One settlement that probably provides pending plaintiffs with hope is a settlement between GlaxoSmithKline (maker of Paxil) and approximately 800 claimants, who alleged their babies were born with birth defects after being exposed to Paxil. Those claims were settled for more than $1 billion, putting most Paxil litigation behind GlaxoSmithKline.
Meanwhile, in a separate lawsuit, a plaintiff reached a confidential settlement with GlaxoSmithKline after alleging that her infant son died of PPHN less than two months after being born. The infant was exposed to Paxil prior to birth.
Paxil is in a class of antidepressants known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). SSRIs and a similar class of drugs, known as SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) have been linked to a serious lung disorder, PPHN, in babies who were exposed to the medications prior to birth. Drugs included in the SSRI or SNRI class include Celexa, Prozac, Luvox, Paxil, Zoloft and Effexor.
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SSRIs are used to treat depression. Recent studies, however, suggest that they are associated with an increased risk of birth defects when used during pregnancy. In addition to PPHN, birth defects reportedly linked to SSRIs include atrial and septal defects.
Meanwhile, a Canadian study, published earlier this year, suggests that antidepressants such as Paxil are linked to an increased risk in miscarriage occurring before the 20th week of pregnancy.