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Birth Defects Caused By Anti-Depressants

Studies from several medical institutions in the United States and elsewhere have found a link between popular antidepressant drugs and birth defects. Mothers who took certain antidepressants have been shown to have a much greater likelihood of giving birth to a baby with birth defects — many of them severe and life-threatening.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been linked to a series of birth defects. SSRI medications include Zoloft (sertraline), Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine) and Lexapro (escitalopram). In some instances, SSRIs have been shown to increase the chance of a certain defect by 600 percent.

Some non-SSRI antidepressants have also been linked to birth defects. Formerly thought to be safe for use during pregnancy, Wellbutrin with the active ingredient bupropion has recently been shown to increase the risk of birth defects in the heart, skull, and abdomen. So, too, has the smoking cessation drug Zyban, which also contains bupropion.

The parents of newborns who have suffered birth defects due to the mother’s use of antidepressant medications during pregnancy could be entitled to compensation for their injuries. Lawsuits over medication side effects are essentially product liability matters, but they may also involve medical malpractice law.

The law firm of Gemma Law Associates, Inc., has years of experience handling Rhode Island medical malpractice and product defect cases. Our firm accepts birth injury cases where the use of antidepressant drugs may be an issue. We fight to protect the rights of patients and their families. Call us at 401-437-23008 or fill our online contact form for a consultation about your case.

Birth Defects Caused By Antidepressant Medications

Studies have indicated that the use of SSRI antidepressants, including Zoloft, during pregnancy can cause a significantly increased likelihood of severe birth defects. Some of these birth defects include:

  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN);
  • Omphalocele (a type of hernia where several of the infant’s abdominal organs protrude through an opening near the belly button);
  • Anal atresia (a condition where the anus remains closed, has its opening in the wrong place or is otherwise malformed);
  • Craniosynostosis (a birth defect where the sutures in the infant’s skull harden too soon, leaving the baby with a misshapen head and face);
  • Heart birth defects (including a “hole in the heart,” malformed heart chambers and problems with the aorta);
  • Clubfoot;
  • Spina bifida (a condition where the vertebrae fail to properly enclose the spinal cord);
  • Brain damage; and
  • Improperly developed limbs.

In studies, the non-SSRI antidepressant Wellbutrin and the smoking cessation drug Zyban have been linked to the following birth defects:

  • Craniosynostosis;
  • Heart birth defects;
  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn; and
  • Omphalocele.

If you suspect your child’s birth defects were caused by antidepressant drugs such as Zoloft or Wellbutrin, you should seek legal assistance as soon as possible. Even if you are unsure, the Providence, Rhode Island, antidepressant birth defect attorneys of Gemma Law Associates, Inc., can review your case and advise you. Contact us today at 401-467-2300.


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