Prozac Birth Defect Lawsuits Offered through Resource4thePeople

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Legal advice available for patients who used Prozac and other SSRI antidepressants that allegedly caused infants to suffer persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, other birth defects

Resource4thePeople announced today that it is providing free consultations with attorneys for families who may have infants suffering from birth defects as a result of the use of Prozac or other SSRI antidepressants.

"There has been an increased awareness among consumers about possible links between the use of Prozac and other antidepressants classified as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and birth defects in infants born to mothers who used these medications," said Resource4thePeople.

"Because of this we have been receiving numerous inquiries about the legal rights of consumers in such cases. Therefore, Resource4thePeople will provide free legal consultations for any families who have allegedly been affected by these medications."

These consultations can provide legal options that may be available to such families in seeking compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering and other expenses that may stem from these circumstances, said Resource4thePeople.

Prozac is one of the world’s most well-recognized medications and was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1987 and became one of the most widely prescribed drugs in the United States and in Europe. 

It was one of the newest generations of anti-depressants called SSRIs that balance the levels of chemicals in the brain to treat depression and anxiety along with brand names Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Luvox and Viibryd.

Resource4thePeople lawyers are investigating claims from families who may have infants born to mothers using these antidepressants who suffer from such birth defects as cleft palate, club foot, spina bifida and heart and abdominal defects.

Also being investigated are claims involving another life-threatening birth defect called pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN).

This condition, according to the Food and Drug Administration, occurs when a newborn baby does not adapt to breathing outside the womb. The FDA says that newborns with PPHN may require intensive care support including a mechanical ventilator to increase their oxygen level. If severe, PPHN can result in multiple organ damage, including brain damage, and even death.

Resource4thePeople notes that the FDA has given mixed signals about the link between PPHN and SSRI use. In 2006 the agency issued a warning about the dangers of SSRI use and PPHN. Now the FDA says it is unsure.*

Here is the most recent statement by the FDA, released on Dec. 14, 2011:

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is updating the public on the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants by women during pregnancy and the potential risk of a rare heart and lung condition known as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). The initial Public Health Advisory in July 2006 on this potential risk was based on a single published study. Since then, there have been conflicting findings from new studies evaluating this potential risk, making it unclear whether use of SSRIs during pregnancy can cause PPHN.”

The FDA also issued the following additional information for patients about the links between Prozac and other SSRIs and pregnancy:

  •     "If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, talk with your healthcare professional if you are depressed or undergoing treatment for depression to determine your best treatment option during pregnancy.•    
  •     Talk to your healthcare professional about the potential benefits and risks of taking an SSRI during pregnancy.•    
  •     Do not stop taking an SSRI antidepressant without first talking to your healthcare professional. Stopping an SSRI antidepressant suddenly may cause unwanted side effects or a relapse of depression.•    
  •     Report any suspected side effects of SSRI use in pregnancy to your healthcare professional and to the FDA MedWatch program using the information in the "Contact Us" box at the bottom of the page."

The Mayo Clinic warns about the risk of birth defects and other problems for babies of mothers who take antidepressants during pregnancy** and says the even though the risk is low, "few medications have been proved safe without question during pregnancy and some types of antidepressants have been associated with health problems in babies."

Among the antidepressants that could put a child at risk of suffering a birth defect are Prozac and other SSRIs, according to the Mayo Clinic, which posted this safety alert:

"The potential risks of these antidepressants during pregnancy varies. Early studies suggested a risk of limb malformation with tricyclic antidepressants, but the risk hasn't been confirmed by more-recent studies. Some research associates use of citalopram, fluoxetine and sertraline with a rare but serious newborn lung problem (persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, or PPHN) when taken during the last half of pregnancy, as well as heart defects affecting the septum — the wall of tissue that separates the left side of the heart from the right side of the heart. Other rare birth defects have been suggested as a possible risk in some studies, but not others. Still, the overall risks remain extremely low."

Resource4thePeople also notes that the legal question about the safety of SSRIs is the focus of an ongoing multidistrict litigation involving Zoloft and is under the jurisdiction of a federal judge*** in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where the judge recently issued an order to lawyers to choose bellwether cases from among the many lawsuits in the litigation.

Resource4thePeople is also informing families who may have allegations similar to those in the multidistrict litigation about the alleged links between SSRIs and birth defects that even though bellwether cases are being selected these families may still have legal options to join in the litigation.


***In Re: Zoloft (Sertraline Hydrochloride) Products Liability Litigation - MDL 2342, United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

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Bill Callahan
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