Paxil, Birth Defect, BAV & GlaxoSmithKline

Paxil, Birth Defect, BAV & GlaxoSmithKline is about a mother who took paxil during pregnancy and alleges that the paxil caused her child’s birth defect (e.g., bicuspid aortic valve, BAV).

The Paxil, Birth Defect, BAV & GlaxoSmithKline case in the United States District Court, D. Connecticut recently ruled on a motion to strike or exclude an expert report.

A brief summary of the case:

  • K.E., a minor, has a heart defect, more specifically, a bicuspid aortic valve with aortic valve insufficiency (“BAV”).
  • K.E., along with his parent and natural guardian Nichole El-Massri (“Plaintiffs”), have sued SmithKline Beecham Corporation d/b/a GlaxoSmithKline and GlaxoSmithKline LLC (“GSK” or “Defendant”), the manufacturer of Paxil, an anti-depressant that Ms. El-Massri allegedly ingested while pregnant and which Plaintiffs claim caused K.E.’s birth defect.
  • In support of their claim, Plaintiffs rely on the proffered expert testimony of Dr. William Ravekes, who opines that Paxil causes BAVs generally and caused K.E.’s BAV specifically. GSK has moved to exclude Dr. Ravekes’s testimony and, for this reason and others, has also moved for summary judgment.
  • The court ruled: Granted – expert report disallowed and summary judgment granted.
  • To find out more about the case, please follow this link: Paxil and BAV – March 17, 2016.


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, Zofran.


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) 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.