Articles Posted in Zoloft

Note: We have a 2022 update on the Zoloft lawsuits at the bottom of this post.  The rest of the post was written seven years ago in 2015 when there were high hopes for the class action Zoloft lawsuit. 

Depression treatment is essential.  This is especially true during pregnancy.  Untreated depression can have harmful effects on both the mother and the baby.  But we are learning more about the use of antidepressants and the increased risk of problems for the baby.

Zofran Safety Study in 2015

This study supports prior findings that women who use Zoloft during pregnancy are at an increased risk of giving birth to an infant with birth defects that could include severe heart or cranial malformations.

According to findings published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the use of Zoloft may increase the risk of atrial and ventricular defects by more than 30%, and more than double the risk of craniosynostosis. (2022 Update: In fairness, this study has not been replicated and most experts believe Zoloft is safe during pregnancy in 2022.  That does not mean that it is but it is fair to say that most experts today believe Zoloft is safe for pregnant women.)

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zoloft birth defects

Zoloft birth defect lawsuits… do you have a potential claim?

Zoloft has been associated with an increased risk of birth defects in infants whose mothers took Zoloft during pregnancy. These Zoloft birth defects run the gambit of minor problems to life-threatening problems that could lead to permanent injury or death.  As of May 5, 2014, there have been over 420 lawsuits filed.  Many more parents are sitting on the sidelines deciding whether to bring a claim.  By 2018, virtually all of these cases have been dismissed.

An Overview of the Association Between Zoloft and Birth Defects

Over the last 10 years, SSRI’s like Zoloft have been accused by plaintiffs’ lawyers of causing everything from Akathisia to Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. I’m making up the latter, but you get the idea. Zoloft has been a controversial drug with a lawsuit target on its back. Some of these allegations have stuck, others have been thoroughly dismissed, and some we still just don’t know. The evidence of an association between Zoloft and birth defects, however, has been growing at an accelerated rate.

Zoloft (Sertraline) is one of the most prescribed drugs in the world for the treatment of various problems. It belongs to a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is used to treat several conditions, including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic attacks, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) social anxiety disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Sertraline works by increasing the amounts of serotonin, a natural substance in the brain that helps maintain mental balance.

Back in July 2006, the FDA issued an alert after a study reported that infants born to mothers who took SSRIs after the 20th week of pregnancy were 6 times more likely to have persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) than infants who were born to mothers who did not take antidepressants during their pregnancy. PPHN causes newborns to have increased pressure in the blood vessels in their lungs. As a result, they cannot get enough oxygen into their bloodstream. The risk of a woman having a child with PPHN in the general population is about 1 to 2 infants per 1000 live births.

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