Zoloft and Birth Defects
Zoloft is the brand name of the antidepressant sertraline sold by Pfizer. Zoloft is among a class of drugs known as selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Despite being controversial since their introduction, Zoloft and other SSRIs have become widely prescribed to treat depression and a number of other conditions, and have been prescribed by doctors to treat the mood swings and depression common in pregnant women.
SSRIs have come under close scrutiny ever since they first came onto the market in the 1990s, initially because of reports associating these drugs with suicide and violent behavior, and more recently as a links between Zoloft and other SSRIs and a number of serious birth defects began to emerge.
These reports of birth defects are just the latest in the long line of issues that Zoloft and other SSRIs have faced, and multiple investigations have questioned whether these drugs are overprescribed, too dangerous, or not actually effective. But with the potential harm to innocent children, Zoloft and other SSRIs are coming under even more scrutiny.
A History of Zoloft Birth Defects
Warnings about Zoloft and birth defects first began to emerge in 2006, as studies began to emerge linking Zoloft and other SSRIs taken early in pregnancy with a wide range of birth defects.
Zoloft in the News
- Pfizer Accused of Lack of Disclosure
- Depression dilemma in pregnancy: Ditch meds?
- For Moms, Therapy Beats Drugs
- U.S. Obstetricians Link Antidepressants, Birth Defect Risk
- Health Canada Sounds Antidepressant Warning
- First-Trimester Use of Selective Serotonin-Reuptake Inhibitors and the Risk of Birth Defects
- SSRI antidepressants and birth defects
These Zoloft-induced birth defects included abnormal muscle tone, omphalocele and abnormal intestinal development, limb reduction defects, and defects of the mouth and septum that could lead to difficulty in sucking and feeding. Doctors across the world were advised to be extremely cautions in prescribing SSRIs to pregnant and potentially pregnant women.
Studies have also emerged that suggest that women who took Zoloft or other SSRIs in the third trimester of pregnancy were much more likely to give birth to children suffering from persistent pulmonary hypertension. This potentially life-threatening condition involves problems with the baby’s blood circulation, resulting in respiratory problems and lack of oxygen in the blood. Apart from the immediate threat to the baby’s life, these conditions can cause developmental difficulties, and infants who suffer from neonatal persistent pulmonary hypertension are at particularly high risk of developing permanent hearing loss.
- In February of 2206, the FDA issued a warning about the risk of neonatal persistent pulmonary hypertension.
- Health Canada, the Canadian public health authority, followed suit in March by issuing a warning doctors to be extremely cautious in prescribing Zoloft or any SSRI to women who were pregnant or who may become pregnant.
- A study released in December of 2006 revealed that Between 20% and 30% of newborns exposed to Zoloft and other SSRIs in the later stages of pregnancy were likely to have disorders such as agitation, abnormal muscle tone, having difficulty sucking and feeding, and even seizures.
As more evidence has been come in, Zoloft has been associated with an extensive variety of heart defects, including a number of heart defects such as tetralogy or fallout, transposition of the great arteries, coarctation of the aorta, patent ductus arterioles, Ebstein’s anomaly, and total anomalous pulmonary venous return. Zoloft and other SSRIs have also been implicated in a number of intestinal disorders including omphalocele, anal atresia, and pyloric stenosis, and birth defects such as clubfoot, cleft palate and cleft lip.
Individuals and families who have been harmed by Zoloft have the right to seek compensation for their injuries. If you or your child have been harmed by Zoloft 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 Zoloft-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.