Zoloft , manufactured by Pfizer, has been linked to serious, life-threatening birth defects.
Approved by the FDA in 1991, Zoloft is used by millions of Americans for anxiety and depression. The FDA is strengthening its warning for the antidepressant Zoloft because it may be associated with birth defects, specifically, congenital heart defects, Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN), abdominal and cranial defects.
UPDATE: 2nd Zoloft Birth Defect Trial Ends in Win for Pfizer
June 16, 2015 — For the second time in two months, Pfizer has been cleared of liability in a trial accusing the drug-maker of failing to adequately warn about the birth defect risks associated with taking Zoloft during pregnancy. Click here to read more.
June 8, 2015 — In a trial in Philadelphia, lawyers presented a jury with documents that show scientists warned executives at Pfizer about a possible link between Zoloft and birth defects and recommended changes to the medication’s label. Click here to read more.
June 1, 2015 — A trial is underway in Philadelphia on behalf of a girl who was born with heart defects after her mother took Zoloft during pregnancy. Click here to read more.
April 20, 2015 — A jury in St. Louis has cleared Pfizer of wrongdoing in a trial accusing the drug-maker of boosting profits by downplaying the risk of heart defects when Zoloft is used during pregnancy. Click here to read more.
April 17, 2015 — The first trial involving birth defects linked to Zoloft has ended with closing arguments accusing Pfizer of intentionally concealing warnings about the risk during pregnancy. Click here to read more.
April 9, 2015 — The first of more than 1,000 lawsuits involving Zoloft is currently in trial, and Pfizer is accused of failing to warn women that they should use contraceptives to avoid having a baby with a heart defect. Click here to read more.
January 30, 2015 — A study has linked the use of Zoloft during pregnancy with a 34% increased risk of “hole in the heart” defects and a doubled increased risk of craniosynostosis, a rare but serious skull defect. Click here to read more.
January 9, 2015 — Plaintiffs in over 525 federal Zoloft lawsuits will be allowed to introduce a new expert witness to support claims that Zoloft causes birth defects, after their last expert witness was barred from testifying last year. Click here to read more.
July 25, 2014 — The West Virginia Record reports that 13 new lawsuits have been filed against Pfizer Inc. by women who took Zoloft during pregnancy and had a baby with a birth defect. Click here to read more.
June 19, 2014 — The New England Journal of Medicine has published a study concluding that pregnant women who use antidepressants during the first trimester are not more likely to have a baby with a heart defect. Click here to read more.
April 29, 2014 — The use of high-dose antidepressants in children aged 10-24 has been linked to at least a doubled increased risk of deliberate self-harm (suicidal) behavior, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Click here to read more.
March 6, 2014 – According to a joint status update issued by Judge Cynthia M. Rufe, there are 586 Zoloft birth defect lawsuits pending in the federal MDL and dozens more pending in state court in Alabama, California, Illinois, Missouri, and New York. Click here to read more.
January 14, 2013 – A family from Wisconsin has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their child, who died of birth defects associated with Zoloft. Click here to read more.
December 10, 2012 – The judge presiding over the federal Zoloft MDL has scheduled the first trial for September 12, 2014. Lawyers will soon begin negotiating which lawsuits will be selected for the “bellwether” trials. Click here to read more.
November 15, 2012 – Nearly 70 Zoloft lawsuits have been filed in state courts, and 245 lawsuits in the federal MDL. Click here to read more.
October 24, 2012 – There are 311 Zoloft lawsuits filed around the United States, including 245 lawsuits in the federal MDL and 66 lawsuits filed in several state courts. Click here to read more.
October 19, 2012 – A new study has linked Zoloft to an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, bleeding in the brain, and stroke. This increased risk could be especially significant for people with risk factors for bleeding, such as those taking blood-thinning medications (like Pradaxa or warfarin). Click here to read more.
September 5, 2012 – A Zoloft lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a child who was born with clubfoot and a life-threatening heart defect (truncus arteriosus) after her mother took Zoloft during pregnancy. Pfizer now faces nearly 150 Zoloft lawsuits in federal Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). Click here to learn more.
What is the problem with Zoloft?
Zoloft is used by millions of Americans to treat depression. More specifically, pregnant women have been prescribed Zoloft to help with anxiety involved with their pregnancy. The fetuses of these women using Zoloft or other SSRI antidepressants such as Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, and Symbyax are at a greater risk of developing a birth defect.
The two most common forms of an SSRI antidepressant congenital heart defect are atrial septal defects or ventricular septal defects. Atrial septal defect (ASD) is a form of congenital heart defect that enables blood flow between the left and right atria via the interatrial septum. There is a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart that allows for this blood flow exchange. Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) is when there is a large opening between the ventricles allowing a large amount of oxygen-rich blood from the heart’s left side through the defect on the right side. It is then pumped back into the lungs, even though it has been oxygenated. This is wasteful, since blood that’s already been to the lungs is returning there, and blood that needs to go to the lungs is being displaced. The heart, which has to pump an extra amount of blood, is overworked and may enlarge.
The results of the study have shown that babies born to mothers who took Zoloft were more likely to develop Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN), than babies born to mothers who did not take Zoloft during pregnancy. PPHN is failure of the normal circulatory transition that occurs after birth. It is a syndrome characterized by marked pulmonary hypertension that causes hypoxemia and right-to-left extrapulmonary shunting of blood. With inadequate pulmonary perfusion, neonates develop refractory hypoxemia, respiratory distress, and acidosis.
SSRI antidepressants like Zoloft may cause two separate congenital abnormalities called Omphalocele and Craniosynostosis . An omphalocele is a congenital (present at birth) abdominal wall birth defect in which the infant’s intestine or other abdominal organs stick out of the belly button (navel). In babies with an omphalocele, the intestines are covered only by a thin layer of tissue and can be easily seen. Craniosynostosis is a congenital (present at birth) defect that causes one or more sutures on a baby’s head to close earlier than normal. Sutures are connections that separate each individual skull bones. The early closing of a suture leads to an abnormally shaped head.
Zoloft Class Action Lawsuit
If you decide to file a Zoloft lawsuit for your child’s birth defect, you won’t be alone. Over 600 cases have been filed against Pfizer. However, these are not consolidated into a Zoloft class action lawsuit. Instead, most cases are centralized in a federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2342) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Additional lawsuits are pending in Alabama, California, Illinois, Missouri, and New York.