Prozac ad Birth Defects
Prozac is the brand name of fluoxetine, an antidepressant manufactured and sold by Eli Lilly. Prozac is among a class of drugs known as selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.
SSRIs 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.
Eli Lily and other SSRI manufacturers have also come under scrutiny for particularly aggressive marketing techniques around antidepressants. Prozac, since it was one of the first SSRIs widely publicized, has become almost synonymous with antidepressants, more than fifty four million prescriptions for Prozac have been written worldwide.
But now that long-term data on the usage of Prozac and other SSRIs has begun to emerge, a 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 Prozac and other SSRIs with a number of severe birth defects.
Prozac 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 Prozac 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.
Prozac has also been associated with heart defects, including septal defects, a type of heart birth defect are often called "holes in the heart" and in the majority of cases will require surgical intervention to correct. Prozac and other SSRIs have also been linked to obstruction defects that can severely interfere with heart function.
Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension
A second study in 2006 also prompted an FDA warning about the dangers of taking Prozac later in pregnancy. The FDA warned of a potentially life threatening condition in the newborn children of women who had taken Prozac after the 20th week of pregnancy.
The FDA cited a study that found that children born to mothers who had taken Prozac 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 Prozac and other SSRIs to pregnant women and that the risks should be thoroughly discusses with women before Prozac or other SSRIs were prescribed.
Warnings from Around the World
Prozac is prescribed and sold around the world. The United States is not the only country where questions about the drug and its effect on pregnant women and their children have been raised. Across the world, many public health institutions have cautioned doctors about the risk or Prozac and birth defects.
- Health Canada, the Canadian national health service, issued a warning in 2009 cautioning doctors to be extremely cautious when prescribing Prozac and other SSRIs to pregnant or potentially pregnant women. Health Canada noted in its statement that SSRI use had also been associated with "an increase in the overall risk of major birth defects".
- A 2006 joint Danish and US Study found that Prozac and other SSRIs was linked to as much as a 40% increase in certain types of birth defects.
- In 2009, the British National Health Service published a warning saying that doctors should be extremely cautious in prescribing SSRI antidepressants to pregnant women.
In the United States, 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 Prozac manufacturer Eli Lilly, and many of these lawsuits have been quietly settled out of court. If you or your child have been harmed by Prozac, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries by filing a lawsuit.
Prozac Birth Defect Lawsuits
If you or your child have been harmed by Prozac 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 Prozac-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.