Craniosynostosis and Paxil Side Effects

Craniosynostosis and Paxil side effects may be linked when Paxil is used in pregnancy and attorneys are filing Paxil lawsuits on behalf families affected by birth defects.  Contact a Paxil lawyer if your family has been affected by craniosynostosis and Paxil was used while pregnant.

Serious concerns have been raised about the safety of treating pregnant women with the antidepressant Paxil, due to data from Paxil side effect studies which suggest that Paxil use in pregnancy may cause side effects like craniosynostosis in children. Paxil belongs to a class of antidepressants called SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and functions by balancing the level of serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter responsible for affecting mood. Paxil was initially approved by the FDA in 1992 for the treatment of major depressive disorder, and has since been approved to treat generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, major panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Paxil (paroxetine) is currently manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. Although Paxil is one of the most commonly-prescribed antidepressant treatments available in the U.S., the drug may no longer be considered safe in the treatment of pregnant women. If you took Paxil while pregnant and your child was born with a birth defect like craniosynostosis, contact a Paxil attorney to discuss your options for legal recourse.

Craniosynostosis Signs and Symptoms

Craniosynostosis is a type of craniofacial Paxil birth defect characterized by the malformation of a child's cranial sutures. Cranial sutures are the joints separating the different parts of a child's skull and are necessary in maintaining the cranium's elasticity as the brain continues to grow throughout infancy. In children with craniosynostosis, one or more of the sutures close prematurely, preventing the skull from expanding to accommodate brain growth and causing the head to be misshapen. There are four types of craniosynostosis, classified by the sutures involved:

  • Scaphocephaly – Causes the child to be born with a long, narrow-shaped head
  • Trigonocephaly – Results in a triangular-shaped forehead with eyes closer together than normal
  • Plagiocephaly – Causes the forehead and brow on either the left or right to appear pushed backwards and results in differently shaped eyes
  • Brachycephaly – Causes the child to be born with a wide-shaped head with short skull

Craniosynostosis Treatment and Prognosis

The most effective treatment for craniosynostosis involves reconstructive surgery to repair the appearance of the child's head and to relieve any pressure on the brain. The success of this type of treatment depends on the amount of damage caused by the birth defect, the number of sutures involved, and the presence of any additional malformations. It left untreated, craniosynostosis can become permanent and may lead to dangerous complications like increased intracranial pressure, seizures, and developmental delay.

FDA Warnings and Paxil Side Effect Studies

The FDA has issued two public health advisories in recent years warning patients and healthcare providers about the increased risk of birth defects, particularly heart defects and PPHN, among children exposed to Paxil in pregnancy. One of the major studies which contributed to Paxil warnings being issued by the FDA was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2006. According to researchers, children exposed to an SSRI like Paxil after the twentieth week of pregnancy were an alarming six times more likely to develop a severe birth defect side effect called PPHN. The following year, the NEJM published two additional studies in which researchers sought to examine the adverse effects of fetal exposure to SSRI drugs like Paxil. In the first study, infants whose mothers took an SSRI like Paxil during the first trimester of pregnancy were nearly twice as likely to develop birth defects like limb defects, club foot and anal atresia. Researchers also found a possible link between SSRIs and cleft lip, cleft palate and neural tube birth defects. According to the second study, infants born to women who took Paxil or another SSRI while pregnant were more than twice as likely to be born with catastrophic birth defects like anencephaly, craniosynostosis and omphalocele.

Paxil Use During Pregnancy

Paxil has been classified by the FDA as a pregnancy category D medication, which means there is positive human evidence illustrating Paxil side effects ability to cause significant harm to a fetus when taken during pregnancy. If you are currently taking Paxil and you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consult your healthcare professional immediately. You should never suddenly stop taking a prescription drug, but with your doctor's help, you may be able to find a safer alternative to Paxil for treating your medical condition.

Paxil Attorneys for Craniosynostosis Side Effects

Craniosynostosis is a serious birth defect and can have life-threatening complications for affected children. If you or a loved one has suffered from craniosynostosis and you believe Paxil to be the cause, contact a Paxil attorney to discuss the benefits of filing a Paxil lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline. The main goal of Paxil lawsuits is to seek financial compensation for your injuries, the medical expenses resulting from injury treatment, and the pain and suffering endured by you and your family. Drug companies like GlaxoSmithKline are responsible for the safety of their medications, and should be held accountable for any adverse side effects sustained by consumers of their products. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. By hiring a Paxil lawyer to represent your case, you can protect your rights and collect the compensation you deserve.

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