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Zoloft is Linked To Heart Defects and Circulatory Issues in Newborns

Zoloft was introduced in the United States in 1991 and is one of the most popular medications prescribed to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, panic disorders, and anxiety disorders. Studies subsequent to its release have underlined the potential for side effects, especially for pregnant women and the risk of birth defects from Zoloft.

Serious side effects can result when taking antidepressants while pregnant. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are particularly notable among antidepressants as serotonin plays a role in the formation of cardiac tissue. Zoloft is an SSRI antidepressant that has been linked to heart defects and circulatory issues in babies born to mothers who were taking the drug during their pregnancy.

SSRI use after 20 weeks dramatically increases the risk of PPHN

Some side effects of Zoloft are persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN), and atrial or ventricular septal birth defects, also known as holes in the heart. Other heart problems alleged to have been caused by the drug include heart murmurs and valve defects.

A 2006 study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that children born to mothers who took SSRIs after their 20th week of pregnancy were six times more likely to suffer from PPHN than those who were not exposed to such drugs. PPHN occurs when a newborn’s circulation system has difficulty adapting to breathing outside the womb once the baby is born. It can be life-threatening.

A study in the Journal the following year found that women who took Zoloft during their first trimester of pregnancy were twice as likely to give birth to a child with a heart defect.

Lawsuits are filed against Pfizer, the manufacturer of Zoloft

Congenital heart defects occur early in fetal development, as the heart is formed during the first eight weeks of pregnancy.

A study published in the British Medical Journal in 2009 showed increased risk of septal heart defects in newborns after Zoloft use. A 2010 study in The American Journal of Nursing showed additional evidence of a possible link between SSRI antidepressants and congenital heart defects.

In light of these studies, several lawsuit filings have been brought against the manufacturer, Pfizer, by women seeking compensation for their medical expenses and punitive damages, because they continued to use the drug during their pregnancies while remaining unaware of the risks involved.

Pfizer now recommends that women who are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding should discuss taking Zoloft with their doctor, as the may run a higher risk of experiencing side effects such as heart defects in their children.

Zoloft litigation has become a prevalent occurrence for those seeking compensation for their injuries allegedly caused by the drug.

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