Zoloft and Limb Defect Side Effects

Limb birth defects are a suspected Zoloft side effect when it is taken during pregnancy and Zoloft lawyers are filing lawsuits on behalf of families affected by Zoloft birth defects.  Contact an attorney if your child was born with limb defects.

Researchers have identified Zoloft use during pregnancy as a potential risk factor for the development of serious side effects, namely birth defects among children exposed to the antidepressant drug during pregnancy. Zoloft (sertraline) is one of a group of drugs called SSRI antidepressants, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which function by restoring the balance of serotonin in the brain. By doing so, Zoloft and other antidepressants can effectively relieve depression and improve other mood disorders. Zoloft is currently manufactured by Pfizer, and has been approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and social anxiety disorder. Although Zoloft is one of the most frequently prescribed antidepressant drugs in the U.S., the medication may no longer be considered safe, especially in the treatment of pregnant women. If you took Zoloft while pregnant and your child was born with a limb defect or another side effect, contact a Zoloft attorney to discuss your legal options.

Limb Defects Described

Limb defects occur when an upper or lower limb, or a portion of the limb, fails to develop properly in utero, resulting in a limb or digit that is of abnormal size, or is absent altogether. There are a number of different types of limb defects, including:

  • Complete absence of a limb
  • Overgrowth – a limb that is much larger than normal
  • Undergrowth – a limb that is much smaller than normal
  • Failure to separate – such as webbed fingers or toes
  • Duplication – such as extra fingers or toes
  • Constriction band syndrome – a constricting band of tissue forms around the limb, restricting blood flow and tissue growth

Club Foot

One of the most common types of limb defects is called club foot, a defect in which one or both of a child's feet are smaller than normal and internally rotated at the ankle. In many cases, the malformation is so pronounced that the child may begin to walk on the ankles or outsides of the feet, if left untreated. Although club foot is virtually painless at birth, it can become an extremely debilitating condition later in life. Over time, large callouses or sores may begin to develop on the feet, and the child may begin to suffer from an awkward gait and restricted calf muscle growth.

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 PPHN in children exposed to SSRI antidepressants like Zoloft during pregnancy. This FDA warning was based on the results of a New England Journal of Medicine study published earlier that year, in which researchers found a shocking six-fold increased risk of PPHN in infants whose mothers took Zoloft or another SSRI antidepressant after the twentieth week of pregnancy. In 2007, the NEJM published two additional SSRI antidepressant studies, the first of which indicated that women who took an SSRI like Zoloft in early pregnancy were nearly twice as likely to give birth to children with birth defects like club foot, limb defects and anal atresia.

Zoloft Use in Pregnancy

Zoloft has been classified by the FDA as a pregnancy category C medication, which means it may cause severe fetal harm if 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. It may be dangerous to suddenly discontinue use of a prescription medication, 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.

Zoloft Attorneys for Limb Defect Side Effects

Children born with limb defects like club foot typically require extensive treatment, sometimes including surgery, prostheses, orthotics or rehabilitation. In addition, with poorly developed digits or limbs, affected children may be unable to perform everyday tasks like picking up objects or playing with toys. If you or a loved one has suffered from a limb defect, and you believe Zoloft to be the cause, 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. Drug companies like Pfizer are responsible for the safety of their medications, and should be held accountable 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, injured victims can collect the compensation they deserve and protect themselves from further harm.

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