Congenital birth defects are many of the most severe side effects associated with the use of SSRI Antidepressants such as Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), Prozac (fluoxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram) and Celexa (citalopram). They include: Congenital Heart Defects, Congenital Lung Defects, Congenital Abdominal Wall Defects, Congenital Cranio-facial Defects,and other birth defects and malformations affecting various other areas of the child’s anatomy.
Cranio-facial Birth Defects and SSRI Antidepressants
According to scientific studies, women who take SSRI Antidepressants, such as Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), Prozac (fluoxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram) and Celexa (citalopram) during her pregnancy are at least twice as likely to give birth to children with serious congenital birth defects like Craniosynostosis. Craniosynostosis is a cranio-facial malformation birth defect. SSRI Antidepressant use during pregnancy has also been linked to congenital heart defects, lung defects, limb deformities, clubfoot, as well as other cranio-facial malformations.
What is Craniosynostosis?
Craniosynostosis is a congenital Cranio-facial Malformation 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. There are different types of craniosynostosis. Sagittal synostosis (scaphocephaly) is the most common type. It affects the main (sagittal) suture on the very top of the head. The early closing forces the head to grow long and narrow, instead of wide. Babies with this type of craniosynostosis tend to have a broad forehead. It is more common in boys than girls. Frontal plagiocephaly is the next most common form. It is the closure of one side of the suture that runs from ear to ear on the top of the head. It is more common in girls. Metopic synostosis is a rare form of craniosynostosis that affects the suture close to the forehead. The child’s head shape may be described as trigonocephaly, and the deformity may range from mild to severe.
The cause of craniosynostosis is unknown. Which suture is involved determines the abnormal shape of the head. A person’s genes may play a role in craniosynostosis. The hereditary form often occurs with other defects that can cause seizures, diminished intellectual capacity, and blindness. Genetic disorders commonly associated with craniosynostosis include Crouzon, Apert, Carpenter, Chotzen, and Pfeiffer syndromes. However, most cases of craniosynostosis occur in a family with no history of the condition and children with craniosynostosis are otherwise healthy and have normal intelligence.
Absence of the normal feeling of a “soft spot” (fontanelle) on the newborn’s skull
Disappearance of the fontanelle early
A raised hard ridge along the affected sutures
Unusual head shape
Slow or no increase in the head size over time as the baby grows
Exams and Tests
The doctor will feel the infants head and perform a physical exam. A neurological exam would also help diagnose the condition. The following tests may be performed: Measuring the width of the infant’s head, X-rays of the skull, and CT scan of the head
The main treatment for craniosynostosis is surgery. Surgery is done while the baby is still an infant. The goals of surgery are:
Relieve any pressure on the brain
Make sure there is enough room in the skull to allow the brain to properly grow
Improve the appearance of the child’s head
How well a person does depends on how many sutures are involved and whether other defects are present. Patients who have surgery usually do well, especially those whose condition is not association with a genetic syndrome.
Craniosynostosis results in head deformity that can be severe and permanent if it is not corrected. Increased intracranial pressure, seizures, and developmental delay can occur.
While you cannot prevent Craniosynostosis, it is important to bring your child to well-child visits, so your pediatrician can routinely chart the growth of your infant’s head over time. This will help identify the problem early if it occurs. Persons with hereditary craniosynostosis might consider genetic counseling.
Premature closure of sutures
SSRI Class Action Lawsuit vs. Individual SSRI Lawsuit
There are distinct differences between an SSRI Antidepressant (Zoloft – sertraline, Paxil – paroxetine, Prozac – fluoxetine, Lexapro – escitalopram and Celexa – citalopram) class action lawsuit and a more typical individual SSRI lawsuit. A SSRI class action lawsuit would be a form of SSRI 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 the SSRI antidepressant (defendant). In a class action lawsuit involving personal injury, resulting from defective products such as antidepressant SSRI drugs like Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), Prozac (fluoxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram) and Celexa (citalopram), all SSRI lawsuit plaintiffs would typically be grouped together into a single SSRI class action lawsuit, regardless of the degree or severity of their birth defect injuries. In this type of SSRI class action lawsuit, plaintiffs with injuries ranging from minor injuries not requiring surgery, all the way to the most severe congenital heart, lung, abdominal wall and cranio-facial birth defects, requiring multiple surgeries, would be grouped into one single SSRI class action lawsuit. All plaintiffs in the class would equally share any award or settlement resulting from the SSRI class action lawsuit.
In SSRI antidepressant 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 Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro and Paxil, have been linked to some of the most severe congenital birth defects listed above, including: Craniosynostosis, 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). SSRI antidepressant cases such as these are better suited to an individual SSRI antidepressant lawsuit because of the severity and degree of injury to the plaintiff. In an individual SSRI 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 Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil and the serious congenital birth defects related to these SSRI antidepressants, surgery is required. 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 SSRI lawsuit allows each SSRI 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.
Speak to an SSRI Lawyer about an SSRI Birth Defect Lawsuit
If you took Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Celexa (citalopram), Lexapro (escitalopram) or any another SSRI antidepressant drug during pregnancy and your child was born with Craniosynostosis or any other congenital heart, lung or other birth defect, we encourage you to contact an SSRI Antidepressant Lawsuit Attorney at our law firm immediately. It may be too late to recover from the devastating effects of Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro and Celexa but an experienced pharmaceutical products liability lawyer at the Willis Law Firm can assist you in legal action against the makers of these dangerous antidepressant drugs. You are not alone. Join other birth defect victims and their families in speaking up and fighting for your legal rights.
Please fill out our free online legal evaluation form and we will contact you within 24 hours, or call our offices at 1-800-883-9858 for immediate help. 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.For more information: Antidepressants, Birth Defects, Celexa, Cranio-facial Malformations, Craniosynostosis, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, SSRI, Zoloft