If you took Zoloft during pregnancy and your child suffered a birth defect as a result, you can count on the product liability attorneys at Ellis Law to represent you successfully in a Zoloft lawsuit.
At Ellis Law, we have experience representing mothers whose Zoloft or other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) use has caused their newborn to suffer needlessly. We understand the medical, financial, and emotional ramifications of having a child with a condition that causes pain and hardship for a family, and we have both the resources and the desire to assist parents in this situation.
We help women who were not given adequate information about possible Zoloft-related birth defects to win their cases in court or negotiate favorable settlements so that they can receive the compensation that they deserve.
Zoloft and SSRIs
Zoloft is the brand name of the drug sertraline and is manufactured by Pfizer, Inc. It is one example of a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that are used to treat depression and other conditions. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (or “chemical messenger”) that is involved in signal transmission in the brain and helps to regulate processes related to emotion, mood, and sleep.
It is transmitted from one synaptic nerve to another in the brain and, in a process known as “reuptake,” is reabsorbed by the second synaptic nerve. SSRIs inhibit, or block, the process of reuptake, making more serotonin available in the space between the nerves. As depression has been linked to low levels of serotonin, this inhibition can ease its symptoms.
In addition to Zoloft, SSRIs include:
- Citalopram (brand name, Celexa)
- Escitalopram (Lexapro)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)
- Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
- Olanzapine/fluoxetine (Symbyax)
SSRI use linked to birth defects
Some studies suggest, however, that women who take SSRIs during pregnancy have an increased risk of giving birth to a child with birth defects. Although the study of SSRI use in connection to birth defects is a field of ongoing study in which debates continue, attorneys at Ellis Law believe that women have the right to be informed of any potential birth defects before being prescribed a medication during pregnancy.
Some birth defects linked to SSRI use during pregnancy in studies include the following:
- Pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN): a study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that SSRI use after the 20th week of pregnancy increases the risk of PPHN by a factor of six. The FDA issued an alert about this risk in 2006, the same year as the publication of the article. PPHN is a potentially fatal condition that can result in organ damage, brain damage, and death.
- Heart defects: a study published in 2009 suggested that the risk of some heart defects (ventricular septal defect, defects of the bicuspid aortic valve, and defects of the right superior vena cava to coronary sinus) is twice in infants born to mothers who took SSRIs during pregnancy.
- Omphalocele: SSRIs and Zoloft in particular have been linked to elevated risks of omphalocele, a rare but serious condition in which the intestines, liver, and sometimes other organs remain outside the abdominal wall of the developing fetus. .
- Craniosynostosis: craniosynostosis is a disorder in which the plates of an infant’s skull fuse too soon, causing malformations of the head, visual or sleeping impairments, difficulties in eating, or mental impairment.
- Anencephaly: a study links the use of SSRIs during pregnancy to an elevated risk of anencephaly, a condition in which children are born missing a major portion of their brain and the top of their skull; the vast majority of babies do not survive long
At Ellis Law, our Zoloft lawyers are well-versed in the latest scientific studies regarding the link between SSRI use and birth defects and have medical experts on staff who can review your case and present the compelling evidence of your situation to a jury. We believe that victims of dangerous drugs should not have to shoulder their burdens alone.
Liability in Zoloft lawsuits
Currently, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against Pfizer, Inc., charging that the company marketed Zoloft to pregnant women despite the increased risk of birth defects. Over 250 Zoloft lawsuits have been consolidated in the federal court in Philadelphia as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL). An MDL differs from a class action lawsuit in that lawsuits are centralized only for pretrial proceedings; each lawsuit is treated on its own merits and receives its own verdict or settlement. A small number of Zoloft lawsuits have also been filed in Wayne County Circuit Court in Virginia by adults who contend that the defects they were born with resulted from Zoloft use during their mothers’ pregnancies.
Zoloft attorneys will argue that their clients are due compensation under theories of strict liability, negligence and breach of warranties. Monetary damages would cover all related medical expenses, lost income, any rehabilitation or therapy costs, and pain and suffering.
Contact product liability lawyers at Ellis Law
If you believe that your child’s birth defect was due to Zoloft or other SSRI use during pregnancy, and that you were not adequately warned about this possible side effect, please contact the Los Angeles personal injury lawyers Ellis Law for a free consultation. Our staff has the resources and experience to evaluate your potential case and to represent you effectively so that you get the compensation that you deserve.
A consultation will cost you nothing and comes with no obligation on your part, but will provide you with information and invaluable legal advice as far as your next step in this process. Call toll free at 310-641-3335.