Study Ties Side Effects of Zoloft in Pregnancy to Heart, Skull Birth Defects in Babies

Zoloft Birth Defect Study

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Study Ties Side Effects of Zoloft in Pregnancy to Heart, Skull Birth Defects in Babies

The SSRI antidepressant Zoloft has been linked to heart defects, cranial malformations and other birth defects when taken during pregnancy.

The findings of another new study indicate that babies exposed to the antidepressant Zoloft in pregnancy may have an increased risk of suffering severe heart and skull malformations at birth. In the study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology on January 28, Canadian researchers found that exposure to Zoloft in utero may increase a baby’s risk of atrial and ventricular heart defects by 30%, and more than double the risk of a severe skull defect known as craniosynostosis. If you believe you or a loved one has been harmed by alleged side effects of Zoloft, our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation can help put you in touch with a knowledgeable Zoloft lawyer who has experience handling birth defect claims.

SSRI Antidepressant Medications

Zoloft (sertraline) is a popular antidepressant drug manufactured by Pfizer, and used by tens of millions of individuals in the United States to combat depression and other psychiatric disorders. Zoloft belongs to a widely-used class of antidepressants known as SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which a growing body of research has linked to an increased risk of birth defects in babies when taken during pregnancy. Researchers involved in the Zoloft birth defect study analyzed data on 18,493 pregnancies between 1998 and 2010, involving women suffering from depression, and compared the birth outcomes of women prescribed Zoloft and those prescribed other SSRI antidepressants, as well as women prescribed non-SSRI antidepressants, and those prescribed no medications at all.

Side Effects of Zoloft Use in Pregnancy

According to the researchers’ findings, women who use Zoloft while pregnant may have a 30% increased risk of giving birth to a baby with atrial or ventricular heart malformations, and more than double the risk of giving birth to a baby with craniosynostosis, a severe cranial defect in which the baby’s skull closes before the brain is fully formed, resulting in a misshapen head and possible brain abnormalities. “Sertraline use during the first trimester of pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of atrial/ventricular defects and craniosynostosis above and beyond the effect of maternal depression,” the researchers wrote. “Non-sertraline SSRIs were associated with an increased risk of craniosynostosis and musculoskeletal defects.”

Potential Risk of Birth Defects from Zoloft

This research is the latest in a series of studies that have raised serious concerns about the potential for Zoloft use in early pregnancy to result in an increased risk of devastating birth defects in babies, during a time when many women aren’t even aware that they are pregnant. In November 2006, the FDA issued a warning notifying consumers and doctors about the six-times increased risk of a birth defect known as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), which has been linked to Zoloft and other newer antidepressant drugs when taken after the 20th week of pregnancy. SSRI antidepressant drugs like Zoloft have also been linked to brain defects, skull abnormalities, gastrointestinal defects, heart malformations and more.

Contact a Qualified Zoloft Birth Defect Lawyer Today

Pfizer currently faces several hundred Zoloft lawsuits filed by the parents of children born with severe birth defects after being exposed to the SSRI antidepressant drug in pregnancy. All of the complaints involve similar allegations that the drug company failed to provide adequate warnings about the potential risks associated with becoming pregnant while taking Zoloft. If you or a loved one has suffered from a heart defect, skull malformation, or another serious birth defect, and you believe Zoloft to be the cause, contact a knowledgeable Zoloft attorney today to explore your possible compensation options.
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