The anti-seizure medication Neurontin may increase your risk of having a baby with a birth defect if it is used during pregnancy.
Pfizer, Inc., the manufacturer of Neurontin, has been ordered to pay nearly $1 billion for boosting profits by using illegal tactics to market this medication.
The problems began in 2004, when the Justice Department ordered Pfizer to pay $430 million for civil and criminal charges involving “off-label” marketing.
Pfizer allegedly promoted Neurontin for uses that were not approved or recommended by the FDA, including:
- Bipolar mental disorder
- Various pain disorders
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, a degenerative nerve disease commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
- Attention deficit disorder
- Drug and alcohol withdrawal seizures
- Restless leg syndrome
- As a first-line monotherapy treatment for epilepsy (using Neurontin alone, rather than in addition to another drug).
Class action lawsuits were filed soon after the Justice Department settlement was announced. It took nearly a decade, but Pfizer ultimately paid over $500 million in class action settlements for defrauding health providers and customers.
Neurontin Birth Defect Lawsuits
Pregnant women who used Neurontin for approved or “off-label” medical conditions and had a baby with a birth defect may qualify to file a lawsuit against Pfizer.
Neurontin is “Pregnancy Category C,” which means the FDA cannot rule out the risk of birth defects because it has never been adequately studied.
Some studies suggest Neurontin has a lower risk of causing birth defect than other anti-epileptic medications. For example, the FDA classifies Topiramate (topamax) and Depakote (valproate) as “Pregnancy Category D” medications.
Neurontin is not approved or recommended during pregnancy. However, women with epilepsy face a tough choice when they become pregnant. The Los Angeles Times warns:
“Managing a pregnancy in an epileptic woman has generally involved walking a fine line between controlling seizures and reducing developmental problems.”
Our lawyers are investigating potential Neurontin Birth Defect Lawsuits on behalf of women who used this medication during pregnancy and had a baby with a birth defect. Contact us if you had a baby with any congenital malformation, such as:
- Cleft lip
- Cleft palate
- Heart defects
- Spina bifida
- Limb reduction defects
- Gastrointestinal defects
- Reproductive system defects (hypospadia)
- And more