According to The Pennsylvania Record (8/8/13), the lawsuits have in common allegations that exposure to Effexor - a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor - prior to birth caused their infants to suffer birth defects. So far, nine lawsuits against the drug companies responsible for Effexor have been transferred as part of the MDL. Cases are consolidated as an MDL when they have common questions of fact and can be joined to avoid duplication of efforts during the pretrial proceedings and discovery process.
Effexor is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, which is used to treat depression by increasing the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the patient’s brain. It, along with similar antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, has been linked to an increased risk of birth defects in infants exposed to the antidepressants while in the womb. Those birth defects reportedly include an increased risk of congenital heart defects, persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) and oral clefts.
READ MORE EFFEXOR BIRTH DEFECTS LEGAL NEWS
Among other side effects that may be linked to SSRIs and similar antidepressants are developmental issues, autism spectrum disorder, lower Apgar scores and lower birth weight. However, as the author of the Contemporary OB/GYN article notes, there is also a risk to having untreated depression while pregnant.
Lawsuits against the makers of Effexor and other antidepressants allege patients were not adequately warned about the risks associated with the medications, putting their infants at risk of being born with antidepressant side effects. Some lawsuits regarding certain SSRI medications have been settled. Others continue to work their way through the courts.