Lexapro and Birth Defects
Lexapro is an antidepressant manufactured and sold by Forest Laboratories. Lexapro is among a class of drugs known as selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Lexapro is a chemically refined version of Celexa, another SSRI developed by Forst Laboratories, and was developed by Forest Laboratories as a response to Celexa losing its patent protection in 2004.
Forest Laboratories and other SSRI manufacturers have also come under scrutiny for particularly aggressive marketing techniques around antidepressants. Forest Laboratories marketing of Celexa and Lexapro has come under particularly close regard, when in 2009 the Justice Department charged the company with illegally marketing the drugs for unapproved uses in children and teenagers.
Drugs in the SSRI category have been controversial since their first introduction onto the market in the 1990s. Numerous studies have questioned the effectiveness of the drugs, and reports of severe side effects including suicidal and violent behaviors began to quickly accumulate.
Long-term data on the usage of Lexapro and other SSRIs has begun to emerge, and clear picture of the very real dangers that these drugs present to their users and to their families has begun to emerge. In the past few years, strong evidence has begun to emerge linking Lexapro and other SSRIs with a number of severe birth defects.
Lexapro and Birth Defects
A 2006 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that there was a significant association of risk from taking Lexapro and other SSRI medication during the first trimester of pregnancy and specific birth defects.
These birth defects included Omphalocele, a birth defect in which a child is born with the intestines, liver, and occasionally other organs outside of the abdomen because of a defect in the development of the abdominal wall muscles.
Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension
The FDA cited a study that found that children born to mothers who had taken Lexapro or other SSRIs late in pregnancy were six times more likely to have persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) than infants born to mothers who did not take antidepressants during pregnancy. Neonatal PPHN is a condition in which a baby is unable to properly process oxygen while breathing, a condition that can be immediately fatal and has potential long-term health consequences. The FDA recommended that physicians be extremely cautious in prescribing Lexapro and other SSRIs to pregnant women and that the risks should be thoroughly discussed with women before Lexapro or other SSRIs were prescribed.
Forest Laboratories Aggressive Marketing Practices
Lexapro Manufacturer Forest Laboratories has been aggressively pushing Lexapro since before the patent on its chemically similar sister drug Celexa expired in 2004. Forest Laboratories marketing practices in getting doctors to prescribe Lexapro and patients to take the medication has been so aggressive that it has repeatedly brought the company under the eye of regulators and the Justice Department.
- Forest Laboratories has faced criminal charges from the US Justice Department for its marketing practices, including allegations that it paid doctors to prescribe Lexapro.
- Forest Executives have also faced allegations of lying to congress to cover up wrongdoing.
- In 2009, the US Justice Department filed charges against Forest Laboratories, claiming it had illegally marketed Lexapro to children. In 2010, the company settled this complaint and related civil litigation by agreeing to pay $313 million.
Often the only recourse that someone who has been harmed by a dangerous drug has is to pursue a lawsuit against the manufacturer. Multiple lawsuits have been filed against Lexapro manufacturer Forest Laboratories, and many of these lawsuits have been quietly settled out of court. If you or your child have been harmed by Lexapro, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries by filing a lawsuit.
Lexapro Birth Defect Lawsuits
If you or your child have been harmed by Lexapro side effects, the law firm of Blizzard & Nabers can help. For more than 25 years, our pharmaceutical attorneys have successfully represented our clients and stood up for the rights of people harmed by pharmaceutical companies and dangerous drugs. We are a nationwide law firm serving clients from all over the country. We handle all Lexapro-related injury cases on a contingency basis.
To learn more, or for a free case review from an experienced pharmaceutical attorney, please contact us by email or call us at 1-800-349-0127.