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Zoloft Birth Defects Lawsuits Filed

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St. Louis, MOA Zoloft birth defects lawsuit has been filed, alleging infants exposed to the antidepressant prior to birth are at an increased risk of having birth defects. Among the birth defects reportedly linked to Zoloft and pregnancy are Zoloft omphalocele and craniosynostosis. Zoloft birth defects lawsuits allege infants were harmed by their mothers' use of Zoloft while pregnant.

The most recent lawsuit was filed by Sainyah Lancaster, against Pfizer Inc., maker of Zoloft. According to The Madison Record (02/15/12), Lancaster's lawsuit seeks class-action status, alleging that women were prescribed Zoloft while pregnant even though there was an increased risk of birth defects, including heart defects. Each of the mothers included in the lawsuit reportedly had an infant with serious medical defects.

The lawsuit alleges that Pfizer knew about the risks associated with taking Zoloft while pregnant, but hid those risks from patients. Pfizer is accused of negligence, fraud and failing to warn the public.

A study conducted at Boston University and published in The New England Journal of Medicine (06/28/07) found an increased risk of certain birth defects in infants exposed to Zoloft prior to birth. Those birth defects included omphalocele—when the baby is born with internal organs on the outside of his or her body—and septal defects.

Zoloft is in a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Studies done on SSRIs as a whole suggest an increased risk of certain birth defects, including persistent pulmonary hypertension, craniosynostosis and omphalocele. Each of the SSRI medications is slightly different from others, so it is not known how well the results of a study on Paxil, for example, would translate to Zoloft.

In 2006, the FDA issued a warning that the use of SSRI medications while pregnant could be linked to an increased risk of birth defects, but in December 2011, the agency revised its stance, saying that any conclusion about the link between SSRIs and birth defects was premature.

Some studies also suggest a link between the use of SSRI medications while pregnant and an increased risk of autism or developmental delays. A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry concluded that use of an SSRI during the first trimester of pregnancy was associated with a modestly increased risk of autism. Researchers concluded that more studies were necessary to confirm the findings.

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