Celexa falls into the category of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, prescription antidepressant medications originally designed to treat the symptoms of depression. Celexa was approved by the FDA in 1998 specifically for the treatment of major depressive disorder, although it is often prescribed for off-label purposes as well, including the treatment of panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and certain eating disorders. The active ingredient in Celexa is citalopram, and the drug functions by restoring the balance of serotonin in the brain, which has been shown to relieve depression and improve certain mood disorders. Celexa is available in 10mg, 20mg, and 40mg tablets, and a liquid solution consisting of 10mg of citalopram per 5mL of liquid. Celexa is currently manufactured by pharmaceutical company, Forest Laboratories, and has become one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants on the U.S. market.
In 2006, the FDA issued a public health advisory warning patients and healthcare providers about the possible connection between the use of SSRI antidepressants like Celexa during pregnancy and the development of a severe heart and lung condition called PPHN (persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn) among infants. This notice came on the heels of a New England Journal of Medicine study in which researchers examined the adverse effects of SSRI antidepressant use on infants exposed to the drugs in utero. The report suggested that women who took SSRI antidepressants like Celexa after the twentieth week of pregnancy had a six-times increased risk of giving birth to infants with PPHN.
Besides PPHN, other birth defects which may be associated with the use of Celexa during pregnancy include:
Two other SSRI birth defect studies were published in the American Journal of Nursing and the journal Pediatrics. According to the former study, infants whose mothers took SSRI antidepressants like Celexa while pregnant had nearly twice the risk of being born with heart defects like atrial septal defects and ventricular septal defects. The latter study indicated that women who took one or more SSRIs during pregnancy had an increased risk of giving birth to children with serious difficulties, including inhibited neurological development, abnormal heart rhythms, unusual sleeping patterns, and problems with alertness.
The FDA has classified Celexa as a pregnancy category C medication, which means the drug has the potential to cause serious harm to a fetus when taken during pregnancy. The FDA has also required all sponsors of SSRI medications to update their drug warning labels to include potential pregnancy precautions, namely PPHN. If you are currently taking Celexa and you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consult your physician as soon as possible. It may be dangerous to suddenly discontinue use of a prescription medication, but with your doctor’s help, you may be able to find a safer way to treat your condition.
Any one of the birth defects allegedly associated with the use of Celexa during pregnancy have the potential to cause serious and even life-threatening complications for an affected child. In cases of PPHN, for example, the child’s circulation will continue to bypass the lungs after birth, causing the body’s organs to be deprived of oxygen. Without a sufficient supply of oxygen, the vital organs cannot function properly, and may begin to shut down. If you or a loved one has suffered from a major birth defect and you believe Celexa to be the cause, contact a Celexa attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to reimbursement for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering, which you can collect by filing a Celexa lawsuit or joining a potential Celexa class action lawsuit against Forest Laboratories.
Victims of serious injuries resulting from the use of a defective drug are not at fault and, with the help of a qualified Celexa lawyer, can hold the responsible party liable for their injuries. Drug manufacturing companies are expected to produce and market safe medications, and provide the public with information concerning any dangers associated with their products. Unfortunately, some pharmaceutical companies choose to operate in their own best interest, intentionally concealing the harmful nature of their medications and disregarding the safety and well-being of the public. This deceptive practice exposes millions of consumers to dangerous drugs which may cause catastrophic side effects far worse than the original condition the drug was prescribed to treat. By hiring an experienced Celexa attorney to represent their case, victims of alleged Celexa birth defects can protect their rights and collect the compensation they deserve.