Zoloft Lawsuit

Did you take Zoloft while you were pregnant, only to find out later that it might be the cause of your child’s physical birth defects? This is the sorrowful situation that many women find themselves in.

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If you or someone you know took Zoloft while they were pregnant and later discovered that it may be related to their child’s physical birth defects, please contact us to learn more.

What Went Wrong

Zoloft Lawsuit
Marketed as a safer drug with fewer side effects compared to other drugs in the same class (like Prozac), Zoloft quickly became popular. In fact, Zoloft became popular so quickly that by 2005 it had become the most widely prescribed antidepressant in the U.S.

But in 2005, at the height of its popularity, the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory warning that certain antidepressants used in the first trimester of pregnancy might be associated with a higher risk of birth defects. Cited problems included the risk of serious heart issues, including atrial and ventrical septal defects, meaning that the right and left sides of the heart are not completely developed.

Then, in 2006, Health Canada issued a strong warning to pregnant women stressing that antidepressants like Zoloft could potentially pose serious risks to unborn or even nursing babies.

Next, a 2007 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found a "significant association" between Zoloft and heart issues called septal defects, which can be life-threatening. According to the study, mothers who took Zoloft during pregnancy could have twice the risk of having a baby born with septal defects.

Later studies affirmed the risk of heart defects in newborns and other issues related to the use of Zoloft during pregnancy.

How to Be A Part of the Zoloft Lawsuit

If you or someone you know took the antidepressant Zoloft while pregnant and subsequently had a child with physical birth defects, you may have legal options. Below is a list of the birth defects currently included in the lawsuit:

  • Ventricular Septal Heart Defects (VSD)
  • Atrial Septal Defects (ASD)
  • Cleft Palate
  • Spina Bifida
  • Club Foot
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Anencephaly

Mothers have started to file Zoloft lawsuit claims against the drug’s manufacturer, Pfizer, alleging that Pfizer did not sufficiently warn patients of the risks involved with taking Zoloft while pregnant.

Note that the problems included in the lawsuit are only related to physical conditions in children.
  • Ventricular Septal Heart Defects (VSD)
  • Atrial Septal Defects (ASD)
  • Cleft Palate
  • Spina Bifida
  • Club Foot
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Anencephaly

Zoloft is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant, meaning the drug was made to work by managing the patient’s level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain which has to do with the patient’s mood, learning and sleeping abilities. SSRIs have been used since the 1980s to treat depression and related mental illnesses and are still the most widely used antidepressant medications in the U.S.

Zoloft was first manufactured in 1990 in the United Kingdom by the drug manufacturer Pfizer. Nine years later it was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Zoloft is mainly used to help manage major depressive disorders (MMD). In addition, Zoloft is frequently prescribed to help treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and other anxiety-related disorders such as social anxiety disorder. These conditions are not ones to be taken lightly – in fact the lifetime risk of suicide is 20 percent for patients with untreated major depressive disorders. This is a huge consideration as nearly seven percent of the U.S. adult population is affected by major depressive disorders.

Doctors check for symptoms lasting two weeks or more like depressed mood, loss of interest in daily activities, mental and physical distress, feeling helpless and or hopeless, difficulty concentrating, suicidal thoughts, changes in sleep and appetite to diagnose a patient as having a major depressive disorder.

However, as important as it is to treat depression, there are significant risks involved with taking an SSRI antidepressant while pregnant – risks that the manufacturers of Zoloft allegedly withheld from their patients when marketing their drug as safe for use during pregnancy.

The FDA assigns pregnancy categories to declare the safety of drugs taken during pregnancy. Zoloft was initially placed in Category C along with other SSRI antidepressants, meaning the drug was never tested on humans. Instead, Category C indicates that some animal reproduction studies had shown some signs of adverse effects on the fetus, however there were no adequate or trustworthy studies taken on humans. Since the Category C placement, there have been sufficient Zoloft pregnancy safety studies that have proven that taking SSRIs while pregnant, or sometimes even up to a month before conception, may lead to birth defects such as the lack of development of the brain and skull known as anencephaly, facial malformations such as cleft palate, abdominal wall defects known as infant omphalocele and heart defects.

More information on FDA findings.

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