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) are congenital birth defects, including: 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.
According to scientific studies, women who take SSRI Antidepressants such as Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), Prozac (fluoxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram) and Celexa (citalopram) are at least twice as likely to give birth to children with serious congenital heart defects. A congenital heart defect is a problem with the structure of the heart present at birth. Congenital heart defects are the most common type of major birth defect. A baby’s heart begins to develop shortly after conception and during the first tri-mester. During development, structural defects can occur. These defects can involve the walls of the heart, the valves of the heart and the arteries and veins to and from the heart. Congenital heart defects can disrupt the normal flow of blood through the heart, lungs and body.
Transposition of the Great Arteries (or Vessels) is a congenital heart defect in which the two major vessels that carry blood away from the heart — the aorta and the pulmonary artery — are switched (transposed). Transposition of the great vessels is a cyanotic heart defect. This means there is decreased oxygen in the blood that is pumped from the heart to the rest of the body. Low blood oxygen leads to cyanosis (a bluish-purple color to the skin) and shortness of breath. In normal hearts, blood that
returns from the body goes through the right side of the heart and pulmonary artery to the lungs to get oxygen. The blood then comes back to the left side of the heart and travels out the aorta to the body. In transposition of the great vessels, the blood goes to the lungs, picks up oxygen, and then goes right back to the lungs without ever going to the body. Blood from the body returns to the heart and goes back to the body without ever picking up oxygen in the lungs. The condition is the second most common cyanotic heart defect.
Mother over 40
Use of antidepressant medications during pregnancy
Poor nutrition during pregnancy (prenatal nutrition)
Rubella or other viral illness during pregnancy
Symptoms appear at birth or very soon afterward. How bad the symptoms are depends on the type and size of heart defects (such as atrial septal defect or patent ductus arteriosus) and how much oxygen moves through the body’s general blood flow. Symptoms include:
Blueness of the skin
Clubbing of the fingers or toes
Shortness of breath
Exams and Tests
The health care provider may detect a heart murmur while listening to the chest with a stethoscope. The baby’s mouth and skin will be a blue color.
Tests often include the following:
Echocardiogram (if done before birth, it is called a fetal echocardiogram)
Pulse oximetry (to check blood oxygen level)
The baby will immediately receive a medicine called prostaglandin through an IV (intravenous line). This medicine helps keep the ductus arteriosus open, allowing some mixing of the two blood circulations. A procedure using cardiac catheterization (balloon atrial septostomy) may be needed to create a large hole in the atrial septum to allow blood to mix. A surgery called an arterial switch procedure is used to permanently correct the problem within the baby’s first week of life. This surgery switches the great arteries back to the normal position and keeps the coronary arteries attached to the aorta.
The child’s symptoms will improve after surgery to correct the defect. Most infants who undergo arterial switch do not have symptoms after surgery and live normal lives. If corrective surgery is not performed, the life expectancy is months.
Coronary artery problems
Heart valve problems
When to Contact a Medical Professional
This condition can be diagnosed before birth using a fetal echocardiogram. If not, it is usually diagnosed soon after a baby is born. Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if your baby’s skin develops a bluish color, especially in the face or trunk. Call your health care provider if your baby has this condition and new symptoms develop, get worse, or continue after treatment.
Women who plan to become pregnant should be immunized against rubella if they are not already immune. Eating well, avoiding alcohol, and controlling diabetes both before and during pregnancy may be helpful. Many factors, including the use of antidepressant medications during pregnancy, seem to be involved.
Transposition of the great arteries; TGA; d-TGA
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 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 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 severe congenital heart defects listed above, 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). 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 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 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.
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 a 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.