SSRI Birth Defects Lawsuits Help: Resource4thePeople Reports Questions Continue To Be Raised over Effectiveness of Antidepressants

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Latest concerns raised in major media over similarities between medications and lack of drug innovations to treat depression and avoid serious side effects. Meanwhile, Resource4thePeople's national network of attorneys will continue offering free consultations to families with children allegedly suffering birth defects after use of SSRIs during pregnancies.

Resource4thePeople announced today its latest update for consumers who are following allegations that a class of antidepressants known as SSRIs have dangerous side effects, including putting some women at risk of delivering babies with birth defects.

The latest warning questioning the effectiveness and addressing side effects 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 those side effects are allegations that SSRIs taken during early pregnancy significantly increase the risk of birth defects, according to the court file in consolidated federal SSRI lawsuits** in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

For instance, one of the lawsuits*** has been filed claiming 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).

The judge overseeing SSRI lawsuits from across the country that have been consolidated before her** into what is called a multidistrict litigation, has scheduled an important hearing to monitor the progress of the lawsuits.

Judge Cynthia M. Rufe set a Leadership Status Conference for Sept. 27, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pa. involving the Defendants’ Lead and Liaison Counsel, Plaintiffs’ Liaison Counsel, the Executive Committee of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, the Multi-District Coordinator, and the Special Discovery Master, according to the court file.

Resource4thePeople also notes that as the SSRI litigation advances, another warning has been sounded recently over possible links between SSRIs and birth defects, this 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.

"This is the latest red flag raised about the allegations that taking SSRIs during pregnancy may cause mothers to give birth to children suffering birth defects that were initially raised by the FDA years ago," said Resource4thePeople.

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.

"A common question we have been receiving from consumers involves the question of how their legal rights may be affected by the progress of this litigation,” said Resource4thePeople.

“Every case is different but these consultations can provide information about whether such families may be eligible to seek compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering and other expenses that may stem from these circumstances.

**In Re: Zoloft (Sertraline Hydrochloride) Products Liability Litigation - MDL 2342, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
***Case # 2:2013-cv-03696, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
****BMJ, January 29, 2013;
*****Daily Record, July 3, 2013;
******FDA, December 14, 2011;
*******NIMH, 2008;
********FDA, December 14, 2011;

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