Pristiq and PPHN Side Effects

Pristiq side effects like PPHN can lead to life-threatening harm in newborns. If you have been adversely affected by Pristiq, contact a Pristiq attorney for legal help.

Recent research has raised concerns about the safety of the antidepressant Pristiq, due to information suggesting the drug may cause serious Pristiq side effects, including the birth defect PPHN, among children exposed to the medication during pregnancy. Pristiq was approved by the FDA in 2008 for the treatment of major depressive disorder, and is currently manufactured by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Pfizer, Inc. Pristiq is the brand name of the antidepressant drug desvenlafaxine, which is a "new generation" antidepressant and is a synthetic form of venlafaxine (Effexor). Pristiq is one of a group of antidepressant drugs called SNRIs, or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, which act upon the two neurotransmitters in the brain to relieve depression. Although SNRIs like Pristiq are newer and have shown slightly more success in treating depression than their counterparts, SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), these drugs may no longer be considered safe, especially in the treatment of pregnant women. If you took Pristiq while pregnant and your child was born with a serious Pristiq birth defect like PPHN, contact a Pristiq attorney to discuss your legal options.

PPHN Symptoms

Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, commonly called PPHN, is a life-threatening birth defect in which a child's circulation continues to bypass the lungs after birth, preventing the rest of the body from receiving an adequate supply of oxygen. When a child is in the womb, the lungs aren't yet needed in the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, because the placenta provides the baby with the oxygen it needs through the umbilical cord. When the baby is born, the body adapts to breathing outside the womb and the lungs will inflate. In children with PPHN however, the body fails to make this change and the circulation continues to pass up the lungs. Common symptoms of PPHN include rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, cyanosis (bluish tint to the skin), and respiratory distress.

PPHN Treatment and Complications

Although children with PPHN can breathe, oxygen in the breathed air will not reach the bloodstream to be delivered to the rest of the body. The main goal of PPHN treatment is to distribute the maximum amount of oxygen to the baby's organs and tissues, to prevent life-threatening organ injury. Common treatments for PPHN include administering 100% supplemental oxygen, high frequency oscillatory ventilation, nitric acid administration, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in cases of severe heart and lung failure. Unfortunately, even with treatment, some children with PPHN will continue to deliver an insufficient supply of oxygen to the rest of the body, potentially leading to complications like kidney failure, heart failure, seizures, organ damage, brain hemorrhages, and death.

FDA Warnings and Pristiq Side Effect Studies

In 2006, the FDA issued an official public health advisory warning patients and healthcare professionals about the increased risk of the birth defect PPHN among children exposed to certain antidepressant drugs in pregnancy. 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 among children whose mothers took certain antidepressant drugs after the twentieth week of pregnancy. According to researchers, up to twelve out of 1,000 exposed infants involved in the study developed PPHN, compared to the expected rate among the general population, which is one to two infants out of 1,000.

Pristiq Use in Pregnancy

The FDA has labeled Pristiq a pregnancy category C medication, which means it has the potential to cause serious fetal harm when taken during pregnancy. If you are currently taking Pristiq and you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consult your physician to discuss alternative treatment options. You should never suddenly stop taking a prescription drug without medical consent, as this may cause serious harm to you or your child. However, with your doctor's help, you may be able to find a safer way to treat your condition.

Pristiq Attorneys for PPHN Side Effects

PPHN is an extremely dangerous birth defect, requiring emergency medical attention immediately after birth. If you or a loved one has suffered from a side effect like PPHN, and you believe Pristiq to be the cause, contact a Pristiq attorney to discuss your options for legal recourse. You may have grounds to file a Pristiq lawsuit against Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (Pfizer) in order 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 Wyeth (Pfizer) 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, some pharmaceutical companies intentionally withhold dangerous drug information in an attempt to make their products more appealing to the public. By hiring an experienced Pristiq lawyer to represent your case, you can protect your rights and collect the compensation you deserve.

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