McLaughlin, Glaxosmithkline, Paxil & Heart Valve Defect

McLaughlin, Glaxosmithkline, Paxil & Heart Valve Defect: A recent case in the United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit recently ruled on a motion for summary judgment.

McLaughlin, Glaxosmithkline, Paxil & Heart Valve Defect case documents what many paxil prescription drug users may be experiencing today – potential heart valve defects or potential birth defects (e.g., atrial & septal heart defects) in their child from the use of paxil (e.g., for depression while pregnant) during pregnancy.

The court ruled: We affirm.

A brief summary of the case:

  • Plaintiff Cinda McLaughlin alleges that in 2003, she began taking Paxil to treat depression.
  • Paxil was manufactured and marketed by GSK.
  • Paxil is generally classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI.
  • McLaughlin took Paxil until March 2007 and then switched to the generic equivalent, paroxetine, which was manufactured by other companies not present in this appeal.
  • On June 10, 2010, Dr. Robert Keith White surgically replaced two valves in McLaughlin’s heart.
  • Dr. White removed two specimens of the valves for pathological review, which McLaughlin alleges showed damage that was caused by cardiac exposure to increased levels of serotonin.
  • McLaughlin had previously undergone coronary artery bypass surgery in January 2004, and alleges that no damage to her heart valves was present at that time.
  • She alleges she continuously took Paxil and its generic equivalent from shortly before her January 2004 bypass surgery until her June 2010 valve replacement surgery, and that during that time she was not exposed to any other drug that could have caused the type of heart valve damage she suffered.

To find out more about the case, please follow this link: 14-30731 – March 5, 2015.


Since September 2005, scientific evidence has revealed that SSRI antidepressants, such as Paxil, Zoloft (sertraline), Prozac (fluoxetine), and Lexapro (escitalopram), may cause birth defects in children whose mothers took these or other SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy.

The same has been shown for SNRI (serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants like Effexor (venlafaxine).

Studies have linked the use of Depakote and SSRI/SSRIs like Paxil and Zoloft during pregnancy with an increased risk of birth defects like:

  1. heart congenital defects (cardiac birth defects in babies, risk birth injury defects)
  2. heart valve defects (holes in the walls of the chambers of the heart)
    1. atrial septal defects (ASD)
    2. ventricular septal defects (VSD)

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.

For other prescription drugs that may be linked to birth defects, please follow these links: Depakote, Zoloft, Birth Defect.


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, birth defect or birth defects (e.g., heart defects, PPHN, heart or lung defect) or a heart valve defect that you believe may have been caused by a defective drug, e.g., paxil – and need help filing a paxil lawsuit, contact our office at 1.844.329.5955.