SSRI Birth Defects

SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are used as antidepressants. Women may have already been taking these medications prior to pregnancy, or they may have been recently prescribed these drugs due to the emotional effects of pregnancy that can heighten depression—potentially leading mothers-to-be to eat less healthfully, return to habits like smoking or drinking, and generally lack important self-care. However, the effects of antidepressant medications like Prozac and Paxil on newborns can be detrimental. According to the Mayo Clinic, “few medications have been proved safe without question during pregnancy and some types of antidepressants have been associated with health problems in babies.”

Recent studies have suggested that SSRIs have caused birth defects and health problems for newborns when mothers have taken them while pregnant. One particular side effect appears to be “persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn” (PPHN), a lung disorder involving restricted blood flow and low oxygen levels in the blood—causing stress to other organs like the brain and kidneys. Other alleged effects of taking SSRIs while pregnant include the following:

  • autism spectrum disorder
  • clubfoot
  • heart defects
  • various developmental delays
  • abdominal defects
  • cranial defects
  • cleft palate
  • spina bifida
  • premature birth

SSRI medications include the following commonly-heard-of brand names:

  • Prozac (fluoxetine)
  • Paxil (paroxetine)
  • Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • Lexapro (escitalopram)

Consumers should be aware of the potential side effects of these anti-depressants, and it is critical to receive proper medical advice before taking this product while pregnant. However, for some women, warnings have come too late; or perhaps your doctor failed to properly inform you of, or evaluate you for, the potential harmful effects of the drug on your pregnancy.

At the MA law firm of Altman & Altman LLP, conveniently located in Cambridge and Boston, our SSRI birth defect attorneys understand that physical illness and injury result in more than simply physical effects. Along with long-term health and quality-of-life consequences, raising a child with birth defects can be incredibly stressful and expensive for an individual and his or her family—with expenses including surgery, at-home care, and transportation assistance. Financial recovery may be crucial to ensure you the healthiest and highest quality of life for you and your child.

If you believe your child has suffered birth defects from your use of SSRIs during pregnancy, our Boston and Cambridge personal injury attorneys are experienced in medical malpractice mass tort litigation and will pursue all avenues of recovery. If you have lost your child due to PPHN or another health condition, you may also be able to eligible to recover via a wrongful death lawsuit.

To schedule your free, confidential consultation with an experienced Massachusetts birth defect lawyer at Altman & Altman, LLP, call 617.492.3000 or 800.481.6199 (toll free) or contact us online. Our phones are answered around the clock, 7 days a week, and we promptly respond to all emails. Note that we take all personal injury cases on a contingency basis: that is, we charge no fee unless you recover.

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