In Re: Zoloft & Birth Defects: A recent case in the United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania recently ruled on a motion on expert testimony.
In Re: Zoloft & Birth Defects case documents what many zoloft prescription drug users may be experiencing today – potential birth defects in their child from the use of zoloft during pregnancy. The court ruled in favor of the Defendant in the case.
To find out more on the case, see Case No. 12-md-2342 – June 27, 2014.
A brief summary of the facts include:
- Plaintiffs in this multi-district litigation (MDL 2342) allege that the antidepressant Zoloft, when taken during pregnancy, caused birth defects in the children born to exposed mothers.
- The Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (“PSC”) in MDL 2342 proposes to offer the testimony of various expert witnesses on the issue of general causation.
- These expert witnesses include Anick Bérard, a perinatal pharmacoepidemiologist, who holds a Ph.D. in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from McGill University, and who teaches at the Université de Montréal.
- Dr. Bérard has conducted research on the effect of drugs, including antidepressants, on human fetal development, and opines that Zoloft, when used at therapeutic dose levels during human pregnancy, is capable of causing a range of birth defects (i.e., is a teratogen).
- Zoloft is a prescription antidepressant, commonly used to treat depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
- The active ingredient in Zoloft is sertraline. Zoloft is one of a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Serotonin is a neurotransmitter produced endogenously by humans and other animals.
- The SSRIs do not contain serotonin; rather, they alter the availability in the nervous system of the serotonin produced by the body. The FDA categorizes Zoloft as a Pregnancy Category C drug.
Studies have linked the use of SSRI/SSRIs like Paxil and Zoloft during pregnancy with an increased risk of birth defects like heart congenital defects (cardiac birth defects in babies, risk birth injury defects) – heart valve defects, atrial (ASD) and ventricular septal defects (VSD) (holes in the walls of the chambers of the heart) – in newborns when Paxil or Zoloft is taken during the pregnancy (possibly the first first three months of pregnancy) and persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), a life-threatening respiratory condition that affects a baby’s ability to breathe after birth.
Zoloft may be associated with a higher rate of suicide among users, as well. But, the most concern with Zoloft is the potential connection between Zoloft and birth defects. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, the use of Zoloft during pregnancy may pose a serious risk to the developing baby, including:
- an increased risk of heart defects;
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN);
- omphalocele (an abdominal wall defect through which a sac containing the small intestine, liver, and large intestine protrudes); and
- craniosynostosis (early closing of skull sutures resulting in an abnormally-shaped head).
A recent study published in 2010 in Clinical Epidemiology found that taking SSRIs while pregnant doubles or in some cases quadruples the risk of birth defects.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a birth defect you believe was caused by an SSRI like Zoloft or Paxil or another prescription drug (e.g., depakote…), please contact us so our experienced defective drug injury lawyers can discuss your case with you and help you file a zoloft, paxil or depakote lawsuit.
At the Gooch Law Firm, we pride ourselves on providing our clients reliable representation for even the most challenging cases. If you have a child that has a birth injury or birth defect (e.g., PPHN, heart or lung defect) that you believe may have been caused by a defective drug, e.g., paxil or zoloft – and need help filing a paxil or zoloft lawsuit, contact our office at 1.844.329.5955.
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