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Craniosynostosis: A Serious Zoloft Birth Defect

The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study that showed that infants exposed to SSRI drugs such as Zoloft while in the womb are twice as likely as other infants to experience a birth defect known as craniosynostosis. Craniosynostosis is a condition marked by the premature closing of an infant’s skull, which can inhibit brain growth. This condition can be associated with genetic disorders such as Apert, Carpenter, Crouzon, Chotzen, and Pfeiffer syndromes as well as the use of SSRI drugs during a woman’s pregnancy.

Risks of Zoloft use

Craniosynostosis signs include misshapen head, developmental delays, seizures, and blindness. There are two different treatments for craniosynostosis–one involves a cranial mold being used to reshape the skull, which can be effective in less severe cases. If the birth defect is more severe, however, surgery may be necessary in order to relieve pressure on the brain and cranial nerves and help improve the symmetry of the infant’s skull.

Zoloft increases the likelihood of infants developing craniosynostosis, but this isn’t the only reason women are worried about taking the drug during their pregnancies. Multiple studies have shown that taking Zoloft and similar SSRI drugs, which can help treat depression, general anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post traumatic stress disorder, can contribute to several serious birth defects in infants, including omphalocele, atrial septal defects, and ventricular septal defects.

Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn is one potential side effect resulting from Zoloft use that particularly concerns expectant mothers. It is a condition that restricts blood flow to the lungs and can be very serious in an infant.

Zoloft lawsuits

Hundreds of families have become involved in Zoloft-related litigation. If a child is born with a serious birth defects after the mother used Zoloft during her pregnancy, the family is responsible for medical bills and other costs associated with the infant’s injury. Filing suit against drug maker Pfizer could help relieve some of the financial burden.

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