Wellbutrin Side Effects

Wellbutrin side effects have been found to possibly lead to birth defects when taken during pregnancy and Wellbutrin lawsuits are being considered by attorneys.

Recent research indicates that Wellbutrin, one of the most popular antidepressant drugs on the U.S. market, may be linked with an increased risk of serious side effects, particularly birth defects among infants exposed to the drug during pregnancy. Since it garnered FDA approval in 1985, Wellbutrin has been prescribed to patients suffering from major depressive disorder or a condition called seasonal affective disorder. The active ingredient in Wellbutrin is bupropion, which functions by inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, two neurotransmitters responsible for controlling mood. Depression affects millions of Americans and is most often treated with antidepressants like Wellbutrin. In fact, as of 2007, Wellbutrin was the fourth most commonly prescribed antidepressant on the U.S. market, behind Zoloft, Lexapro and Prozac, with more than 20 million prescriptions filled. Wellbutrin is currently manufactured by pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline.

As new studies are published concerning the potential side effects of antidepressant drugs like Wellbutrin, these drugs are becoming the subject of significant scrutiny. The FDA has issued public health advisories warning patients and healthcare professionals about the dangers of certain antidepressant drugs, including their potential to cause birth defect side effects among infants whose mothers take these medications during pregnancy. Unfortunately, pregnant women across the country continue to take antidepressants like Wellbutrin to treat their depression, a population for which Wellbutrin may no longer be considered a safe treatment.

Alleged Wellbutrin Side Effects

One of the most recent Wellbutrin side effect studies was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2010. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded this National Birth Defects Prevention Study, an ongoing study of environmental and genetic risk factors for more than thirty categories of birth defects. According to researchers involved in this study, women who take Wellbutrin during the first trimester of pregnancy may significantly increase their risk of giving birth to a baby with a particular heart defect side effect, known as a left outflow tract defect. This report indicated that, among more than 12,700 U.S. infants born between 1997 and 2004, those born to women who took Wellbutrin during early pregnancy were more than twice as likely to develop serious heart defects like a left outflow tract defect, compared to infants whose mothers took no antidepressants while pregnant. Another 2010 side effect study was published in the American Journal of Nursing and determined that in-utero exposure to certain antidepressant drugs may be linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular side effects, including atrial septal defects and ventricular septal defects.

The potentially harmful nature of Wellbutrin has been evident for several years. In 1997, GlaxoSmithKline developed the Bupropion Pregnancy Registry in order to analyze the outcomes of pregnancies involving women who took Wellbutrin during pregnancy. By 2008, GlaxoSmithKline indicated that 3.6% of the small group of infants in the study exposed to Wellbutrin during early pregnancy were born with major birth defects. More specifically, heart side effects were present in 1.3% of infants whose mothers took Wellbutrin during pregnancy.

Birth Defect Side Effects Potentially Linked to Wellbutrin

The birth defects which recent studies have linked to Wellbutrin use during pregnancy are severe and may even be life-threatening. Among these potential Wellbutrin side effects are birth defects like PPHN, heart defects, omphalocele, craniosynostosis, neural tube birth defects, limb defects and anal atresia. While some birth defects can be effectively treated with surgery, other malformations like neural tube defects, PPHN and craniosynostosis pose a significant threat to the health and well-being of an affected child. PPHN, for example, is called persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, and occurs when a baby's circulation continues to bypass the lungs after birth, preventing the rest of the body from receiving the oxygen it needs to survive and function. Without an adequate supply of oxygen, the body's tissues and vital organs will become damaged and begin to shut down.

Wellbutrin Use in Pregnancy

As with any medication which poses a health risk to children, the FDA has advised healthcare providers to avoid prescribing Wellbutrin to pregnant women unless the possible benefits of the treatment outweigh the potential risks to the fetus. The FDA has classified Wellbutrin as a pregnancy category C medication, which means it has the potential to cause serious harm to a fetus when taken during pregnancy. Women currently taking Wellbutrin who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should consult their physician immediately to discuss alternative treatment options. It may be dangerous to suddenly discontinue use of a prescription medication, as this may cause further harm to you or your child, but with your doctor's help, you may be able to find a safer way to treat your condition.

Legal Help for Potential Wellbutrin Birth Defect Side Effects

The birth defects potentially associated with the antidepressant Wellbutrin are serious and can significantly alter the life of an affected child. If you or a loved one has suffered from an alleged Wellbutrin side effect, contact a Wellbutrin attorney to discuss your options for legal recourse. 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. Pharmaceutical companies are responsible for the safety and effectiveness of their drugs, even after they enter the market, and should be held liable for any injuries sustained by consumers. Unfortunately, some drug companies intentionally conceal the more serious side effects of their products in order to prevent negative consequences, such as a drug recall. This deceptive practice puts millions of American at risk of suffering serious injuries and even death, without their knowledge. Only by hiring an experienced Wellbutrin lawyer to represent your case can you collect the compensation you deserve and ensure your case will be handled in an effective and professional manner.

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