The Pennsylvania Record (7/20/13) reports that Marisol Smith claims her son, Prince Lloyd Tahreek Smith was born on June 27, 2011, and was diagnosed with respiratory distress syndrome, atrial septal defect with ventricular tachycardia and patent ductus arteriosis. He died five days after birth of pulmonary and intraventricular hemorrhage.
While pregnant, Smith was reportedly using a generic version of Zoloft called sertraline. Smith alleges Pfizer, maker of Zoloft, and Greenstone LLC, maker of sertraline, knew about the risk of infant heart defects if the antidepressants were taken during pregnancy but failed to adequately warn about those risks.
The lawsuit is case number 2:13-cv-041430CMR.
Zoloft is in a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are a relatively new class of antidepressant but have been linked in some studies to an increased risk of birth defects, including congenital heart defects, cleft palates and developmental delays.
A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry (7/12) found that infants exposed to an SSRI medication prior to birth were more likely to have delayed head growth and were at an increased risk of preterm birth. Untreated maternal depression, however, was associated with delayed fetal body and head growth. Researchers noted, however, that more studies were required before any definitive conclusions could be reached.
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Meanwhile, a study published in The British Journal of Psychiatry (2/21/13) found that exposure to an SSRI prior to birth was associated with low Apgar scores. Apgar tests are given to infants at one and five minutes post-birth, and test whether the infant is breathing normally or experiencing heart trouble. Scores beneath seven are considered low. Low Apgar scores were reportedly seen in infants exposed to SSRIs but not in infants exposed to other antidepressants.