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Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) in Children Linked to Antidepressants if Taken by Mothers During Pregnancy

Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) in Children Linked to Antidepressants if Taken by Mothers During Pregnancy

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is actively handling persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn lawsuits in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know took an antidepressant while pregnant and your child has PPHN, you should contact us immediately. You may be entitled to compensation and our law firm can help.

Michael E. Schmidt of The Schmidt Firm, PLLC has stated, “Our law firm has represented thousands of victims in pharmaceutical side effect and recall cases, however being a father of four, this particular litigation [antidepressant-induced birth defects] really strikes home. We are actively representing the children and families affected by the manufacturer’s inability to warn the mothers of the potential for congenital birth defects when taken during pregnancy.”

UPDATE: Risk of PPHN Doubled in Women who Took Antidepressants

In January 2012, researchers found that women who take SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy may be twice as likely to have a baby with PPHN. Numerically, this means that the risk increases from 1.2 cases of PPHN per 1,000 live births to 2.1 per 1,000 live births. The researchers looked at data from 30,000 women who took antidepressants during pregnancy, and found that the association was strongest in women who took the medication late in pregnancy. They stressed that the number of cases is small, more research needs to be conducted, and depression is also a serious disease. Until more research is conducted, women who take SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy should consider the slightly increased risk to their unborn child.

What is Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)?

PPHN is a relatively rare but life-threatening congenital (present at birth) heart defect that can cause both immediate and long-term complications and health concerns. When a baby is in the womb, the oxygen is supplied through the umbilical cord. After birth, the baby’s system should switch to receive oxygen from the lungs. In children born with persistent pulmonary hypertension, the heart, blood vessels, and lungs fail to make the adjustment. The blood does not interact with the lungs, and instead circulates as it did in the womb. PPHN occurs most often in full-term or post-term babies who have had a difficult birth, or conditions such as infection or birth asphyxia, in which a baby receives an inadequate amount of oxygen during delivery.

What Antidepressants Are Linked to PPHN?

The following antidepressants are linked to the development of persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborn babies, infants, and children if their mothers took them while pregnant:

  • Paxil (Paroxetine)
  • Zoloft (Sertraline)
  • Celexa (Citalopram)
  • Prozac (Fluoxetine)
  • Lexapro (Escitalopram)
  • Symbyax (fluoxetine and olanzapine)
  • Wellbutrin (Bupropion)
  • Effexor (Venlafaxine)

PPHN Treatment

The main goal of treatment for PPHN is to increase oxygen levels to the newborn’s organs to avoid serious health problems. Treatment may include a wide range of options including (but not limited to):

  • Oxygen – Supplemental oxygen may be provided to the infant through a mask or plastic hood.
  • Assisted Ventilation – Procedure in which a ventilator takes over the baby’s breathing.
  • Nitric Oxide – N20 has been shown to be effective in treating PPHN due to the fact that it relaxes lung blood vessels and improves blood flow to the lungs.
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) – Similar to a heart-lung bypass machine, an ECMO machine may be used on infants who are experiencing catastrophic heart or lung failure. It delivers oxygen to the brain and body as temporary support while the pulmonary hypertension resolves.

Do I Have a PPHN Lawsuit?

Our attorneys are currently accepting PPHN cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know took an antidepressant during pregnancy and your child was born with persistent pulmonary hypertension, you should contact us immediately. You may be entitled to compensation and we can help. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Drug & Products Liability Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

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