Lexapro Birth Defect Lawsuit

February 2, 2011

LexaproChildren born with cardiac and other congenital birth defects have potentially been linked to use of the SSRI class of antidepressant drugs, including Lexapro (Generic: escitalopram). Research suggests serious Lexapro side effects, including the increased risk of congenital heart defects and other congenital birth defects. This link between SSRI antidepressants like Lexapro (escitalopram) and congenital heart defects has many professional concerned that women should not be prescribed the medication Lexapro (escitalopram) or other SSRIs during pregnancy. In addition to serious congenital Heart Birth Defects, SSRIs like Lexapro, Celexa, Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil along with anti-nausea drug Zofran have also been linked to increased risk of Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN).

Antidepressant Drugs Include:

  • Zoloft (Generic: sertraline)
  • Prozac (Generic: fluoxetine)
  • Paxil (Generic: paroxetine)
  • Celexa (Generic: citalopram)
  • Lexapro (Generic: escitalopram)
  • Effexor (Generic: venlafaxine)

What is Lexapro?

Lexapro (Generic: escitalopram) is an antidepressant drug of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class. It has FDA approval to treat major depression, and is prescribed off-label for a number of anxiety conditions. Citalopram, (Brand name: Celexa), originally created in 1989 by the pharmaceutical company Lundbeck was the forerunner of Lexapro. The patent for Celexa expired in 2003, allowing other companies to legally produce generic versions. Lundbeck then released an updated formulation called escitalopram (Brand name: Lexapro), which is the S-enantiomer of the racemic citalopram, and acquired a new patent for it. In the United States, Forest Labs currently manufactures and markets the drug.

Lexapro (escitalopram) is approved to treat the symptoms of major depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD; excessive worry and tension that disrupts daily life and lasts for 6 months or longer). It works by increasing the amount of serotonin, a natural substance in the brain that helps maintain mental balance. Lexapro (escitalopram) and other SSRIs like Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft can also be used to treat hot flashes. Escitalopram is sold under the brand-name Lexapro (U.S. and Canada, Forest Laboratories, Inc.). Lexapro (escitalopram) is available in 5 mg, 10 mg and 20 mg tablets, as well as an oral solution.

Lexapro Birth Defects

Remeron Birth DefectsLexapro (escitalopram) and other SSRI antidepressants has been linked to increased risk of serious birth defects including Primary Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) and congenital heart defects. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that newborns whose mothers took SSRI antidepressants such as Lexapro during pregnancy were six times more likely to be born with the cario-pulmonary birth defect PPHN than those whose mothers did not take prescribed antidepressants – PPHN rose as high as 12 cases per 1,000 births.

Another study published in Pediatrics (February, 2004) found that pregnant women who used SSRIs had an increased risk of giving birth to babies with abnormal heart rhythms, unusual sleeping patterns, disrupted neurological development and problems with alertness.

A study summarized on Web MD reported that newborns exposed to SSRI antidepressants such as Lexapro by their pregnant mothers late in pregnancy were twice as likely to risk admission to special-care nurseries and twice as likely to suffer respiratory complications serious enough to require hospital ventilation procedures.

In addition to PPHN, SSRI antidepressants like Lexapro, Celexa, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft have been linked to severe congenital heart defects, including: atrial septal defects (ASD – hole in the heart), ventricular septal defects (VSD – hole in the heart), tetrology of fallot (ToF), hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), transposition of the great arteries (TGA or TOGA), patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR), coarctation of the aorta (CoA), double outlet right ventricle (DORV), and Shone’s Complex. These injuries range from minor heart murmurs not requiring surgery, all the way to the most severe congenital heart defects, requiring multiple surgeries or potentially a complete heart transplant in order to save the life of the child.

Children born with cardiac and other congenital birth defects have potentially been linked to use of the SSRI class of antidepressant drugs, including Lexapro (Generic: escitalopram). Research suggests serious Lexapro side effects, including the increased risk of congenital heart defects and other congenital birth defects. This link between SSRI antidepressants like Lexapro (escitalopram) and congenital heart defects has many professional concerned that women should not be prescribed the medication Lexapro (escitalopram) or other SSRIs during pregnancy. In addition to serious congenital Heart Birth Defects, SSRIs like Lexapro, Celexa, Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil have also been linked to increased risk of Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN).

Lexapro Side Effects

Lexapro 20mg pillsIn the United States, Lexapro (escitalopram), like other SSRI antidepressants, carries a black box warning stating that it may increase suicidal thinking and behavior in those under age 24.

