Because serotonin acts as a morphogen and sends messages regarding development during embryogenesis, an SNRI (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) medication, like Effexor, can adversely affect a baby as it develops if taken during pregnancy. Serotonin has specifically been linked to cardiac and cranial development, and this is why taking an SNRI or SSRI antidepressant while pregnant can result in congenital heart and cranial birth defects, like craniosynostosis. In 2011, the National Birth Defects Prevention Study found that when an expectant mother took Effexor during the pregnancy, the risk of the infant being born with craniosynostosis increased 50%. This statistically significant increased risk has resulted in the filing of lawsuits against the maker and distributer of Effexor, as well as several other popular antidepressant including: Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, Lexapro and Celexa.
Craniosynostosis, or the early closing of sutures, is a type of congenital defect that can result from taking Effexor or other antidepressants while pregnant. A suture is a fibrous connector between the individual bones in the skull; when one of these closes prematurely, the result is an irregularly shaped head. There are several different kinds of craniosynostosis depending on which suture/sutures close before time:
In the event of Effexor craniosynostosis, one or more of the following symptoms may be present: lack of fontanelle (“soft spot”) on infant’s skull, abnormal head shape, failure of head to grow over time, and raised ridges along sutures that are affected. Effexor craniosynostosis can also be diagnosed using neurological testing like x-rays, CT scans, and taking width measurements of the baby’s skull. Surgery is needed quickly following birth in order to make sure that the brain is not adversely affected. When left untreated, this cranial birth defect can result in both developmental delays as well as seizures and excessive intercranial pressure.
Was your child born with craniosynostosis (or any other cranial, cardiac, or other congenital defect) following the prenatal exposure to Effexor or other antidepressant medication? If so, you may be legally entitled to a monetary settlement. Call the Willis Law Firm today and we can assist you by providing an Effexor birth defect lawsuit consultation completely free of charge and obligation.