Neural Tube Birth Defects and Paxil

Neural tube birth defects and Paxil side effects when used in pregnancy may have been linked and Paxil lawyers are filing lawusits on behalf of birth defects vicitms and families.  Contact a Paxil attorney if your child was born with birth defects and Paxil is suspected.

Researchers have identified a potential link between the antidepressant drug Paxil and the development of life-altering side effects, including severe neural tube birth defects. Paxil is currently manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, and has been available in the U.S. since 1992, when the drug was FDA-approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder. Since then, Paxil has been additionally indicated for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, major panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Paxil (paroxetine) belongs to a class of pharmaceutical drugs called SSRI antidepressants, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. These medications function by restoring the level of serotonin in the brain, thereby relieving depression and improving certain mood disorders. Although Paxil is one of the most commonly-prescribed antidepressant drugs on the market, serious concerns have been raised about the safety of the drug, especially in treating pregnant women. If you took Paxil while pregnant and your child was born with a Paxil side effect like a neural tube birth defect, contact a Paxil attorney, as your child may be entitled to lifetime care.

Neural Tube Birth Defect Symptoms

In the first few weeks of pregnancy, the spinal cord rolls into a narrow tube called the neural tube, which will become the foundation for the central nervous system. If the neural tube fails to close properly however, a neural tube defect may occur. During normal fetal development, the cells of the neural tube begin to fuse together during the third or fourth week of pregnancy. When there is an interruption in this process, such as in neural tube Paxil birth defects, the results can be devastating. Unfortunately, neural tube birth defects are relatively common, affecting approximately one in 1,000 infants. Two of the most common types of neural tube birth defects are spina bifida and anencephaly.

Spina Bifida

Spina bifida is a type of neural tube birth defect caused by the failure of the neural tube to close completely during fetal development. The neural tube is the precursor to the child's central nervous system, which is comprised of the spinal cord and brain. When the vertebrae protecting the spinal cord fail to fuse together properly in utero, it creates an opening through which the spinal cord may actually protrude. Children born with spina bifida typically suffer from side effects like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bladder and bowel control issues, and other coordination problems and learning difficulties. Some children with spina bifida may struggle with more severe complications, including hydrocephalus (build-up of fluid in the brain), permanent paralysis, and even death.


Anencephaly is one of the most severe types of neural tube birth defects, occurring when the head end of the neural tube fails to close during fetal development. Anencephaly is characterized by the absence of a large portion of the brain and skull, which sometimes leaves brain tissue exposed. Children with anencephaly are born blind, deaf, unconscious and unable to feel pain, and because newborns with this birth defect are born without a functioning cerebrum, there is no hope of them ever regaining consciousness. Anencephaly is untreatable, and children born with this congenital malformation typically only survive for a few days after birth.

FDA Warnings and Paxil Side Effect Studies

In 2005, the FDA issued a public health advisory warning patients and physicians about the increased risk of congenital malformations, particularly heart defects, among children exposed to the antidepressant Paxil during pregnancy. In 2006, the FDA issued an additional public health advisory regarding the increased risk of a heart defect birth defect called PPHN among children exposed to SSRI antidepressants like Paxil in utero. According to a 2006 New England Journal of Medicine study, infants born to women who took an SSRI like Paxil after the twentieth week of pregnancy were a shocking six times more likely to develop PPHN. In 2007, the NEJM published two additional SSRI side effect studies, the first of which indicated a possible link between SSRIs like Paxil and neural tube birth defects. According to the second study, children exposed to Paxil or other SSRI drugs during pregnancy were more than twice as likely to develop birth defect side effects like anencephaly, craniosynostosis and omphalocele.

Paxil Use and Pregnancy

The FDA recently elevated the pregnancy category of Paxil from C to D, which means there is positive human evidence of the drug's potential to cause serious 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 physician immediately. You should never suddenly stop taking a prescription medication without medical consent, as this may cause further harm to you or your child. With the help of your doctor though, you may be able to find a safer alternative to Paxil for treating your medical condition.

Paxil Attorneys for Side Effects

Neural tube birth defects are some of the most severe side effects potentially associated with SSRI antidepressant drugs like Paxil. If you or a loved one has suffered from a neural tube birth defect and you believe Paxil to be the cause, contact a Paxil attorney to discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to file a Paxil lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline in order to seek financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. The main goal of Paxil attorneys is to help victims protect their rights and hold the allegedly negligent drug company accountable for their injuries. Pharmaceutical companies like Glaxo 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 Paxil lawyer to represent your case, you can collect the compensation you deserve and protect yourself and your family from further harm.

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