Serious concerns have been raised about the safety of the antidepressant drug Lexapro, especially in treating pregnant women and women of childbearing age. According to recent studies, Lexapro and other SSRI antidepressant drugs may be associated with an increased risk of major side effects, particularly birth defects in children exposed to the drugs during pregnancy. Lexapro belongs to a class of antidepressant drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, which function by restoring the balance of serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter responsible for controlling mood. The active ingredient in Lexapro is escitalopram, and the drug has been approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Lexapro has been on the U.S. market since 2002 and is currently manufactured by pharmaceutical company Forest Laboratories. Although Lexapro and other SSRI antidepressants have become some of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the country, the potential link between Lexapro and serious side effects in children has caused the drug to become the subject of significant speculation recently. If you or a loved one has suffered from a potential Lexapro side effect, contact a Lexapro attorney to discuss your legal options.

Potential Lexapro Birth Defects

According to Lexapro side effect studies, women who take Lexapro during pregnancy may have a considerably increased risk of giving birth to infants with one or more birth defects, including:

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

While some of these birth defects can be effectively treated, others are more serious and may result in life-threatening complications for affected children.

Lexapro Side Effect Studies and FDA Warnings

The FDA issued a public health advisory in 2006 warning patients and healthcare providers about the increased risk of PPHN among infants whose mothers take SSRI antidepressants like Lexapro after the twentieth week of pregnancy. This FDA warning was influenced by a New England Journal of Medicine study published earlier that year in which researchers found a six-times increased risk of PPHN among infants exposed to Lexapro or other SSRIs during pregnancy. According to the report, up to twelve out of 1,000 infants exposed to an SSRI in utero developed PPHN, compared to the expected rate among the general population, which is one infant out of 1,000. The following year, the NEJM published two additional studies examining the side effects of SSRIs like Lexapro. According to the first study, infants born to women who took an SSRI like Lexapro while pregnant were nearly twice as likely to develop birth defects like limb defects, anal atresia and club foot. Researchers also found a possible link between SSRIs and cleft palate, cleft lip and neural tube defects. The second study indicated that infants whose mothers took an SSRI like Lexapro during pregnancy were more then twice as likely to develop catastrophic birth defects like craniosynostosis, anencephaly and omphalocele.

Lexapro Use in Pregnancy

Lexapro has been classified by the FDA as a pregnancy category C medication, which means the drug may cause 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 as soon as possible. It may be dangerous to suddenly discontinue the use of prescription drug, but with your doctor's help you may be able to find a safer way to treat your condition.

Lexapro Attorneys for Side Effects

The side effects potentially associated with Lexapro treatment are severe and may even be life-threatening. If you or a loved one has suffered from a major 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 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. The main goal of Lexapro attorneys is to help victims of Lexapro side effects protect their rights and seek fair and timely reimbursement for their injuries. Drug companies like Forest are expected to produce safe medications, and should be held liable for any serious injuries sustained by consumers of their products. Unfortunately, some pharmaceutical companies actually conceal the more serious side effects of their drugs in order to make their product more appealing to the public. With the help of a qualified Lexapro lawyer, you can protect yourself from further harm and bring public attention to the dangers of certain pharmaceutical drugs.

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