As a parent, contending with the impact of a fetal birth defect can be one of the most gripping, tumultuous experiences one can face – particularly if the condition could have been prevented with an adequate warning or explanation of the risk.
For women having taken Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) during pregnancy, birth defects have quickly become a central component of the conversation as many doctors, patients and advocates have come to realize the true dangers of these drugs when taken during pregnancy.
Perhaps even more disheartening is the fact that most women turn to SSRI medications for help with the unexpected – and often debilitating – emotional side effects of pregnancy, only to face an entirely new set of challenges brought about by the supposed remedy.
If you are pregnant or recently had a child and he or she was diagnosed with any of the birth defects discussed hereafter, keep in mind that you are not alone. Thousands of families across the United States are facing a plight similar to yours, and many have banded together to hold drug maker Pfizer responsible for its haphazard attempts to ignore the fetal risks strongly correlated with fetal exposure to drugs like Zoloft and its counterparts.
The product liability attorneys at Edelman, Krasin and Jaye are currently offering free case evaluations to parents who believe their child suffers Zoloft-related birth defects.
A Zoloft lawsuit can not only bring about peace of mind for family, but can achieve compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and lifelong care necessitated by the damage inflicted by Zoloft or other SSRI’s when taken during pregnancy.
Zoloft side effects and pregnancy
Fetal development is one of the most delicate processes known to nature – and the simplest alteration of chemistry can leave a lifelong effect on some babies. SSRI drugs are powerful antidepressants designed to regulate and balance sensitive serotonin levels in the brain – which in turn helps to elevate and stabilize a patient’s mood and general outlook. SSRI drugs are most often prescribed for the treatment of depression, generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. When taken outside the confines of pregnancy, these drugs are considered highly useful in combating the effects of mental health disorders. However, the side effects associated with fetal exposure to SSRI’s – particularly in the latter stages of pregnancy – are too serious and life-changing to ignore.
The Food and Drug Association (FDA) has assigned Zoloft of a “Category C” risk certification when taken during pregnancy – meaning fetal impact cannot be ruled out. According to several studies conducted upon women and babies already prescribed Zoloft and other SSRI medications during pregnancy, researchers have uncovered a positive link between the drugs and the following birth complications and health issues:
- Increased risk of miscarriage;
- Premature birth;
- Preeclampsia (a condition effecting pregnant women causing extremely dangerous rises in blood pressure);
- Low birth weight;
- Development of neurobehavioral problems in the child, including autism spectrum disorders;
- Limb malformation;
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension in a newborn (PPHN);
- Heart defects;
- Cleft lip;
- Cleft palate;
- Withdrawal symptoms
The above-listed birth defects and complications are not limited solely to Zoloft, and several other popular SSRI drugs are included within the watch list of potentially dangerous drugs. Some of the more well-known SSRI drugs to cause potential problems for mothers and babies include Paxil, Prozac, Wellbutrin and Celexa.
Working with a Zoloft attorney
If your family has been unfairly affected by the dangerous side effects of an SSRI like Zoloft, you may be able to reclaim some of what you lost by pursuing a Zoloft lawsuit with the help of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. If you are considering litigation, we strongly encourage you to make a no-obligation consultation appointment with one of our compassionate and confidential attorneys to discuss your experience. When it comes to combatting a mega drug conglomerate like Pfizer, you need a steadfast legal advocate by your side through every step of the way.
In order to prevail as a plaintiff in your Zoloft lawsuit, you must be able to establish that the drug company failed you in some way. In the context of dangerous drug litigation, you can establish this either through a product liability lawsuit or a lawsuit in negligence. Either way, you must show that the company owed you a duty of care and breached that duty – causing your injuries.
Zoloft and product liability
Product liability lawsuits are someone unique within the field of negligence, as there is a slightly altered analysis when determining liability. Under general principles of product liability, commercial manufacturers owe consumers a duty of care and safety from the outset – established merely by the fact the company places its products in the stream of commerce. Said another way, if a manufacturer (e.g., Pfizer) decides to expose consumers to its products, the products must be reasonably safe for consumer use.
If a consumer is injured by a product like a dangerous drug, liability may be established one of several ways. First, a Zoloft attorney can advance the claim that the drug was defectively designed and should have never been sold to consumers in the first place. A second option is to assert the drug was designed properly, but some sort of malfunction occurred in the manufacture of the product – causing harm.
Third, a plaintiff can contend that the drug company knew (or should have known) of the potential pregnancy risks and failed to warn consumers of the known problems. This third option may be proven through the introduction of test studies or clinical trials tending to show a correlation between test subjects and resulting defects. In the alternative, this can be shown by a lack of proper testing of a product – possibly suggesting actionable willful ignorance.
EKJ Law: national product liability lawyers
If you are facing the effects of an SSRI on your pregnancy, we are here to help. To discuss your rights and options moving forward from a legal perspective, please give Edelman, Krasin & Jaye, PLLC a call right away. We are proud to serve personal injury plaintiffs and offer free consultations for parents looking for the next step.
To make an appointment, call 1-800-469-7429 today.
- US News, Common Antidepressants Too Risky During Pregnancy Some Researchers Say, http://health.usnews.com
- FDA, Seraltine (marketed as Zoloft) information, http://www.fda.gov/drugs/drugsafety/postmarketdrugsafetyinformation