SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, also known as SSRIs, are a special class of antidepressants that treat depression, anxiety disorders and some personality disorders. Some common SSRIs include Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, Effexor, Lexapro, Celexa and Welbutrin.
Because known neurochemical symptoms of depression include a low level of serotonin in the brain, SSRIs are designed to elevate this key neurotransmitter. Anxiety disorders are also linked to serotonin. These disorders in effect work the other way: creating lower serotonin levels since serotonin is used to metabolize stress hormones.
Sadly, SSRIs are increasingly being linked with birth defects in the children of mothers who have taken these well-intended prescriptions drugs during pregnancy. These include heart, lung and other congenital birth defects. In fact, one prominent study found that infants exposed to this class of antidepressants during the first trimester of pregnancy had a 60% higher probability of developing congenital heart defects compared to newborns whose mothers did not take SSRI antidepressants.
If you or a loved one took an SSRI during pregnancy, you are not alone. Manufacturers and doctors have not routinely warned against this behavior. However, if you think a child’s birth defect may correlate to the use of antidepressant medication, you may have a case to compensate for your family’s undue suffering.
Class action lawsuits against the manufacturers of a variety of SSRIs are active and ongoing. Please don’t hesitate to call us to discuss potential legal action.