Prozac and Omphalocele Side Effects

Omphalocele and Prozac use during pregnancy mat be related and attorneys in the US are filing lawsuits for birth defects possibly associated with Prozac.  Contact a lawyer to discuss your Prozac lawsuit options if you have been affected.

Recent studies and FDA warnings have indicated that children who are exposed to antidepressant drugs like Prozac in pregnancy may be significantly more likely to suffer from serious side effects and birth defects like omphaloceles. Prozac (fluoxetine) was introduced in the U.S. in 1987 and has since been approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder, panic disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and bulimia nervosa. Prozac falls into a category of antidepressant drugs called SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which increase the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Prozac is currently manufactured by drug maker Eli Lilly and Company, and, as of 2007, was the third most commonly prescribed antidepressant drug on the market, with 22.2 million prescriptions filled. Despite the popularity of this antidepressant however, Prozac may no longer be considered safe, especially in the treatment of pregnant women. If you took Prozac while pregnant and your child was born with a serious Prozac side effect like an omphalocele birth defect, contact a Prozac attorney to discuss your legal options.

Omphalocele Symptoms

An omphalocele is a type of possible abdominal Prozac birth defect in which some of a child's abdominal organs protrude from the naval, covered only by a thin layer of tissue. An omphalocele birth defects occurs when the muscles of the abdominal wall fail to close completely during fetal development, allowing one or more abdominal organs to remain outside the umbilical cord. In instances of a small omphalocele, only the intestines may protrude from the abdomen, although large defects may involve the spleen and liver as well.

Ompahlocele Treatment and Complications

Children born with an omphalocele require surgery to repair the malformation and to restore the appearance of the child's abdomen. In many cases, surgery to correct an omphalocele may be delayed if the child is suffering from a more serious defect, since the abdominal contents are protected by a layer of tissue. During surgery, an artificial material is placed over the abdomen and stitched in place. Over time, the abdominal contents are pushed back into place, at which point the man-made material can be removed and the abdomen can be closed. Unfortunately, it is estimated that 25-40% of children born with an omphalocele suffer from additional birth defects like heart defects, which can cause significant complications for an affected child. Some children born with an omphalocele may also struggle with complications like intestinal infection and death of the intestinal tissue.

FDA Warnings and Prozac Side Effect Studies

The FDA issued a public health advisory in 2006, warning patients and healthcare professionals about the increased risk of a birth defect called PPHN in children exposed to SSRI antidepressants like Prozac 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 an alarming six-fold increased risk of PPHN in children whose mothers took Prozac or another SSRI drug after the twentieth week of pregnancy. The following year, the NEJM published two additional studies in which researchers sought to examine the potentially harmful effects of fetal exposure to SSRI antidepressants like Prozac. According to one study, children born to women who took an SSRI drug like Prozac while pregnant were more than twice as likely to develop a major side effect like omphalocele, anencephaly and craniosynostosis.

Prozac Use During Pregnancy

Prozac has been classified by the FDA as a pregnancy category C medication, which means it may cause serious harm to a fetus when taken during pregnancy. If you are currently taking Prozac and you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consult your healthcare provider immediately. You should never abruptly stop taking a prescription medication, 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 alternative to Prozac for treating your medical condition.

Prozac Attorneys for Omphalocele Side Effects

Birth defects like omphaloceles are severe and can have significant consequences for affected children. If you or a loved one has suffered from an omphalocele side effect and you believe Prozac to be the cause, contact a Prozac attorney to discuss your options for legal recourse. You may have grounds to file a Prozac lawsuit against Eli Lilly in order to seek financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Drug companies are responsible for the safety of their medications, and should be held liable for any adverse side effects sustained by consumers of their products. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. With the help of an experienced Prozac lawyer, victims of potential Prozac birth defects can protect their rights and collect the compensation they deserve.

Prescription Drugs in The News