Lexapro (escitalopram) theoretically causes side effects by increasing the concentration of serotonin in other parts of the body (e.g., the intestines). Other side effects, such as increased apathy and emotional flattening, may be caused by the decrease in dopamine release that is associated with increased serotonin. Lexapro (escitalopram) is also a mild antihistamine, which may be responsible for some of its sedating properties.

Common side effects of escitalopram include drowsiness, insomnia, nausea, weight changes, frequent urination, decreased sex drive, anorgasmia, dry mouth, increased sweating, trembling, diarrhea, excessive yawning, and fatigue. Less common side effects include bruxism, vomiting, cardiac arrhythmia, blood pressure changes, dilated pupils, anxiety, mood swings, headache, and dizziness. Rare side effects include convulsions, hallucinations, and severe allergic reactions. If sedation occurs, the dose may be taken at bedtime rather than in the morning.

Lexapro Class Action Lawsuit vs. Individual Lexapro Lawsuit

There are distinct differences between a Lexapro (escitalopram) class action lawsuit and a more typical individual Lexapro lawsuit. A Lexapro class action lawsuit would be a form of Lexapro lawsuit in which a large group of people (plaintiffs) collectively bring a lawsuit to court in the form of a “class action” against the manufacturers of Lexapro (defendant). In a class action lawsuit involving personal injury, resulting from defective products such as antidepressant SSRI drugs like Lexapro (escitalopram), Paxil (paroxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Prozac (fluoxetine) and Celexa (citalopram), all Lexapro lawsuit plaintiffs would typically be grouped together into a single Lexapro class action lawsuit, regardless of the degree or severity of their birth defect injuries. In this type of Lexapro class action lawsuit, plaintiffs with injuries ranging from minor heart murmurs not requiring surgery, all the way to the most severe congenital heart defects, requiring multiple surgeries or a complete heart transplant, would be grouped into one single Lexapro class action lawsuit. All plaintiffs in the class would equally share any award or settlement resulting from the Lexapro class action lawsuit.

In Lexapro lawsuits involving catastrophic injury or death, an individual lawsuit, in most cases, is more appropriate and in the plaintiff’s best interest. SSRI antidepressants like Lexapro, Celexa, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft have been linked to severe congenital heart defects, including: atrial septal defects (ASD – hole in the heart), ventricular septal defects (VSD – hole in the heart), tetrology of fallot (ToF), hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), transposition of the great arteries (TGA or TOGA), patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR), double outlet right ventricle (DORV), and coarctation of the aorta (CoA). Lexapro cases such as these are better suited to an individual Lexapro lawsuit because of the severity and degree of injury to the plaintiff. In an individual Lexapro Lawsuit, each plaintiff’s case is filed, presented and considered individually, based on its own strength and degree of injury.

In many cases involving SSRI antidepressants like Lexapro, Celexa, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft and the serious congenital heart defects related to these SSRI antidepressants, surgery is required. Heart surgery will typically be required when a child is an infant or toddler and then again, potentially multiple times, as the child grows to maturity. In many cases, with surgery and medical care, children may be able to lead mostly normal and productive lives. An individual Lexapro lawsuit allows each Lexapro victim, their injuries and their future needs to be considered on an individual basis when determining damages, awards and settlement amounts, and not as part of a class action lawsuit.

Lexapro Autism

A recent study published by Archives of General Psychiatry has found a link between antidepressant use during pregnancy and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Pregnant women taking Lexapro antidepressants during the first trimester of pregnancy may triple the chances of their child having Lexapro autism. This study was prompted when researchers noticed a rise over the past few years in the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressant (SSRIs) and an increase in Lexapro autism diagnoses.

Lexapro Autism Side Effects

  • Autism from Lexapro
  • ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • PDD – Pervasive Developmental Disorder
  • PDD – NOS – Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified

If you or a loved one took Lexapro while pregnant and have a child that may suffer Lexapro autism or other Lexapro birth defects, contact our law firm immediately to discuss the legal options available to you and your family.

See also: Autism Lawsuit: Antidepressants During Pregnancy Increase Autism Risk

Speak to a Lexapro Lawyer

If you took Lexapro during pregnancy and your child was born with a severe birth defect, we encourage you to contact a Lexapro litigation attorney at our law firm immediately. It may be too late to recover from the debilitating effects of Lexapro, but an experienced products liability attorney at the Willis Law Firm can assist you in a legal action against the makers of Lexapro. You are not alone. Join other birth defect victims and their families in speaking up and fighting for your legal rights.

Lexapro Lawsuit

Please fill out our free online legal evaluation form and we will contact you within 24 hours. Please keep in mind that certain states have statutes of limitation that limit the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit or seek legal action. Contact our law firm immediately so that we may explain the rights and options available to you and your family.

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