Zoloft and Craniosynostosis Side Effects

Zoloft use in pregnancy and Craniosynostosis birth defects may be linked and Zoloft attorneys are filing lawsuits to seek compensation for affected families.  If your child was born with birth defects, contact a Zoloft lawyer for help.

Zoloft side effect studies and FDA warnings have identified Zoloft use in pregnancy as a potential risk factor for the development of severe side effects among children, including a craniofacial birth defect called craniosynostosis. Zoloft is an antidepressant drug which belongs to a class of medications called SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. These drugs work by increasing the level of serotonin in the brain, thereby relieving depression and improving certain mood disorders. Zoloft (sertraline) have been available in the U.S. since 1991, and has since been FDA-approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and severe cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Zoloft is currently manufactured by pharmaceutical company, Pfizer. Despite the popularity of SSRI antidepressant drugs like Zoloft, serious concerns have been raised about the safety of these medications, especially in treating pregnant women. If you took Zoloft during pregnancy and your child was born with a major birth defect like craniosynostosis, contact a Zoloft attorney immediately, as your child may be entitled to lifetime care.

Craniosynostosis Symptoms

Craniosynostosis is a severe birth defect characterized by the premature closing of an affected infant's cranial sutures. Sutures are the joints which separate individual cranial bones, and contribute to the elasticity of the skull. When one or more cranial sutures close earlier than normal, that particular part of the skull is unable to expand with brain growth, resulting in a misshapen head. There are several different types of craniosynostosis, named for the type of sutures involved. Sagittal synostosis affects the main suture on the top of the head, frontal plagiocephaly involves the suture that runs from ear to ear on top of the head, and metopic synostosis involves the suture close to the forehead. Regardless of the type of craniosynostosis, the resulting symptoms include:

  • Misshapen head
  • Failure of head size to increase over time
  • A raised hard ridge along the affected sutures
  • Absence of the fontanelle (soft spot)

Craniosynostosis Treatment and Prognosis

Children born with craniosynostosis typically require reconstructive surgery to correct the malformation. The main goals of craniosynostosis treatment are to restore the normal appearance of the child's head, relieve any excess pressure on the brain, and create enough room in the skull for future brain growth. With prompt diagnosis and treatment, children born with this malformation typically make a full recovery. However, if left untreated, craniosynostosis can become permanent and lead to devastating side effects, including seizures, increased intracranial pressure and developmental delay.

FDA Warnings and Zoloft Side Effect Studies

In 2006, the FDA issued a public health advisory warning patients and healthcare providers about the increased risk of a severe heart and lung birth defect called PPHN, among children exposed to SSRI drugs like Zoloft in utero. This FDA warning was based on the results of a New England Journal of Medicine study published earlier that year in which researchers found an alarming six-fold increased risk of PPHN in infants whose mothers took an SSRI like Zoloft after the twentieth week of pregnancy. In 2007, the NEJM published two additional SSRI side effect studies, one of which indicated that children born to women who took Zoloft or another SSRI while pregnant were more than twice as likely to suffer from catastrophic side effects like craniosynostosis, omphalocele and anencephaly.

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 fetal harm when taken during pregnancy. If you are currently taking Zoloft 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 medication without medical consent, as this may cause further harm to you or your child. With your doctor's help however, you may be able to find a safer way to treat your medical condition.

Zoloft Attorneys for Craniosynostosis Side Effects

Craniosynostosis is an extremely serious birth defect which can have life-altering complications for affected children. If you or a loved one has suffered from craniosynostosis and you believe Zoloft to be the cause, contact a Zoloft attorney to discuss the benefits of filing a Zoloft lawsuit against Pfizer. The main goal of potential Zoloft lawsuits is to help injured victims seek financial compensation for their injuries, the medical costs of treating their injuries, and the pain and suffering endured by victims and their families. Drug companies like Pfizer 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 an experienced Zoloft lawyer, you can collect the compensation you deserve and protect yourself and your family from further harm.

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