The first of over 1,000 Zoloft birth defect lawsuits has gone to trial, and a lawyer has provided evidence that Pfizer researchers concluded that women who take Zoloft while pregnant risk giving birth to children with heart defects. According to Bloomberg, the evidence is contained in a May 2014 internal report on Zoloft, in which the babies of women taking the drug were found to be at risk of suffering congenital defects. Plaintiffs in Zoloft birth defect lawsuits are arguing that Pfizer ignored this and other red flags pointing to potential birth defects in order to secure billions of dollars in sales.
Zoloft belongs to a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs are often prescribed to help treat depression, anxiety, bulimia, and obsessive-compulsive behavior. However, multiple studies have linked SSRIs like Zoloft to serious heart and lung birth defects in children. One such study reported that women who took a certain SSRI during the first three months of pregnancy were twice as likely to give birth to children with heart defects. In another study, researchers concluded that children whose mothers took an SSRI during the first three months of pregnancy had a 50 percent increased risk of developing a heart defect.
In addition to birth defects, SSRIs like Zoloft have also been linked to increase death rates in critically ill patients. When taken with other medications such as painkillers, anti-psychotics, or anti-cholesterol drugs, SSRIs have been found to cause ventricular arrhythmia and in some cases sudden death. A study conducted in 2012 found that critically ill patients were more likely to die if they were taking commonly prescribed antidepressants such as Zoloft when they were admitted to the intensive care unit.
In 2012, a judicial panel ruled that Zoloft birth defect lawsuits filed against Pfizer would be consolidated in the federal court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Since then, the number of Zoloft lawsuits has continued to grow.
Remember to consult your doctor or physician whenever you choose to switch medications. If you or someone close to you experienced birth defects or severe side effects after taking Zoloft, contact the attorneys at Lopez McHugh for a free consultation. You may be eligible to pursue compensation through your own Zoloft lawsuit.