Updated Zoloft SSRI Birth Defects Lawsuits Help: Resource4thePeople Reports Important Court Hearing Rescheduled

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Judge overseeing consolidated federal court litigation sets new hearing over lawsuits alleging that Zoloft, other antidepressants may cause birth defects. Resource4thePeople's national network of attorneys maintain offer of free consultations to families with children allegedly suffering birth defects after use of SSRIs during pregnancies.


Resource4thePeople announced today in its latest update for consumers who are following allegations that Zoloft and other antidepressants known as SSRIs may put some women at risk of delivering babies with birth defects that an important court hearing has been rescheduled.

A U.S. District judge overseeing consolidated federal lawsuits* involving these allegations has now rescheduled a status hearing with attorneys for the plaintiffs in the cases and defense lawyers for Nov. 18, 2013 and requested the attorneys to present her with an agenda for and update on the litigation.

"This will be an important hearing at which consumers will be able to learn more about the progress of this important litigation that involves claims that popular antidepressants known as SSRIs are linked to birth defects in infants," said Resource4thePeople.

"As soon as this agenda is submitted and made public record we will update consumers about the specifics of the hearing. In the meantime, we will continue to offer consumers complimentary consultations over legal options to seek compensation for allegations of birth defects involving Zoloft and other SSRIs."

Also of note are the latest figures** provided by the U.S. Panel for Multidistrict Litigation that show that as of Sept. 11. 2013 there are now 406 Zoloft lawsuits alleging birth defects before Judge Cynthia Rufe in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Judge Rufe is also overseeing a parallel multidistrict litigation*** involving claims that another antidepressant known as an SNRI, Effexor, also may cause birth defects in infants born to women who took the medication shortly before or during pregnancies.

The latest figures** as of Sept. 12 from the same federal panel show that there are now 43 Effexor cases before Judge Rufe.

The latest warning questioning the effectiveness and addressing side effects involving SSRIs was published Aug. 19, 2013 in The New York Times**** in an article by a physician who laments the lack of progress in developing effective, safe antidepressants.

"This is just the latest of the concerns raised about the effectiveness and safety of SSRIs, which are a class of medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors," said Resource4thePeople.

"As the physician points out, whether or not these medications such as Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac and Lexapro are providing safe, effective treatment for depression is open to debate and patients 'often fail to respond adequately to these medications or cannot tolerate their side effects.'"

Among the SSRI lawsuits filed is one***** that claims that Paxil, taken by a mother during her pregnancy, was responsible for her giving birth to an infant suffering from a birth defect. The lawsuit alleges that the child had to undergo surgery to treat a neural tube defect, according to the court file.

Resource4thePeople also notes the publication of new medical research data that raises concerns about whether the SSRI anti-depressants may also put patients at increased risk of suffering heart arrhythmia.

These concerns are detailed in published reports of a medical research study in the Jan. 29, 2013 British Medical Journal.******

"There is a growing concern about the safety of SSRIs and because of this we will continue to offer free consultations to review allegations of birth defects and other dangerous side effects involving the use of these medications," said Resource4thePeople.

"As The New York Times article points out as many of 20 percent of Americans may have used antidepressants and the inquiries we are receiving from consumers indicates that the number of people seeking consultations over these allegations is increasing."

Among the claims being reviewed by Resource4thePeople attorneys are that women who used SSRIs to treat depression while pregnant were allegedly put at increased risk of giving birth to an infant suffering from alleged birth defects such as cleft palate, club foot, spina bifida and heart and abdominal defects.

Also being reviewed are claims involving the life-threatening lung condition known as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN).

Resource4thePeople also notes another SSRI warning from a Great Britain health official.

Professor Stephen Pilling, adviser to Scotland's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence announced that taking antidepressants for mild to moderate depression is a risk not worth taking for pregnant woman.

A July 3, 2013 Scottish newspaper article******* detailed his warning, reporting that, "One in seven Scots takes anti-depressants but now women are being warned against using them in early pregnancy amid claims that they increase the risk of a child being born with a heart defect."

That this heart defect is among several birth defect issues linked to SSRIs raised by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in a 2006 Public Health Advisory******** that the agency later updated in 2011 that raise serious concerns about the effects on children born to mothers who used these medications during their pregnancies.

SSRI anti-depressants are sold under various brand and generic drug names such as Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil, Lexapro, Celexa and Depakote and are described by The National Institute of Mental Health as the most popular antidepressants prescribed in the United States.*********

The FDA warned in its 2011 update********** that it is unsure of whether the use of SSRIs during a pregnancy puts a mother at greater risk of giving birth to a child suffering PPHN.

*In Re: Zoloft (Sertraline Hydrochloride) Products Liability Litigation - MDL 2342, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
*** MDL - 2458 IN RE: Effexor (Venlafaxine Hydrochloride) Products Liability Litigation
*****Case # 2:2013-cv-03696, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
******BMJ, January 29, 2013; http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f288
*******Daily Record, July 3, 2013; http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/health-fitness/could-taking-anti-depressants-early-pregnancy-2019979
********FDA, December 14, 2011; http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/DrugSafetyInformationforHeathcareProfessionals/PublicHealthAdvisories/ucm124348.htm
*********NIMH, 2008; http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/mental-health-medications/index.shtml
**********FDA, December 14, 2011; http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm283375

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