Sales of the antidepressant Zoloft are on the rise, despite an increasing number of lawsuits filed by parents who claim that their babies suffered birth defects caused by using the SSRI antidepressant drug during pregnancy.
Pharmaceutical company Pfizer, the manufacturer of Zoloft, recently released its third-quarter revenues report for 2012. The drug giant plans to release its fourth-quarter revenues report for 2012 on January 29, 2013.
Pfizer reported increased third-quarter and nine-month Zoloft revenues in the United States for 2012. Zoloft revenues in the third quarter of 2012 increased 13% to $17 million, up from $15 million in 2011. U.S. Zoloft revenues for the first nine months of 2012 rose 7% from the same period in 2011 to $49 million. Notwithstanding increased Zoloft sales, Pfizer’s total biopharmaceuticals revenue in the U.S. dropped from 2011 to 2012 during both of those periods by approximately 21% (third quarter) and 18% (first nine months), respectively.
Despite Pfizer’s growing profit from Zoloft, the drug has come under intense scrutiny in recent years. Like other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro and Paxil, use of Zoloft during pregnancy has been linked to increased birth defects risks.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a study published in the February 2006 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine found that a life-threatening neonatal lung condition known as Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN), “was six times more common in babies whose mothers took an SSRI antidepressant after the 20th week of the pregnancy compared to babies whose mothers did not take an antidepressant.” The FDA explains, “Babies with PPHN have high pressure in their lung blood vessels and are not able to get enough oxygen into their bloodstream.”
In November 2006, the FDA issued a Drug Safety Alert regarding use of SSRI antidepressants in pregnancy in response to the PPHN/SSRI study:
[The New England Journal of Medicine] study found that infants born to women who had taken SSRIs after the 20th week of pregnancy experienced a sixfold increase in the risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN)…FDA is seeking more information about the possible risk of PPHN in infants born to mothers who took antidepressants during pregnancy. In the meantime, FDA has asked the manufacturers of all SSRIs to add the potential risk of PPHN to their prescribing information.
According to a March 2010 article in the journal Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, “Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension (PPHN) complicates the course of approximately 10 percent of infants with respiratory failure, and is a source of considerable mortality and morbidity in this population.”
More recent studies have built up a strong body of evidence showing the dangers of Zoloft for pregnant women and their children. For example, a 2012 review of recent studies by researchers at Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston IVF, and Tufts University School of Medicine linked use of Zoloft and other SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy to an increased risk of several birth defects. The researchers stated that, “Pregnant women taking antidepressants have been shown to have higher rates of miscarriage, preterm birth and neonatal health issues.”
As more evidence mounts of the birth defect side effects risks linked to Zoloft use during pregnancy, the number of suits against Pfizer also increases. Over 260 Zoloft birth defects lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. so far and many more are expected to be filed.
Zoloft lawsuits claim use of the SSRI antidepressant during pregnancy increases the risk of several birth defects:
- Atrial Septal Defects (ASD)
- Abdominal Birth Defects
- Anal Atresia/Imperforate Anus
- Cleft Lip
- Cleft Palate
- Craniosynostosis (cranial/skull defect)
- Heart Defects
- Lung Defects
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)
- Pulmonary Stenosis (PS)
- Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)
- Ventricular Septal Defects (VSD)
- Newborn Death
If you took Zoloft during your pregnancy and your baby suffered any of these birth defect side effects, you may have a claim and should contact a lawyer.
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Our experienced Zoloft lawyers would like to speak with you about your legal rights, options and potential claim to a Zoloft settlement. Call us at toll-free at 800-845-6913 or submit the attorney contact form on this page. Get a free no obligation consultation with an experienced Zoloft lawsuit attorney.