Since 1992, the global pharmaceutical behemoth Pfizer has been offering the antipsychotic/antidepressant drug Zoloft to the public. It was initially approved for the treatment of panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). It was later approved for treatment of long-term treatment of pediatric OCD. Zoloft also is the only Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) approved for the long-term treatment of PTSD.
This highly versatile drug is prescribed to nearly 30 million people worldwide each year. Over the past decade alone, Zoloft has been used for more than 10.2 billion patient days of therapy worldwide. This is an amazing amount of prescriptions in proportion to the amount of research done. Much of that research is sponsored by Pfizer in order to expand the drug’s roll in society. Unfortunately, little of the research has gone into one of its worst side effects, birth defects.
Zoloft Side Effects
Depression is very common in pregnant women as their hormones rage out of control. This is exacerbated by the fact pregnancy is accompanied with weight gain and serious life changes furthering feelings of anxiety. Even though Zoloft is accompanied with a black box warning regarding adolescent suicide, it is not accompanied with a warning of birth defects.
Listed Zoloft side effects:
- Decreased appetite or weight loss
- Diarrhea or loose stools
- Dry mouth
- Increased sweating
- Stomach or abdominal cramps, gas, or pain
- Tiredness or weakness
- Trembling or shaking
- Trouble sleeping
Zoloft and Birth Defects
However, there is research coming out that there are potentially serious birth defects associated with Zoloft. Some of these birth defects are apparent and detectable at the time of birth, some are less apparent and may manifest later, particularly effects on the heart.
Potential Zoloft Birth Defects:
Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) – This happens when the newborn’s circulation has not made the normal transition from fetal circulation to normal newborn circulation, because pressure in the lungs is increased and this causes distress.
Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) – An atrial septal defect (ASD) is a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart. Large and long-standing atrial septal defects can damage the heart and lungs. An adult who has had an undetected atrial septal defect for decades may have a shortened life span from heart failure or high blood pressure in the lungs.
Tetralogy of Fallot – This is a problem with the heart’s structure that’s present at birth. Congenital heart defects change the normal flow of blood through the heart.
Transposition of the Great Arteries – Transposition of the great arteries is a rare heart defect present at birth, in which the two main arteries leaving the heart are reversed (transposed).
Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome (HRHS) – This is the underdevelopment of the right sided structures of the heart. These defects cause inadequate blood flow to the lungs and thus, a blue or cyanotic infant.
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome – Hypoplastic left heart syndrome occurs when parts of the left side of the heart do not develop completely.
National Zoloft Lawyers
One of the most horrific things that can happen to a person is to watch their newborn child struggle in intensive care, and through life, knowing that it could have been prevented if they had simply known that there was a remote chance that the drug that they were taking during pregnancy could cause these serious side effects. Throughout the years, people haven’t even known that their child’s birth defects or developmental problems were related to Zoloft.
If you have found that you or a loved one has had a child with a birth defect and they were taking Zoloft during pregnancy, they may be entitled to compensation. It is important that you contact legal council that has experience in protecting patients from giant pharmaceutical companies. Call Phillips Law Firm for a consultation on your legal options.