Zoloft® and the Potential for Birth Defects

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Zoloft® (sertraline hydrochloride) is an antidepressant -- a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Scientific studies are linking antidepressant / SSRI's, including those similar to Zoloft®, to birth defects. The birth defects linked to Zoloft® include life threatening heart defects and Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the newborn (PPHN).

Pregnant Mothers Thought it was Safe

Families across the United States have babies born with birth defects after the mother took an antidepressant during pregnancy. Mothers who took antidepressants such as Zoloft® during their pregnancy did so because they thought it was safe. Some of these mothers report giving birth to babies with birth defects. These birth defects range from congenital heart defects to cleft lip or palate. Children with the birth defects have a variety of medical needs and some of the severe defects could require heart transplants.

Zoloft® may be associated with the following congenital defects:

  • Cardiac (heart) defects
  • PPHN (Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn)
  • Neural-tube defects (brain and spinal cord)
  • Craniosynostosis (skull defect)
  • Limb defects or Clubfoot
  • Cleft lip and cleft palate
  • Anal atresia (complete or partial closure of the anus)

If your baby was born with a birth defect and you took an antidepressant like Zoloft® during your pregnancy, there may be an opportunity for you to seek compensation. Please contact our firm at (713) 489-6566 if you would like to speak with our attorneys. Free confidential consultations are available nights and weekends.

Zoloft® in 3rd Trimester & PPHN

Some health practitioners found if Zoloft® is taken in the 3rd trimester there may be a risk of pulmonary hypertension (PPHN). A baby born with pulmonary hypertension can have serious lung problems that may lead to brain problems, heart problems, developmental problems and even death. In July 2006, the FDA issued a public health alert about the risks of taking SSRIs such as Zoloft® during pregnancy. PPHN is rare and serious and involves the newborn not receiving enough oxygen in the blood.

Zoloft and FDA Pregnancy Category C

FDA pregnancy categories are set up to give healthcare providers and patients a ranking system to evaluate risks of drugs during pregnancy. Drugs are classified as A, B, C, D and X. The A category of drugs are said to show no risk to the fetus. Drugs in the X category have been shown to cause fetal abnormalities and are teratogen (causing birth defects).

Zoloft® is a category C drug. This means there are adverse effects of the drug on the fetus in animal studies and that there aren't studies in humans. Using Zoloft® during pregnancy requires extensive study because there are risks that deserve clarification. Women are outraged as they find out taking Zoloft® may have put them at higher risk of their babies having birth defects such as PPHN or heart defects.