Paxil (paroxetine) is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) used to treat depression, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic attacks. A variation of the drug, Paxil CR, has also been approved to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Paxil and other SSRIs work by inhibiting the body’s reuptake of serotonin, a “feel good” neurotransmitter found in the brain. This prevention works to rebalance the brain chemistry among depressed patients, thereby restoring normal hormone levels. When SSRIs were first introduced, they were praised as a new generation of antidepressants and considered less dangerous than drugs of previous years.
It wasn’t long until expecting mothers who were taking Paxil or other SSRI began giving birth to babies with a range of defects. If you were taking an antidepressant while pregnant and delivered a child with a birth defect, you and your child may have a claim against the drug’s manufacturer. In that situation, you should talk to an experienced Paxil injury attorney and learn about your options for filing a lawsuit to recover damages.
Birth Defects Related to Paxil
Paxil and other drugs in the SSRI family are being implicated in a number of different birth defect lawsuits, and have been blamed for defects such as:
- Spina bifida
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN)
- Atrial septal defects (ASD)
- Ventricular septal defects (VSD)
- Hypoplastic right or left heart syndrome
- Transposition of the great arteries (TGA)
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Club feet
- Abdominal birth defects (omphalocele)
- Tetralogy of fallot (TOF)
- Aorta coarctation
- Cranial birth defects (craniosynotosis)
- The FDA’s Warning
In December of 2005, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to pregnant women and their doctors about the increased risk of heart defects among newborn babies when the mothers take Paxil during pregnancy. In response, the FDA reviewed two studies that revealed that during the first three months of pregnancy, expecting mothers were one-and-a-half to two times more likely to give birth to a child with a heart defect than women who took other antidepressant drugs or took no medications at all.
The FDA then issued a later warning that women who are in their first trimester of pregnancy or plan to become pregnant in the near future should not take Paxil.