Prozac has been linked to a higher rate of physical birth defects and congenital malformations in infants. These conditions can be serious, life-threatening, or require extensive medical treatment. If you took Prozac during pregnancy and your baby had a physical birth defect, you are not alone. The Prozac lawyers at The Schmidt Firm, LLP are actively pursuing litigation against the pharmaceutical companies responsible for your baby’s injury, and we can help you file a Prozac lawsuit for compensation.
What You Can Do & How a Prozac Lawsuit Can Help
The Schmidt Firm, LLP is currently accepting Prozac induced physical birth defect cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has had a child with a physical birth defect caused by Prozac, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Prozac Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
Prozac (fluoxetine) is one of the most popular, profitable medications of all time, grossing around $21 billion for its manufacturer, Eli Lilly & Co. When it was introduced, it revolutionized the world of psychiatry and the treatment of depression. Millions of people have used Prozac to treat a wide variety of mood disorders — depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders, and more.
Prozac and other popular antidepressants (Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, and more) all belong to the “selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor,” or SSRI class of medications. These treat mood disorders by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain, with significantly fewer side effects than other types of antidepressants.
Unfortunately, serotonin does more than just influence mood. It also plays a key role in fetal development, which may help explain why some studies have linked Prozac to severe physical birth defects. Prozac and other SSRIs are classified as Pregnancy Category C drugs, which means that they have shown to cause birth defects in animals, but human studies are still inconclusive.
Though there is a general consensus that pregnant women should minimize the number of medications during pregnancy to reduce risk to their infant, non-treatment of depression may not be an option. It is estimated that women have a 10-25% lifetime risk of suffering from depression, with the greatest likelihood occurring during the childbearing years. Many women become pregnant while they are taking a medication to treat depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders, with the SSRI class of antidepressants being the most popular. If you took an SSRI during pregnancy, you are not alone — around 3.8% of pregnant women take an SSRI, with Prozac being one of the most common. If you took Prozac during pregnancy and your baby had a birth defect, you baby’s injury may have been caused by the medication you were taking, and you may have a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical companies responsible for your baby’s injury.
How could Prozac cause physical birth defects?
Do not start or stop taking any medication without first consulting a physician. Depression is a serious illness, and suddenly stopping Prozac may have adverse effects on you and your unborn baby.
Most people know that Prozac treats mood disorders by increasing the level of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter involved in mood, emotions, and personality. It is also involved in many stages of fetal development, particularly during the fist trimester. During the first few weeks of fetal development, a baby transforms from an embryonic cluster of cells to a fetus with a heart, central nervous system, and more. Serotonin is involved in the complex organizational process of cell proliferation, differentiation, migration, and death.
As you can imagine, medications that influence the serotonin system in a developing baby can cause severe birth defects. One of the biggest mysteries is actually why SSRIs don’t cause more birth defects, because serotonin plays such an important role in fetal development. It may be because the serotonin system is actually quite resilient, even in developing babies. The maternal use of SSRIs during pregnancy poses the greatest risk when a mother starts, stops, changes doses, or changes type of SSRI during pregnancy. During these times, the serotonin system in mother and child undergo dramatic changes.
Even if a mother takes a constant dose of SSRIs during pregnancy, the drugs can have adverse effects on a baby. Doctors know that the active drugs in Prozac pass through the placenta and the blood-brain barrier in a developing fetus, because 30% of infants are born with drug withdrawal symptoms (vomiting, convulsions, irritability, inability to sleep, difficulty feeding, etc.).
Scientific Evidence for Prozac and Physical Birth Defects
- A Antidepressants during pregnancy: a systematic review. This 2010 study reviewed the scientific evidence linking SSRIs to birth defects, and found that there had been 35 scientific studies, and 12 demonstrated a significant association between antidepressant use in early pregnancy and physical birth defects (congenital malformations).
- Fluoxetine during pregnancy: Impact on fetal development. Published in Reproductive Fertility Development in 2005, this study found that Prozac increased the amount of serotonin in a mother’s bloodstream, leading to a reduction in blood-flow to the uterus, which reduces oxygen and nutrients delivered to the developing baby. Over time, this presents a possible explanation for intrauterine growth restriction, premature delivery, and other adverse events.
Types of Physical Birth Defects
The Prozac lawyers at The Schmidt Firm, LLP are very concerned about the high number of serious physical birth defects linked to Prozac use during pregnancy, and we are actively pursuing litigation against the drug companies responsible for these injuries. We are currently accepting cases of all physical birth defects linked to Prozac, which may include the following:
- Anal Atresia: This physical defect is also known as “imperforate anus,” and it occurs when the baby is born with no anus, or a wall or tissue that blocks stools from exiting the body.
- Cleft Lip: This is a craniofacial birth defect that occurs when the flesh of the child’s upper lip does not fuse together properly, leaving a gap. Severe cases may extend into both nostrils or connect to a cleft palate.
- Cleft Palate: This is a birth defect of the roof of the mouth, including the hard palate, soft palate, or both. It may also extend into the gums or throat, or connect with a cleft lip.
- Clubfoot: Though this physical defect appears to be caused by the position of the fetus in the womb, it is actually caused by abnormal underdevelopment of tendons, ligaments, and muscles in the foot and calf. A baby with this physical defect has a foot (or both feet, “bilateral clubfoot”) turned sharply inward and downward at the ankle.
- Esophageal Atresia: This defect occurs when the esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach) ends before it reaches the stomach, or is blocked by tissue that prevents food from reaching the stomach.
- Esophageal Stenosis: This defect occurs when the esophagus is significantly more narrow than usual, preventing most food from reaching the stomach. It is also known as “esophageal stricture.”
- Hand Defects: As you can imagine, there are a wide variety of defects that can affect the hand. Fingers may be missing, fused together, significantly shorter or longer than normal, or there may be extra digits. “Clubbing” of the fingers may also occur, in which the tips of the fingers are larger than usual.
- Hypospadia: These defects affect the male urinary tract. Normally, the urethra ends at the top of the penis. Babies with this birth defect have a urethra that ends before the tip, most often on the underside of the penis. In the most serious cases, the urethra ends at the base of the penis.
- Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUG): There is strong evidence that maternal use of SSRIs decreases blood flow to the uterus, which can contribute to IUG. This condition is most severe when the child is non-symmetrically underdeveloped.
- Undescended Testicle: This defect occurs when one or both testicles fails to move into the scrotum shortly before birth. If the testicles do not descend within a few months, the child will need surgery to locate the missing testicle or relocate it into the scrotum.
Do I have a Prozac Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, LLP is currently accepting Prozac induced physical birth defect cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know had a baby with a physical birth defect after taking Prozac, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Prozac Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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