A North Carolina woman has filed a lawsuit against Pfizer, the makers of the SSRI antidepressant Zoloft, for the birth defects suffered by her child. Her son, born in September 2008, suffered from severe birth defects including the Zoloft skull defect craniosynostosis. This congenital defect causes the skull to grow abnormally due to premature fusing of the cranial plates. Unfortunately, the abnormal growth deforms the skull and limits room for the child’s developing brain. As a result, craniosynostosis can cause brain damage.
The child’s mother used Zoloft during her pregnancy. Zoloft (generic sertraline) falls in a class of drugs called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants. Other prescription drugs in the SSRI antidepressant class include Paxil, Prozac, Celexa and Lexapro.
The lawsuit claims that Pfizer knew or should have known that Zoloft could cause serious birth defects.It relies on studies as far back as 1990 that show a link between SSRI antidepressants and heart and skull defects. The lawsuit also alleges that Pfizer reasonably should have known of Zoloft birth defects risks based on clinical trials, post market surveillance and peer-review studies. Attorneys for the mother assert that Pfizer actively suppressed this information. The suit claims that she would not have taken Zoloft had she been aware of its pregnancy effects risks. The case seeks damages related to her child’s birth defects; medical expenses, lost wages and lost earning potential.
The lawsuit has been transferred into the Zoloft Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) in the US District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. The MDL consists of Zoloft birth defects lawsuits originally filed in states all across the U.S..