Zoloft and Omphalocele Side Effects

Omphalocele birth defects and Zoloft use in pregnancy may be linked and attorneys are filing Zoloft side effect lawsuits on behalf of affected families.  Contact a lawyer if birth defects have caused your child harm.

Serious concerns have been raised about the safety of the antidepressant Zoloft, due to the results of studies potentially linking Zoloft to major birth defects like omphaloceles. Zoloft is currently manufactured by pharmaceutical company Pfizer, and has been available in the U.S. since it garnered FDA approval in 1991 to treat major depressive disorder. Since then, Zoloft has been indicated for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic attacks and severe cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Zoloft (sertraline) belongs to a class of antidepressant drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, which work by restoring the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Although Zoloft is considered one of the most popular antidepressant drugs on the market, the drug may no longer be considered safe in the treatment of pregnant women due to data regarding potential Zoloft birth defects. If you took Zoloft while pregnant and your child was born with a serious birth defect, contact a Zoloft attorney to discuss your legal options.

Omphalocele Symptoms

An omphalocele is a congenital malformation affecting the development of the abominal wall muscles. In children born with an omphalocele, one or more abdominal organs may protrude from the naval, covered only by a thin layer of tissue. This type of birth defect occurs when the muscles of the abdominal wall fail to close completely during fetal development, allowing the abdominal contents to remain outside the umbilical cord. In cases of small omphaloceles, only the intestines may be involved, although in large omphaloceles, the liver and spleen may also be affected.

Omphalocele Treatment and Complications

Children born with an omphalocele require surgery to repair the malformation, although the procedure can be delayed if the child is suffering from additional defects requiring immediate treatment. During surgery, a man-made material is placed over the defect and stitched in place. Over time, the material will push the abdominal contents back into place, at which point the artificial material can be removed and the abdomen can be closed. In some cases, the omphalocele may be too large for this procedure to be successful, in which case the skin will be allowed to grow around the defect. The abdominal muscles and skin can then be repaired later in life in order to restore the normal appearance of the abdomen.

FDA Warnings and Zoloft Side Effect Studies

In 2006, the FDA issued a public health advisory warning patients and physicians about the increased risk of a severe heart and lung side effect called PPHN among infants exposed to SSRI drugs like Zoloft in utero. This FDA warning was influenced by the results of a New England Journal of Medicine study published earlier that year, in which researchers found a six-times increased risk of PPHN among children whose mothers took an SSRI like Zoloft after the twentieth week of pregnancy. In 2007, the NEJM published an additional SSRI side effect study which indicated that children exposed to Zoloft or other SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy were more than twice as likely to develop severe birth defects like omphalocele, anencephaly and craniosynostosis.

Zoloft Use During 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 taking Zoloft and you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consult your physician as soon as possible. You should never suddenly stop taking a prescription medication, but with your doctor's help, you may be able to find a safer alternative to Zoloft for treating your condition.

Zoloft Attorneys for Omphalocele Side Effects

All children have the right to lead a happy and healthy life. Unfortunately, birth defects like omphaloceles rob children of this right, often subjecting them to serious medical procedures and sometimes lifetime care. If you or a loved one has suffered from a serious Zoloft side effect, contact a Zoloft attorney to discuss your options for legal recourse. You may have grounds to file a Zoloft lawsuit against Pfizer 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. Pharmaceutical 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, some drug companies intentionally conceal the more serious side effects of their medications, in an attempt to make their product more appealing to the public. Only by hiring an experienced Zoloft lawyer can victims of potential Zoloft side effects protect their rights and collect the compensation they deserve.

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