Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride) entered the U.S. drug market in 1991. Developed by Pfizer, Inc., Zoloft has become one of the most popularly-prescribed antidepressant medications, both under the brand name Zoloft and less commonly under the brand name Lustral. Zoloft is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) used to control anxiety and depression.
Although Zoloft has been widely prescribed, its use can come with serious risks. In the mid-1990s, the drug came under scrutiny for unusually high rates of violent behavior and suicide, particularly in young patients. In recent years, an increased number of birth defects in patients who were prescribed Zoloft while pregnant have brought the drug’s risks back into the spotlight. If your child suffered birth defects and you took Zoloft while pregnant, or if you’ve suffered other serious side effects while on Zoloft, don’t hesitate to contact the Jacksonville Florida pharmaceutical litigation attorneys at Farah & Farah.
Zoloft has been linked to a number of birth defects, including the below:
- Miscarriage and premature birth. Rates of premature birth among women who had taken Zoloft were higher than rates among women who had not, according to one study reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
- Clubbed foot. Children with clubbed feet have one or more foot that turns inward at the ankle. Some cases of clubbed foot require surgery to correct.
- Cleft lip or palate. In a cleft lip, the child’s upper lip fails to fuse properly in the middle. A cleft palate occurs when the bones in the roof of the mouth don’t join properly, leaving a connection between the mouth and the nasal cavity. Both cleft lip and cleft palate typically require surgery to fix, although some cases of cleft palate can be remedied temporarily with a prosthetic device placed in the mouth to cover the gap in the roof of the mouth.
- Heart defects. Several heart defects have been connected to Zoloft use, including enlarged hearts and septal heart defects. In an enlarged heart, the heart is too big and too weak to efficiently pump blood through the body. Septal heart defects involve malformations in the wall (septum) between the left and the right sides of the heart. Septal heart defects often require surgery to correct, and they are far more likely in the children of women who took SSRIs like Zoloft during pregnancy than in the children of women who did not take any SSRIs.
- Brain and skull problems. Zoloft may also contribute to problems with the growth of the skull and the fusing of the bones of the skull during development. If these processes do not proceed correctly due to interference from Zoloft or another source, serious brain damage and other problems can result.
The Help You Need
If you or your child’s mother took Zoloft during pregnancy and your child has birth defects, please don’t hesitate to contact a Jacksonville injury lawyer at Farah & Farah. Our Jacksonville Zoloft injury lawyers will help you understand your legal rights and seek the compensation you deserve. For a free and confidential case evaluation, contact our office at 855-797-9899 today.