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Pristiq During Third Trimester and Birth Defects

Pristiq During Third Trimester and Birth Defects

November 20, 2012 — Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) is an antidepressant medication that is associated with many reports of birth defects in infants who were exposed to Pristiq during the third trimester. The manufacturer of Pristiq has placed specific warnings about a “direct toxic effect” of Pristiq on fetal development. Even so, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies Pristiq as a “Pregnancy Category C” drug, which means that it may still be prescribed if the benefits outweigh any potential risks.

Pristiq is an antidepressant that targets two neurotransmitters: serotonin and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are involved in regulating moods and emotions. They are also important during fetal development. When Pristiq is used by pregnant women, it may influence fetal development or increase the risk of complications at birth.

Experts do not fully understand the risks associated with Pristiq and pregnancy because no adequate or well-controlled studies have ever been conducted of Pristiq in pregnant women. This is because it would be unethical to randomly prescribe Pristiq or placebos to pregnant women. Therefore, the manufacturer warns that “Pristiq should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefits justify the potential risks.”

The potential risks are serious enough that the manufacturer has placed specific warnings about the risk of using Pristiq during the third trimester. These warnings state:

“Neonates exposed to SNRIs (Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors), or SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), late in the third trimester have developed complications requiring prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support, and tube feeding. Such complications can arise immediately upon delivery.”

These serious complications are consistent with a direct toxic effect of antidepressants in a fetus, or possibly a drug withdrawal syndrome. Independent studies have found that about one-third of infants exposed to an antidepressant in the third trimester have complications at birth, which may include:

  • Respiratory distress, apnea
  • Low oxygen in the bloodstream
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Irritability
  • Tremors, jitteriness
  • Seizures
  • Constant crying (for several hours at a time)
  • Unstable temperature
  • And more

Do I have a Pristiq Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Pristiq induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know took Pristiq during pregnancy and had a baby with a birth defect, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

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