Zoloft side effects when used during pregnancy may lead to birth defects in children and Zoloft attorneys nationwide are filing lawsuits on behalf of affected families.

Despite the fact that Zoloft was the most commonly prescribed antidepressant in 2007, recent studies have suggested that the drug may be associated with serious side effects. Among these potential Zoloft side effects is an increased risk of major birth defects among infants exposed to Zoloft during pregnancy. Zoloft 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. By doing so, Zoloft and other SSRI drugs can effectively relieve depression and improve certain mood disorders. Zoloft has been on the U.S. market since 1991 and has since been FDA-approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Zoloft is currently manufactured by pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, Inc. In light of new information about potential Zoloft side effects, serious concerns have been raised about the safety of the antidepressant drug. If you or a loved one has suffered from a potential Zoloft side effect, contact a Zoloft attorney to discuss your legal options.

Potential Zoloft Birth Defects

According to an emerging body of research, infants born to women who take SSRI antidepressants like Zoloft may have a considerably increased risk of developing major birth defects. Among the birth defects potentially associated with Zoloft use during pregnancy are:

  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn
  • Neural tube defects
  • Heart defects
  • Limb defects
  • Cleft palate
  • Cleft lip
  • Craniosynostosis
  • Anal atresia
  • Omphalocele

Due to the severity of these birth defects, the FDA has advised physicians to avoid prescribing Zoloft to pregnant women or women of childbearing age unless the possible benefits of the treatment outweigh the potential risks to the fetus.

Zoloft Side Effect Studies and FDA Warnings

The FDA issued a public health advisory in 2006 warning patients and healthcare providers about the increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) among infants exposed to SSRIs like Zoloft in utero. PPHN is a serious birth defect in which an infant's circulation continues to bypass the lungs after birth, depriving the rest of the body of the oxygen it needs to survive. This FDA warning was based on the results of a New England Journal of Medicine study published earlier that year. According to researchers, infants whose mothers took Zoloft or other SSRI drugs after the twentieth week of pregnancy were an alarming six times more likely to develop PPHN, compared to infants whose mothers received no antidepressant treatment while pregnant.

In 2007, the NEJM published two additional studies in which researchers sought to examine the adverse side effects of SSRI drugs like Zoloft. According to the first study, infants exposed to an SSRI like Zoloft during the first trimester of pregnancy were nearly twice as likely to develop side effects like club foot, anal atresia and limb defects. Researchers also found a potential link between SSRIs like Zoloft and neural tube defects, cleft palate and cleft lip. The second study indicated that infants exposed to an SSRI like Zoloft during pregnancy were more than twice as likely to be born with devastating birth defects like craniosynostosis, anencephaly and omphalocele.

Zoloft Use in Pregnancy

Zoloft has been labeled a pregnancy category C medication by the FDA, 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 healthcare professional immediately. It may be dangerous to suddenly discontinue the use of Zoloft, as this may cause further harm to you or your child. However, with your doctor's help, you may be able to find a safer alternative to Zoloft for treating your medical condition.

Zoloft Attorneys for Side Effects

The side effects potentially associated with Zoloft use during pregnancy are significant and may cause irreversible harm to an affected child. If you or a loved one has suffered from a side effect which you believe to be linked to Zoloft, contact a Zoloft attorney to discuss your options for legal resource. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, the medical expenses associated with injury treatment, and the pain and suffering endured by you and your family. Drug companies like Pfizer are responsible for the safety and effectiveness of their medications, and should be held accountable for any adverse side effects sustained by consumers of their products. Unfortunately, some pharmaceutical companies intentionally conceal the more serious side effects of their medications in order to make their products more appealing to the public. This deceptive practices exposes millions of consumers to unnecessary harm and possibly even death, without their knowledge. With the help of a qualified Zoloft lawyer, victims of potential Zoloft birth defects can seek timely and fair reimbursement, and protect themselves and their families from further harm.

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