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More Zoloft Lawsuits Filed

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Baton Rouge, LAAnother Zoloft lawsuit has been filed alleging a baby exposed to the antidepressant was born with Zoloft heart birth defects. The lawsuit alleges that Pfizer, maker of Zoloft, knew about the risks associated with a so-called Zoloft pregnancy but did not adequately warn patients and doctors about that risk.

According to Bayou Buzz (2/7/12), Terry and Nelda Rolling allege in their lawsuit that Nelda's use of Zoloft during her pregnancy caused her child to be born with a congenital birth defect. They further allege that Pfizer did not adequately warn patients about that risk, and that Pfizer concealed and suppressed information about Zoloft use while pregnant.

Studies conducted since Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs, a class of antidepressant that includes Zoloft) were introduced on the market suggest that drugs in the SSRI class are linked to an increased risk of certain congenital defects. Those defects reportedly include Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension and other heart defects. One study, published in the British Medical Journal (1/13/12), suggested that infants exposed to SSRI medications prior to birth had double the risk of being born with pulmonary hypertension as babies who experienced no such exposure.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reversed its stance on SSRI medications lately. In 2006, the FDA issued a warning that SSRIs could be linked to an increased risk of pulmonary hypertension of the newborn. In December 2011, however, the agency retreated from that stance, saying that any conclusion about the link between SSRI use while pregnant and pulmonary hypertension was premature. That announcement was made before the study in the British Medical Journal was released.

At least some parents whose infants were born with heart defects after being exposed to Zoloft in the womb believe Zoloft is the cause of those defects. Those parents have filed lawsuits against Pfizer alleging its drug caused birth defects. One such lawsuit was filed by a group of parents, alleging their babies were all born with major birth defects after they were exposed to Zoloft. The St. Clair Record (1/5/12) reports that the lawsuit accuses Pfizer of negligence and fraud.

While the FDA goes back and forth on its stance about SSRI medications and studies provide conflicting results about their safety, women are left to determine whether the risks of SSRI medications are worth the benefits. There are risks associated with having untreated depression while pregnant.

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