Many parents have watched their babies cope with one or more Zoloft birth defects, and wondered whether they have legal recourse against the drug’s manufacturer (Pfizer). Some have looked into filing a Zoloft birth defects lawsuit due to the drugmaker’s lack of disclosure about the risks. Below, we’ll present some of the most common congenital malformations to which this SSRI drug has been linked.
Zoloft is a prescription antidepressant drug known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs). Research has shown that SSRIs, when taken during pregnancy, increase the risk of numerous congenital defects.
Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension Of The Newborn (PPHN)
During fetal development, the lungs do not play a significant role in the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide from the blood. This function is handled by the placenta. The blood bypasses the lungs through a fetal blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus. When the baby is born, this vessel closes, and the lungs take over.
PPHN is a serious condition in which a baby’s circulation after birth fails to “switch over.” The ductus arteriosus stays open, allowing very little blood to reach the lungs for oxygen. This causes the newborn’s oxygen level to drop, which can lead to respiratory distress.
This is known as a neural tube defect. Normally, the backbone closes to cover the spinal cord during the first four weeks of pregnancy. Occasionally, it fails to develop properly, and allows one or more holes to remain open. This can cause spina bifida.
A baby with this disorder may lack sensation in one or more parts of the body, or be completely paralyzed. Much depends on the size of the spinal openings, and whether the spinal cord protrudes from them.
Zoloft has also been linked to a birth defect called omphalocele. This is a hole in the abdominal wall that allows one or more organs contained in the abdomen to herniate. The organs are protected by a membranous sac. If the sac ruptures, infection can gain access to the baby’s abdomen and the rest of the body.
Cranial And Brain Defects
There are two Zoloft birth defects that affect the infant’s skull and brain. The first is craniosynostosis, a disorder in which the skull’s fibrous sutures close and fuse prematurely. This prevents the skull from developing properly. There are many side effects associated with this condition, the most serious of which is intracranial pressure.
The second defect is known as anencephaly. The baby is born missing a large portion of the skull and brain. Like spina bifida, this is a neural tube defect. Unfortunately, it is always fatal within a few days of birth.
Arterial Defects Of The Heart
The pulmonary artery delivers blood from the right ventricle (lower chamber of the heart) to the lungs. Another artery called the aorta delivers blood from the left ventricle to the body. A rare congenital defect called transposition of the great arteries (TGA) has both blood vessels attached to the wrong ventricles. They are transposed. Among other problems, this prevents oxygenated blood on the left side of the heart from circulating throughout the body.
Another birth defect is called coarctation of the aorta. Here, the artery is narrower than normal. As a result, the baby’s heart is forced to pump harder in order to push sufficient blood out to the body.
The right and left sides of the heart are separated by a wall of tissue called the septum. The septum prevents oxygen-rich blood on the left side from mixing with oxygen-poor blood on the right side. Septal defects are holes in the wall.
When the hole is located between the two upper chambers of the heart (atria), the disorder is called an atrial septal defect (ASD). A hole between the two ventricles is called a ventricular septal defect (VSD). Both conditions, if left untreated, can eventually lead to heart failure.
Zoloft Birth Defects Lawsuit Claims Information
Many other Zoloft birth defects in babies can develop when their mothers use the SSRI drug during pregnancy. Possible congenital defects include clubfoot, limb reductions, cardiomyopathy, and numerous problems affecting the heart valves. If your baby is suffering from health problems that resulted from taking this medication during pregnancy, you may have the right to file a claim for compensation. Contact an experienced Zoloft lawsuit claims attorney to discuss your options. There is a limited time to file a claim. Please contact us for the latest Zoloft lawsuit settlements information and filing deadlines.