Zoloft Heart Defect Lawsuit
Written by Faith Anderson on August 1, 2012
Zoloft and Heart Birth Defects
Zoloft (sertraline) was approved by the FDA in 1991, and is currently one of the most widely-prescribed medications in the United States. It belongs to class of antidepressants called SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and is commonly prescribed to patients suffering from depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Unfortunately, mounting research suggests that Zoloft and other SSRI antidepressants may cause serious birth defects and other malformations in babies when taken by women who are pregnant.
According to the Byington’s complaint, Jade was prescribed Zoloft before she got pregnant and took it until she gave birth to her daughter, Sadie, in October 2003. The couple alleges that the antidepressant caused Sadie to develop heart malformations in utero, including a ventricular septal defect, an atrial septal defect, and coarctation of the aorta. The lawsuit indicates that Sadie suffers from a life-long disability that will require regular monitoring of her heart by doctors.
Pfizer Criticized for Failure to Warn About Zoloft Side Effects
Like other Zoloft lawsuits filed throughout the U.S., the Byingtons claim that Pfizer knew or should have known that its antidepressant may cause birth defects, and should have warned the medical community and potential users about the birth defect risk. In addition to failing to provide side effect warnings for Zoloft, the Byingtons allege that Pfizer actually encouraged doctors to prescribe Zoloft to women of childbearing age, women who were trying to conceive, and even to pregnant women. “To this day, Pfizer has not informed women of childbearing age or even pregnant women that they should not take Zoloft,” the lawsuit alleges. “Pfizer still targets these women as their primary market.”
Zoloft Lawsuits Filed for Birth Defects
In addition to heart birth defects, studies have indicated a potential link between Zoloft use in pregnancy and a risk of other serious birth defects in babies, including skull malformations, spina bifida, neural tube birth defects, abdominal defects, and PPHN (persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn), according to Zoloft lawsuits. Many of these birth defects occur if the medication is taken during the first trimester, which is a time when many women don’t yet realize they are pregnant. Therefore, Zoloft lawsuits allege that the drug maker should have provided stronger warnings about the risk of getting pregnant while taking Zoloft so that women could take the necessary precautions. It is expected that hundreds, if not thousands, of Zoloft lawsuits will be filed by attorneys across the U.S., which will then be transferred into the Zoloft MDL, or multidistrict litigation.