Wellbutrin and Limb Defect Side Effects

The antidepressant Wellbutrin may cause side effects like limb defects to occur among children. Wellbutrin attorneys across the country are investigating injury claims possibly linked to the prescription drug.

The antidepressant Wellbutrin has become the subject of significant scrutiny in recent years, as new information indicates the drug may be linked to serious birth defects, including limb defects, in children. Wellbutrin is currently manufactured by drug company GlaxoSmithKline, and has been available in the U.S. since it garnered FDA approval in 1985. Wellbutrin (bupropion) is considered an atypical antidepressant and functions by inhibiting the reuptake of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Wellbutrin is commonly prescribed to patients suffering from major depressive disorder and seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression occurring mostly in the fall and winter. Since its introduction, Wellbutrin has become one of the most popular antidepressant drugs available. Unfortunately, recent studies suggest that use of the antidepressant medication in pregnancy may increase a child's risk of being born with birth defects, including limb defects. If you took Wellbutrin while pregnant and your child was born with a serious birth defect, contact a Wellbutrin attorney for legal help.

Types of Limb Defects

A limb defect occurs when an upper or lower limb, or a portion of a limb, fails to develop properly in utero, resulting in a malformed arm, leg, hand or foot. Limb defects can present in a number of different ways, including:
  • Complete absence of the limb
  • Overgrowth (the limb is much larger than normal)
  • Undergrowth (the limb is much smaller than normal)
  • Duplication (extra fingers or toes)
  • Failure to separate (webbed fingers or toes)
  • Constriction band syndrome (a constricting band of tissue forms around the limb, cutting off blood flow and tissue growth)

Club Foot

Club foot is a type of limb defect diagnosed in children whose foot or feet are smaller than normal and internally rotated at the ankle. Although this birth defect is typically painless at birth, club foot can become a significantly debilitating condition later in life. Children born with club foot may begin to walk on their ankles or the outsides of their feet, causing large callouses or sores to develop. Club foot can also cause symptoms like an awkward gait and restricted calf muscle growth in affected infants.

Wellbutrin Side Effect Studies

In 2007, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study in an attempt to observe the adverse effects of fetal exposure to certain antidepressant drugs. According to the report, women who took certain antidepressants in early pregnancy were nearly twice as likely to give birth to children with birth defects like club foot, limb defects and anal atresia. Previously, in 1997, Wellbutrin maker GlaxoSmithKline developed the Bupropion Pregnancy Registry to examine the outcomes of pregnancies involving women who took Wellbutrin during pregnancy. By 2008, researchers indicated that 3.6% of the small group of children exposed to the antidepressant during pregnancy were born with major birth defects.

Wellbutrin Use in Pregnancy

Wellbutrin has been labeled a pregnancy category C medication by the FDA, which means it may cause serious harm to a fetus when taken during pregnancy. If you are currently taking Wellbutrin 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 prescription drug without medical consent, 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 medical condition.

Wellbutrin Attorneys for Side Effects

Although club foot and other limb defects are not life-threatening conditions, they can severely interfere with an affected child's life, possibly preventing him from performing everyday tasks like grasping objects and playing with toys. If you or a loved one has suffered from a limb defect side effect and you believe Wellbutrin to be the cause, contact a Wellbutrin attorney to discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to file a Wellbutrin lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline in order to seek financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Drug companies like Glaxo are expected to produce safe medications, and should be held accountable for any injuries sustained by consumers of their products. With the help of an experienced Wellbutrin lawyer, victims of potential Wellbutrin side effects can collect the compensation they deserve and protect themselves and their family from further harm.

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