Zoloft and Cleft Lip Side Effects

Cleft lip birth defects and Zoloft use during pregnancy may have been linked and Zoloft attorneys are filing lawsuits in the US.  Contact a lawyer if your family has been affected by Zoloft side effects.

The antidepressant Zoloft has come under significant scrutiny in recent years, due to data suggesting that the drug may be associated with an increased risk of side effects like the birth defect, cleft lip. Zoloft, manufactured by Pfizer, is one of the most commonly-prescribed antidepressant drugs available in the U.S. and has been on the market since 1991. Zoloft (sertraline) belongs to a class of antidepressant drugs called SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which function by restoring the balance of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Since its introduction, Zoloft has been approved to treat conditions like major depressive disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, panic attacks and severe cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Despite the popularity of antidepressant drugs like Zoloft, serious concerns have been raised about the safety of these medications, especially in treating pregnant women. If you took Zoloft while pregnant and your child was born with a side effect like a cleft lip birth defect, contact a Zoloft attorney to discuss your legal options.

Cleft Lip Described

Cleft lip is a type of craniofacial malformation, characterized by the failure of a child's upper lip to form properly during fetal development. A cleft lip side effect presents as a vertical fissure in one or both sides of the upper lip, which may even extend up through the nose in severe instances. Under normal circumstances, a child's lips are fully formed five to six weeks after conception. If there isn't enough tissue in the lip area as these oral structures are forming however, a cleft lip may occur.

Cleft Lip Treatment and Complications

The only way to permanently repair a cleft lip is for the affected child to undergo surgery. If the cleft lip is severe, multiple surgeries may be necessary to properly correct the malformation, the first of which is typically performed before the child is three months old. In some cases, the child may also require long-term dental care. Without treatment, children born with cleft lip may suffer from significant complications, including feeding difficulties, recurring ear infections, hearing loss, missing or malformed teeth, and delays in speech and language development.

FDA Warnings and Zoloft Side Effect Studies

In 2006, the FDA issued a public health advisory warning patients and healthcare professionals about the increased risk of a severe heart and lung defect called PPHN in children exposed to SSRI antidepressants like Zoloft in pregnancy. This FDA warning came on the heels of a New England Journal of Medicine study, in which researchers found an alarming six-times increased risk of PPHN among newborns whose mothers took an SSRI like Zoloft after the twentieth week of pregnancy. In 2007, the NEJM published two additional studies in which researchers sought to examine the potential link between SSRI antidepressants like Zoloft and birth defects. According to the first study, infants whose mothers took an SSRI during early pregnancy were nearly twice as likely to develop birth defects like limb defects, club foot and anal atresia. Researchers also found a possible connection between SSRIs and neural tube birth defects, cleft lip and cleft palate.

Zoloft Use in Pregnancy

Zoloft has been classified by the FDA as a pregnancy category C medication, which means it has the potential to cause serious harm to a fetus when taken during pregnancy. If you are currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant, and you are taking Zoloft, consult your physician to discuss alternative treatment options. You should never stop taking a prescription drug without medical consent, but with your doctor's help you may be able to find a safer way to treat your condition.

Zoloft Attorneys for Cleft Lip Side Effects

Although cleft lip is treatable, many children born with this birth defect require multiple surgical treatments and some may even require long-term care, which can result in significant medical expenses. If you or a loved one has suffered from a side effect which you believe to be linked to the antidepressant Zoloft, contact a Zoloft attorney to discuss your options for legal recourse. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering, which you can collect by filing a Zoloft lawsuit against Pfizer. You are not at fault for any injuries caused by a dangerous pharmaceutical drug, and you should not be responsible for the resulting consequences. By hiring a qualified Zoloft lawyer to represent your case, you can protect your rights and collect the compensation you deserve.

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