If you have taken an antidepressant or SSRI during pregnancy and had a child with Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN), you may have a PPHN lawsuit. The FDA has recently issued a new safety warning after more evidence found that there may be a link between antidepressants and PPHN. Many mothers are now seeking legal action against the drug-makers. You may be entitled to compensation. Our PPHN lawyer may be able to help.
What You Can Do & How a PPHN Lawyer Can Help
The Schmidt Firm, LLP is currently accepting Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has has a child with this birth defect after taking an antidepressant or SSRI, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our PPHN Lawyer and Antidepressant Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
UPDATE: Risk of PPHN Doubled in Women who Took Antidepressants
In January 2012, reserachers found that pregnant women who take antidepressants during pregnancy may be twice as likely to have a baby with Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN), especially when the women took antidepressant medications in the second half of pregnancy. The researchers stressed that the number of babies who suffer PPHN is still small, more research needs to be conducted, and depression itself is a serious disease. The researchers looked at data from 30,000 women to took an antidepressant during pregnancy. They baseline risk of PPHN is 1.2 per 1,000 live births, and when a woman took an antidepressant, this increased to 2.1 per 1,000 live births.
FDA Safety Warning for Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn
On December 14, 2011, the FDA issued a notice regarding serious, life-threatening birth defects caused by antidepressant medications. If pregnant mothers take these medications during pregnancy, she may be more likely to have a baby with Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN), which occurs when the baby is unable to breathe on its own and must remain on a ventilator. The FDA issued its first safety announcement regarding PPHN and the link to antidepressants in June 2006. Since then, several studies have been conducted, but the findings have been conflicting. The FDA is erring on the side of caution, and will be updating the safety labeling on prescription medications to include this new information. Pregnant mothers should be aware that using antidepressants and SSRIs may increase her chance of having a baby with PPHN.
What antidepressants are linked to PPHN?
Antidepressants and SSRIs have been linked to several types of birth defects, including Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN). This class of medications includes the following drugs:
- Paxil (Paroxetine)
- Zoloft (Sertraline)
- Celexa (Citalopram)
- Prozac (Fluoxetine)
- Lexapro (Escitalopram)
- Symbyax (fluoxetine and olanzapine)
- Wellbutrin (Bupropion)
- Effexor (Venlafaxine)
What is PPHN?
Before a baby is born, it does not need to use its lungs to breathe, because the mother’s placenta provides oxygen and nutrients. Therefore, the baby’s heart normally forms with a hole (called the “ductus arteriosus”) that allows blood to bypass the lungs. After the baby is born, however, it undergoes a dramatic heart-lung circulatory change.
The pulmonary vascular resistance drops dramatically, the direction of the blood is reversed in the ductus arteriosus, and blood flows into the lungs. The baby sucks air into its lungs, the ductus arteriosus permanently closes within a few minutes or hours, and the heart-lung system begins to effectively pump oxygen-rich blood to the body.
For a baby born with Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension, the circulatory system doesn’t undergo this dramatic change. The pulmonary vascular resistance remains high in the lungs, and so there is very little blood flow to the lungs. The ductus arteriosus remains open and the blood continues to bypass the lungs. As a result, the baby remains in an oxygen-deprived state.
Signs & Symptoms of PPHN
Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn occurs after the baby is born, when the blood-pressure in the lungs remains high, preventing blood-flow into the lungs. Because very little blood is able to circulate through the lungs, the child quickly becomes oxygen-deprived.
Symptoms to watch out for after the baby is born:
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heart-rate
- Respiratory distress
- Cyanosis (when the baby’s skin, nails, and lips turn blue due to lack of oxygen)
- Heart murmur
The baby will need to be referred to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to receive treatment. The first step is maximizing the amount of oxygen in the baby’s lungs, so that the small amount of blood circulating through the lungs can become oxygenated. The baby will be placed on a ventilator and a tube will be inserted into its lungs to provide concentrated oxygen. Nitrous oxide may also be given. The blood pressure in the lungs may change rapidly.
Treatment will depend on the location of the hypertension. The doctor will likely try to use several types of medications to lower the blood pressure enough that blood flows into the lungs. In the most serious cases, the newborn may need to undergo surgery.
How do I contact a PPHN Lawyer for a PPHN Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, LLP is currently accepting antidepressant induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has had a child with PPHN after taking an antidepressant, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our PPHN Lawyer and Antidepressant Birth Defect Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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