PPHN and Paxil Side Effects

PPHN and Paxil side effects if used while pregnant may be linked and lawyers are filing Paxil lawsuits on behalf of children born with pulmonary hypertension.  Contact a Paxil attorney for help if you have been affected by Paxil side effects.

Paxil side effect studies and FDA warnings have suggested that the antidepressant Paxil may be linked to a series of major birth defects, including PPHN, in children when used during pregnancy. Paxil is currently manufactured by drug company GlaxoSmithKline and has been on the U.S. market since 1992, when it was FDA-approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder. Since then, Paxil (paroxetine) has been additionally approved to treat major panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Paxil is one of a group of antidepressant drugs called SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. These drugs work by preventing the reuptake of serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter responsible for controlling mood. Although Paxil is considered one of the most frequently-prescribed antidepressants available in the U.S., serious doubts have been raised about the safety of this medication, especially in treating pregnant women. If you took Paxil while pregnant and your child was born with a serious side effect, like the birth defect PPHN, contact a Paxil attorney to discuss your legal options.

PPHN Symptoms

PPHN, or persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, is a severe lung and heart defect in which a child's circulation continues to bypass the lungs after birth. When a child is still in the womb, the lungs aren't yet needed because the placenta provides the baby with the oxygen it needs through the umbilical cord. Under normal circumstances, when the child is born, the body adapts to breathing outside the womb and the lungs inflate. However, in children with PPHN, this process fails to take place. Although babies with PPHN can breathe, oxygen in the breathed air will not reach the bloodstream to be distributed to the rest of the body. Symptoms of PPHN include rapid breathing, respiratory distress, rapid heart rate and cyanosis.

PPHN Treatment and Complications

Without an adequate supply of oxygen, the body's vital organs and tissues may become damaged and begin to die. In order to treat PPHN, children may undergo several different forms of oxygen administration in an attempt to maximize the amount of oxygen being delivered to the child's lungs. PPHN treatment may include:

  • 100% oxygen administration
  • High-frequency oscillatory ventilation
  • Nitric acid administration to improve blood flow
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in severe cases

Unfortunately, even with treatment, some children will continue to supply an insufficient amount of oxygen to organs, potentially resulting in seizures, heart failure, kidney failure, brain hemorrhages, multiple organ damage, and death.

FDA Warnings and Paxil Side Effect Studies

In 2005, the FDA issued a public health advisory warning patients and healthcare providers about the increased risk Paxil birth defects, particularly heart defects and limb defects, among children exposed to the antidepressant Paxil in pregnancy. This warning was based on information provided by two epidemiology studies in which researchers observed a 1.5- to 2-times increased risk of heart defects, namely atrial and ventricular septal defects, among children whose mothers took Paxil in the first trimester of pregnancy. The FDA issued a second public health advisory in 2006 regarding the increased risk of PPHN in children born to women who took an SSRI like Paxil while pregnant. This FDA notice was influenced by a New England Journal of Medicine study published earlier that year, in which researchers found an alarming six-fold increased risk of PPHN among children exposed to Paxil or other SSRIs after the twentieth week of pregnancy, compared to the expected rate among the general population.

Paxil Use in Pregnancy

The FDA has 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 healthcare provider to discuss alternative treatment options. You should never suddenly stop taking a pharmaceutical drug, as this may cause further harm to you or your child. However, with the help of your doctor, you may be able to find a safer way to treat your condition.

Paxil Attorneys for PPHN Side Effects

Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn is an extremely dangerous birth defect, potentially leading to death for affected children. If you or a loved one has suffered from a side effect like PPHN, which you believe to be linked to Paxil, contact a Paxil attorney to discuss your options for legal recourse. 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 goal of Paxil lawyers is to help victims of potential Paxil side effects protect their rights, while also bringing public attention to the allegedly harmful nature of the antidepressant Paxil. You are not at fault for any injuries or side effects caused by a pharmaceutical drug. With the help of a qualified Paxil lawyer, you can collect the compensation you deserve and protect yourself from further harm.

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