According to The Madison St. Clair Record (11/30/11), at least eight couples gave birth to children with various birth defects after the expectant mothers used Zoloft while pregnant. Lawsuits were filed on behalf of those eight couples, arguing that the mothers took the Zoloft while pregnant believing that the medication was safe for the babies.
Among the reported birth defects were heart defects, neural tube defects, craniosynostosis, cleft lip and omphalocele. Lawsuits against Pfizer, maker of Zoloft, state that the company either knew or should have known that Zoloft could cross the placenta, potentially causing harm to the unborn fetus. Furthermore, the lawsuits allege that Pfizer knew of the risks of taking Zoloft while pregnant but did not warn the public about those risks and marketed the medication as being the safest antidepressant available.
Lawsuits against Pfizer claim breach of express warranty, negligence, fraud, and misrepresentation and violation of consumer protection laws.
Meanwhile, lawsuits have also been filed alleging that some infants born with birth defects linked to Zoloft have died shortly after birth. One such lawsuit was reportedly filed by a Missouri family, who alleges their daughter died one day after birth. The family says the infant was born in October 2009 with ventricular septal defect, atrial septic defect and pulmonary valve atresia, which the family alleges was caused by the mother's use of Zoloft while pregnant.
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In a different lawsuit, the parents of an infant boy who died 18 hours after birth allege the mother's use of Zoloft while pregnant contributed to the infant's death. The boy, Dillion, was born with anencephaly, a birth defect in which the infant is missing the forebrain and cerebrum. Most infants born with anencephaly die within hours or days of birth. A 2007 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found a link between the use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy and an increased risk of birth defects. Included in the reported links was an increased risk of anencephaly in infants exposed to sertraline (the generic form of Zoloft).