Zoloft Birth Defect Lawsuit
Written by Faith Anderson on July 2, 2012
Zoloft and Associated Birth Defects
An atrial septal defect occurs when the wall between the left and right upper chambers of the heart fails to form completely, allowing blood to flow between the chambers. This results in serious side effects, including a build-up of pressure in the lungs and shortness of breath. People born with atrial septal defects also face an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, stroke, heart failure and hypertension as adults. In instances where the defect is severe, the child is required to undergo surgery, although some children can receive a device to close the shunt between the two heart chambers without having to undergo surgery.
Zoloft (sertraline) was introduced by Pfizer in 1991 as a treatment for major depressive disorder, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. By 2007, there were nearly 30 million prescriptions filled for Zoloft, making it the most prescribed antidepressant in the United States. Reese’s lawsuit joins a growing number of complaints over Zoloft birth defects filed on behalf of children who have experienced side effects like persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), heart defects, spina bifida, and other birth defects or malformations.
Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) for Zoloft Lawsuits
According to allegations raised in Reese’s complaint and other lawsuits, Pfizer was aware that Zoloft may cause problems for children born to women who used the medication while pregnant, but failed to adequately warn consumers or the medical community about these pregnancy risks. Reese accuses the drug company of designing a defective medication, failure to warn, fraud and negligence, and is seeking both compensatory damages and punitive damages. The lawsuit is likely to be transferred into the Zoloft MDL, which formed in April and centralizes cases filed in federal district courts throughout the country before U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.