The U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to support the use of SSRI antidepressants among pregnant women, despite research which suggests the drugs may cause serious birth defects in infants, including persistent pulmonary hypertension.
In a statement issued December 14th, 2011, the FDA asserts that the link between SSRI antidepressants and persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPH) remains unclear. The FDA cites conflicting research studies which fail to definitively pinpoint SSRIs as a cause of the disease in newborns.
Pulmonary hypertension is a condition that prevents the normal circulation of blood throughout the body. Infants affected with persistent pulmonary hypertension may experience difficulty breathing or have an irregular heartbeat. If left untreated or if the condition is too severe, pulmonary hypertension can potentially result in severe brain damage, organ damage or even death. In adults, PPH has most recently been associated with the diet drug Fen Phen, which has been linked to serious side effects, including fatal heart conditions.
The FDA’s latest announcement is a follow-up to a 2006 advisory warning, which suggested a potential link between selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and PPH. That warning was based on a single study which suggested that the incidence of pulmonary hypertension in newborns was up to six times greater among women who used an SSRI after the 20th week of pregnancy.
The FDA has also said it will update the warning labels for SSRI drugs, such as Zoloft and Paxil, to reflect the most recent research data. However, the organization says it has no plans to recommend that pregnant women discontinue use of SSRIs to treat clinical depressions. Instead, the FDA is advising physicians and expecting mothers to carefully weight the benefits and risks of taking an SSRI to determine the best course of treatment.
While the link between pulmonary hypertension in newborns and SSRI drugs is unclear, a number of lawsuits have been filed by concerned parents who claim that these types of drugs caused other serious birth defects, including fatal heart conditions. These suits also claim that the manufacturers or SSRIs knowingly marketed the drugs without adequately warning women of the potential risk.
If you or someone you love has given birth to a child diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension or another serious birth defect after taking an SSRI antidepressant, you need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to compensation for outstanding medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
The law firm of Nadrich & Cohen LLP is available to assist parents in all 50 states who believe their child was injured by an SSRI antidepressant. Contact our Injury Hotline today at 1-800-722-0765 to schedule your free initial case evaluation. All cases are accepted on a contingency basis, meaning there is never a fee unless we recover a judgment on your behalf. Call now to find out how we can help you prove your pulmonary hypertension injury claim.