Pristiq is considered a next-generation antidepressant drug because of its ability to block the uptake of two neurotransmitters in the brain, serotonin and norepinephrine. Pristiq and other drugs of this kind are called SNRIs, or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, and are considered to be slightly more effective in treating depression than selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which act upon serotonin alone. In the past SSRIs were the most popular antidepressants on the market, although they may soon be replaced by SNRIs like Pristiq, which have shown success in relieving depression and improving certain mood disorders. The active ingredient in Pristiq is desvenlafaxine, which is a synthetic form of venlafaxine, sold under brand names Effexor and Efexor. Pristiq was approved by the FDA in 2008 for the treatment of major depressive disorder in adults and can be found in 50mg and 100mg extended-release tablets for oral consumption.
According to a number of antidepressant side effect studies, women who take certain antidepressants during pregnancy may significantly increase their chances of giving birth to infants with one or more serious side effects, particularly life-altering birth defects. One of the most dangerous birth defects allegedly associated with antidepressants like Pristiq is PPHN, or persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn. PPHN is a severe congenital malformation in which a child’s circulation continues to bypass the lungs after birth, depriving the rest of the body of oxygen. Without a sufficient supply of oxygen over a period of time, the body’s critical organs and tissues may suffer significant damage and begin to shut down. PPHN is an extremely dangerous condition and can lead to life-threatening complications like shock, seizures, heart failure, brain hemorrhage, kidney failure, mass organ damage, and death.
Although the majority of antidepressant side effect studies have concentrated on SSRI drugs in particular, mostly because these drugs have been around for a longer period of time, the similarities between SSRIs and SNRIs like Pristiq may allow researchers to examine SSRI antidepressant research in order to evaluate the potential side effects of SNRI antidepressants like Pristiq. In 2006, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study in which researchers found a shocking six-fold increased risk of PPHN among infants exposed to certain antidepressants after the twentieth week of pregnancy, compared to unexposed infants. According to researchers, up to twelve out of 1,000 infants exposed to an SSRI during pregnancy developed PPHN, compared to the expected rate among the general population, which is one to two infants out of 1,000. Shortly after reviewing the results of this study, the FDA issued a public health advisory warning patients and healthcare providers about the increased risk of PPHN among infants exposed to SSRI antidepressants in utero. The FDA also required all sponsors of SSRIs to change prescribing information to include the potential risk for PPHN.
Pristiq has been labeled a pregnancy category C medication by the FDA, a category reserved for drugs with the potential to cause serious harm to a fetus when taken during pregnancy. Because of this alleged danger, the FDA has advised healthcare professionals to avoid prescribing Pristiq to pregnant women unless the possible benefits of the treatment outweigh the potential risks to the fetus. If you are currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant, and you are taking Pristiq, consult your physician to discuss alternative treatment options. It may be dangerous to terminate use of a prescription medication without medical consent, but your doctor may be able to help you find a safer way to treat your condition.
Despite the potential dangers associated with antidepressants like Pristiq, these drugs remain on the market available to millions of consumers, including pregnant women. If you or a loved one has suffered from a birth defect and you believe Pristiq to be the cause, contact a Pristiq attorney to discuss the benefits of filing a Pristiq lawsuit against Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (Pfizer). The goal of Pristiq lawsuits and potential Pristiq class action lawsuits is to seek financial compensation for your injuries and medical expenses, as well as the pain and suffering endured by you and your family. Defective drug lawsuits also bring public attention to the importance of safe medications and the need for more strict regulations on the dangerous drugs already on the market.
Drug companies like Wyeth are responsible for the safety and effectiveness of their medications, and should be held accountable for any adverse side effects sustained by consumers of their products. Unfortunately, some pharmaceutical companies deny liability for dangerous drug injuries in order to shield themselves from negative consequences, such as a drug recall. This dishonest practice prevents injury victims from receiving the reimbursement they are entitled to, leaving them to shoulder the financial burden associated with birth defect medical bills on their own. The only way to protect your rights as a consumer and collect the compensation you deserve is to hire a qualified Pristiq lawyer to represent your case.