Wellbutrin and Heart Defect Side Effects

Wellbutrin side effects may include heart defects among children, and Wellbutrin lawsuits are being considered by attorneys across the country.

Researchers have warned consumers about the pregnancy risks linked to Wellbutrin, particularly the potential for the medication to cause heart birth defects among children exposed to the antidepressant in pregnancy. Wellbutrin (bupropion) is an atypical antidepressant, commonly prescribed to patients suffering from major depressive disorder or seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression occurring mostly in the winter and fall. GlaxoSmithKline's Wellbutrin is an atypical antidepressant and functions by inhibiting the reuptake of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Since Wellbutrin entered the U.S. market in 1985, it has become one of the most widely-prescribed antidepressant drugs available. Unfortunately, recent studies have raised doubts about the safety of Wellbutrin, due to the potential link between the medication and serious birth defect side effects. If you took the antidepressant Wellbutrin while pregnant and your child was born with a heart defect, contact an experienced Wellbutrin attorney, as your child may be entitled to lifetime care.

Types of Heart Defects

Heart defects are one of the most common types of birth defects and are also the leading cause of birth defect-related death among infants. There are several different kinds of heart defects, which may affect the structure of the heart or the blood vessels surrounding the heart. Some heart defects cause an abnormal heart rhythm, some obstruct the flow of blood in the heart, and others cause blood to flow through the heart in an irregular manner. The symptoms associated with a heart malformation depend on the type of defect, although the most common heart defect symptoms include:
  • Shortness of breath
  • Poor weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Cyanosis (bluish tint to the skin)

Heart Defect Treatment and Prognosis

Although some heart defects are minor and require little to no treatment, more than half of infants born with a heart defect will require medical care. Appropriate treatment for a heart defect depends on a number of factors, including the affected child's age, size and health, as well as the type and severity of the malformation. Heart defects typically require surgery to repair, and some affected children endure multiple surgeries throughout their lives as a result of being born with a heart defect. In some cases, open heart surgery may be required in order to repair holes in the heart, replace heart valves, widen arteries, or repair blood vessels near the heart.

Wellbutrin Side Effect Studies

In 1997, Wellbutrin maker GlaxoSmithKline developed the Bupropion Pregnancy Registry in order to examine the outcomes of pregnancies involving women who Wellbutrin during pregnancy. By 2008, the drug company found that 3.6% of the small group of children exposed to Wellbutrin in utero were born with major birth defects. Heart defects were one of the most common types of congenital malformations researchers observed, affecting 1.3% of infants whose mothers took Wellbutrin while pregnant. In 2010, the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology published a study in which researchers found that women who took the antidepressant Wellbutrin while pregnant had a more than doubled risk of giving birth to children with a heart defect called a left outflow tract defect, compared to infants whose mothers took no antidepressants while pregnant. That same year, the American Journal of Nursing published a study indicating that the prevalence of septal heart defects among children exposed to certain antidepressants in utero was 0.9%, nearly twice that among the general population (0.5%).

Wellbutrin During Pregnancy

Wellbutrin has been classified by the FDA as 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 Wellbutrin and you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, discuss alternative treatment options with your healthcare provider. You should never abruptly stop taking a prescription drug without medical consent, as this may cause additional 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.

Wellbutrin Attorneys for Side Effects

Heart defects are extremely serious malformations which can lead to life-altering complications or even death among affected children. If you or a loved one has suffered from a heart defect which you believe to be associated with the antidepressant Wellbutrin, contact a Wellbutrin attorney to discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering,which you can collect by filing a Wellbutrin lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline. Consumers expect their prescription drugs to effectively treat their medical conditions without causing them any unnecessary harm. Unfortunately, some medications currently on the market are associated with side effects so severe they may actually outweigh any possible benefits of the treatment. Only by hiring a knowledgeable Wellbutrin lawyer to represent their case can victims of potential Wellbutrin birth defects protect their rights and hold the allegedly negligent drug company liable for their injuries.

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