The lawsuit was filed by Erika Atkinson on behalf of her daughter, Sophia Cowan, according to Courthouse News. The infant was born in July 2011 and died in August from atrioventricular canal defect, which is a severe type of heart defect. Her mother took Celexa and/or Lexapro while she was pregnant in 2010 and 2011.
Atkinson accuses Forest Laboratories of concealing risk information linking the antidepressants and birth defects. According to the complaint, manufacturers were:
“…involved in developing, labeling, marketing, monitoring, performing regulatory compliance and reporting, performing and/or participating in clinical trials, performing drug surveillance, researching and testing of pharmaceuticals for distribution, sale, and use by the general public, including the drug Lexapro.”
Although the lawsuit was filed in New Jersey, U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler ruled that New Jersey law does not apply because the plaintiff’s injuries primarily occurred in Indiana. He did not rule on whether the case is time-barred due to the statute of limitations.
Hundreds of lawsuits have already been filed against the manufacturers of several antidepressants in the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class, including over 500 cases involving Zoloft (sertraline). Numerous studies have linked the use of these medications to higher rates of birth defects. However, the risk remains inconclusive.