"Zoloft is an SSRI used to treat depression," Malik says. "Like many other drugs in that class, it is linked to an increased risk of birth defects. In other words, use of Zoloft during pregnancy might cause birth defects, such as craniosynostosis, omphalocele, hypoplastic right heart syndrome in which the heart is malformed, persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), spina bifida, cleft palate, cleft lip, septal defect and other serious heart conditions."
Lawsuits have now been filed against the maker of Zoloft, alleging babies that were exposed to the antidepressant prior to birth have suffered serious birth defects. They further allege that women were not adequately warned about the risks associated with taking Zoloft while pregnant.
"The cases are in multi-district litigation in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania," Malik says. "There are around 200 Zoloft birth defect lawsuits filed there. So far, there have been no settlements announced, to my knowledge, regarding Zoloft."
Zoloft is made by Pfizer, who is currently denying any liability related to the use of the antidepressant while pregnant. Malik says that studies confirm the use of certain antidepressants during pregnancy is linked to an increased risk of birth defects.
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Although there are currently no settlements concerning Zoloft, there have been some announced in Paxil birth defects litigation.
"This Zoloft litigation is relatively new," Malik says. "It is not too late to join a lawsuit. Patients simply need proof they used the drug during the first trimester and that they had a baby born with one of the defects I mentioned."