About Taking Antidepressants While Pregnant…

December 17, 2013  |  Dangerous Drugs & Devices, Pharmaceuticals

Baron & Budd is no longer accepting inquiries for this litigation. For an updated list of our current cases, visit our homepage. Updated: June 16, 2017

In 2006 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an alert notifying the medical community (and hopefully mothers-to-be) of “Potentially Life-Threatening Serotonin Syndrome.” This syndrome results in a condition called persistent pulmonary hypertension, (PPHN), which can be a life threatening to a newborn baby. The FDA alert was based on a single published study, and since then there have been conflicting findings from new studies. Bottom line is that, as of 2011, the FDA says the risk of PPHN related to SSRI use in pregnancy is unclear and therefore “lifted” the alert. http://www.fda.gov/drugs/drugsafety/ucm283375.htm

However, this is an ongoing issue that deserves a closer look and is the basis of many lawsuits.

The antidepressants (SSRIs) listed in the 2006 alert include not only Zoloft, which we talk about elsewhere on our website, but also:

  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • Fluvoxamine
  • Lexapro (escitalopram)
  • Paxil (paroxetine)
  • Prozac (fluoxetine)
  • Symbyax (olanzepine/fluoxetine)

You can read the 2006 FDA alert right here: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm126522.htm but, since this is such a complicated read, we thought we’d put this important information into human speak:

Here are the key points:

  • Research prior to 2006 showed that women who took SSRIs like Zoloft after the 20th week of pregnancy were six times more likely to have babies with persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN).
  • PPHN in babies is a very serious condition; it can cause death.
  • The FDA recommends that physicians carefully weigh the pros and cons of SSRI use during pregnancy and discuss these fully with patients.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the risks of SSRI use are not just associated with the first trimester; in fact there appears to be an increased risk in the last half of pregnancy.

But what does PPHN mean?

While in the womb, a baby’s lungs are not used – instead, oxygen passes from the mother to the baby through the umbilical cord. But once the baby is born, his or her lungs should take over. The problem is that in babies with PPHN, this doesn’t happen. Which means that oxygen cannot move from the lungs to the rest of the body. This lack of oxygen can cause a variety of problems and even death.

The use of antidepressants during pregnancy is an incredibly hard decision. We know that. But you can’t make the right decision without understandable facts, which is our purpose here.

Despite the change in the FDA alert status, many women are taking legal action against the manufacturers of Zoloft and other SSRI’s for not properly warning them of the risks during pregnancy.

If you took an antidepressant and had a child with PPHN (lack of sufficient oxygen) or other birth defects we hope you will contact us here or call us at 1.866.472.9108.

News Articles

View All
  • Get Answers Now

    Get a free case evaluation to help determine your legal rights.

  • Receive emails from Baron & Budd?
  • Receive text messages from Baron & Budd?
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.