One lawsuit was reportedly filed in Florida, alleging a young boy was born with ventricular septal defect - a hole between the lower chambers of the heart. The lawsuit also alleges the boy was born with patent foramen ovale, a hole in the upper chambers of the heart that is supposed to close when the infant is born.
The lawsuit alleges Pfizer knew or should have known that its antidepressant was linked to an increased risk of birth defects and included adequate warnings on the label. Furthermore, the lawsuit reportedly alleges Pfizer suppressed information about Zoloft’s negative side effects.
Meanwhile, in a separate lawsuit, a plaintiff has alleged Zoloft does not work any better than a placebo. According to reports, the plaintiff used Zoloft for three years but did not report any improvement in her depression. The lawsuit accuses Pfizer of committing consumer fraud. Pfizer has called the lawsuit frivolous.
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The risks reportedly vary depending on the drug used. For example, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (2007) found the risk of a heart defect was double in women who took Zoloft during the first few months of pregnancy but triple in women who used Paxil. Among the birth defects that increased with Zoloft use were omphalocele and septal defects.
Women who have depression and are pregnant face a decision in whether or not to take antidepressants while pregnant. While there are risks to taking antidepressants while pregnant, there are also risks to having untreated depression during pregnancy.