Wellbutrin and Omphalocele Side Effects

Wellbutrin side effects like omphaloceles may be present among children exposed to the drug during pregnancy. If you have been adversely affected by the antidepressant drug, contact a Wellbutrin attorney to discuss your compensation options.

According to an emerging body of research, children whose mothers take the antidepressant drug Wellbutrin in pregnancy may have a significantly increased risk of developing major side effects, including birth defects like omphaloceles. Wellbutrin (bupropion) garnered FDA approval in 1985 and has since been approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder and seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression occurring mostly in the fall and winter. GlaxoSmithKline's Wellbutrin is considered an atypical antidepressant, and functions by inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for affecting mood. Since its introduction, Wellbutrin has become one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs available in the U.S. Unfortunately, recent studies have raised serious doubts about the safety of the medication, due to its potential to cause life-altering side effects like omphaloceles. If you took Wellbutrin while pregnant and your child was born with a birth defect like an omphalocele, contact a Wellbutrin attorney, as your child may be entitled to lifetime care.

Omphalocele Symptoms

An omphalocele is a type of abdominal birth defect characterized by the protrusion of one or more abdominal organs through the naval at birth. Omphaloceles are caused by the failure of the abdominal muscles to form properly during fetal development, allowing certain abdominal contents to remain outside the umbilical cord. If the defect is small, only the intestines may be involved, although large defects may also affect the liver and spleen. The exposed organs may be covered by a thin layer of tissue, which can rupture during delivery, potentially causing serious complications for both mother and child.

Omphalocele Treatment and Complications

Children born with an omphalocele require surgery to repair the defect and restore the normal appearance of the abdomen. During surgery, a man-made material is placed over the abdomen and stitched in place. Over time, the abdominal organs will be pushed back into place, at which point the artificial material can be removed and the abdomen can be closed. With treatment, most affected children make a full recovery. However, approximately 25-40% of children born with an omphalocele also suffer from accompanying birth defects, typically heart defects, which can cause additional complications. In some cases, an omphalocele may lead to side effects like intestinal infection and death of the intestinal tissue, even with treatment.

Wellbutrin Side Effect Studies

In 2007, the New England Journal of Medicine published a revealing study in which researchers sought to examine the adverse effects of fetal exposure to certain antidepressant drugs. According to the report, women who took certain antidepressants while pregnant were more than twice as likely to give birth to children with catastrophic birth defects like omphalocele, anencephaly and craniosynostosis. Previously, in 1997, GlaxoSmithKline developed the Bupropion Pregnancy Registry in an attempt to observe the outcomes of pregnancies involving women who took Wellbutrin while pregnant. By 2008, the drug company indicated that 3.6% of the small group of infants exposed to Wellbutrin in utero were born with major birth defects.

Wellbutrin Use and 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, consult your healthcare provider to discuss alternative treatment options. It is never advised to abruptly discontinue the use of a prescription drug, as this may cause further 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 Omphalocele Side Effects

Although omphaloceles can typically be treated successfully with surgery, some affected children may continue to struggle with complications of this birth defect for the rest of their lives. If you or a loved one has suffered from a side effect like an omphalocele 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. You are not at fault for any injuries caused by a dangerous pharmaceutical drug, and you should not be held accountable for the resulting consequences. Drug companies like GSK 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 a qualified Wellbutrin attorney, 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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