Zoloft falls into the category of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), a type of drug designed to treat depression and anxiety. Zoloft was initially marketed to women of childbearing age to treat an additional condition called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Since this medication did not carry the appropriate warning, if a woman became pregnant, doctors would typically encourage the expecting mother to remain on the medication. Later studies revealed that Zoloft and other SSRIs are actually dangerous when a woman takes the drug while pregnant. In fact, the unborn baby can suffer serious heart defects, deformities, developmental delays and other birth defects.
If you have taken Zoloft or another type of SSRI and delivered a baby with an emotional, physical or psychological defect, you should talk to a Zoloft injury attorney about filing a claim against the drug manufacturer.
Zoloft Birth Defects
In September of 2005, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began receiving reports that women who were taking antidepressant drugs such as Zoloft and other SSRIs may be at risk for delivering newborns with SSRI-induced birth defects. A Danish study revealed that women who took certain antidepressants while pregnant exhibited a 60 percent greater chance of delivering a baby with heart defects than women who were not on this type of antidepressant. There are a number of birth defects that can result from SSRI use during pregnancy, including:
- The heart conditions Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA), and Coarctation of the Aorta
- Craniosynostosis, where the skull closes prematurely
- Club foot
- Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)/Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), known as a “hole in the heart”
- Oral clefts
- Developmental delays
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension in Newborns (PPHN), a life-threatening lung condition
- Heart murmurs
- Neural tube defects
- Spina bifida
- Omphalocele, where the abdominal organs protrude at the bellybutton
- Two Recent Studies
A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry in July 2011 indicates a relationship between autism and SSRI use during the year prior to giving birth. The risk of delivering a baby with autism quadrupled when women took an SSRI during the first trimester. A study published in May of 2012 reveals a link between babies suffering seizures shortly after birth and a mother’s SSRI use during pregnancy. Some of the babies who did not have seizures were born prematurely, possibly due to the mother using an SSRI while pregnant.