 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 a six-times increased risk of PPHN in children whose mothers took Lexapro or another SSRI after the twentieth week of pregnancy. In 2007, the NEJM published two additional studies in an attempt to reveal the potentially harmful nature of SSRI drugs. According to the first study, women who took an SSRI in early pregnancy were nearly twice as likely to give birth to children with birth defects like anal atresia, club foot and limb defects. Researchers also found a possible link between SSRIs and neural tube birth defects, cleft palate and cleft lip. In the second study, researchers indicated that children born to women who took an SSRI while pregnant were more than twice as likely to develop catastrophic birth defects like anencephaly, craniosynostosis and omphalocele.

Lexapro and Pregnancy

Lexapro has been classified by the FDA as a pregnancy category C medication, which means it has the potential to cause severe 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 suddenly stop taking a prescription drug without medical consent, but your doctor may be able to help you find a safer way to treat your condition.

Lexapro Attorneys for Side Effects

The side effects potentially associated with Lexapro are serious and can severely alter an affected child's quality of life. If you or a loved one has suffered from a side effect which you believe to be linked to Lexapro, contact a qualified 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. 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 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. By hiring an experienced Lexapro lawyer to represent your case, you can protect your rights and collect the compensation you deserve.

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