Johnson (not her real name pending a lawsuit) was 29 years old when she started taking Paxil. As soon as she was pregnant, Johnson asked her doctor and two specialists if she should discontinue taking the drug. They all said no. But in her second trimester she knew "it didn't feel right" and quit taking the drug. Her pregnancy went well with no apparent problems.
"My daughter Yasmine was born in October 2005 and during one of her three-month check-ups, she had an allergic reaction to one of the immunization shots. She was very swollen and had a high fever so I rushed her to Children's hospital in Pittsburg. I thought, and so did the ER doctors, that she had pneumonia. She was given medication and kept overnight. The next morning I got a call that the meds had to be stopped because a radiologist reviewed her x-rays and had found a cyst in her lung, right by her heart. I was terrified. They explained to me that pneumonia looks fuzzy on an x-ray but this came up as a perfect circle on her lung.
I talked to a surgeon at the hospital and he confirmed that it had to be removed but decided to wait until she was a bit older and that it would be better to operate in the spring when pneumonia was less likely to occur. Although it was life-threatening, the cyst was not changing. She had surgery this past May and we were in hospital for one month. It didn't heal right; the cyst was removed but air was leaking into her lungs and she had to have two lung surgeries. Part of Yasmine's lung went dead and never healed. Now she is OK but she has to go back every few months for check-ups. This will happen until her lungs stop growing, about age seven.
The doctors told me that they have found birth defects occurring with mothers who took Paxil in the first trimester. The cyst is considered a birth defect - it grew when she was developing.
I found out since then that the month she was born, a letter came to doctors from GlaxoSmithKline, telling them not to prescribe this drug to pregnant women and anyone taking it should stop immediately. My obstetrician told me there are other drugs that have been approved which I could have taken instead of Paxil. But for me it was too late.
READ MORE LEGAL NEWS
Despite all her problems Yasmine is doing well; the main thing is that she is alright. I just want more people to be aware: Paxil has caused many other birth defects, mainly with the heart but her cyst was in that same area. This whole episode caused me further depression and my primary care physician wanted to put me back on Paxil but I refused. I have been doing well without it, now that Yasmine is out of danger. Before Yasmine's surgery my husband and I didn't want to pursue a lawsuit, but the makers of Paxil are criminals - they should be held responsible."