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Zoloft Clubbed Foot Lawsuit Alleges Antidepressant Causes Birth Defects

A new Zoloft clubbed foot lawsuit has been filed in a California court. The plaintiff in the case alleges her use of the antidepressant during pregnancy led to serious birth defects in her newborn daughter. The plaintiff seeks damages from Zoloft manufacturer Pfizer, stating the company did not provide proper warning of the birth defects risk while marketing their product to the medical community and general public.

The Zoloft lawsuit was filed in San Francisco County Superior Court on May 17, 2013. The plaintiff took Zoloft as prescribed by her physician while she was pregnant in 2004 and 2005. The plaintiff states in her complaint that although Pfizer was aware of potential birth defect risks associated with their drug at that time, the company touted their product as a safe and effective treatment for depression during pregnancy. In fact, the plaintiff asserts that Pfizer “aggressively and actively promoted” Zoloft, even with the knowledge that their safety claims were untrue.

Link between Zoloft and birth defects

As this Zoloft clubbed foot lawsuit suggests, Pfizer had reason to believe there were potential risks associated with their drug through animal studies and post-marketing reports of possible birth defects. Despite the evidence, Pfizer did not share their findings with member of the medical community. To this day, according to the plaintiff’s Zoloft lawyer, physicians continue to prescribe the drug to pregnant women, without adequately educating them about the possible dangers to their unborn children.

As a result, multiple accounts of birth defects, including heart defects, limb abnormalities, and cranial defects have been reported by women who used Zoloft during pregnancy. Many have filed lawsuits to pursue compensation for their children’s injuries and ongoing medical expenses.

Federal lawsuits have now been coordinated into multidistrict litigation in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, allowing for more efficient management of early trial proceedings.

In the midst of legal action, researchers at Tufts University have found multiple studies supporting the association between SSRI antidepressants (including Zoloft) and birth defects and other problems affecting pregnant women and their unborn children. Birth defects, miscarriage, and premature delivery are just some of the potential issues on the list. At the same time, some researchers assert there is increasing evidence that alternative treatments for depression, including cognitive behavioral therapy and exercise, work equally well as drugs at keeping symptoms of depression at bay during pregnancy.

Zoloft and clubfoot

Clubfoot is just one of the birth defects recently associated with Zoloft use during pregnancy. This term refers to a range of foot abnormalities that result in a foot twisted out of the normal position.  The condition frequently occurs in just one foot, although nearly half of the children diagnosed with clubfoot may have the problem in both feet. The severity of the condition can also vary, although treatment is generally recommended for most cases.

Milder versions of clubfoot may be treated with stretching the foot into the correct position and then casting it to hold it in that position until the abnormality corrects itself. Special shoes and braces may also be used for this purpose. More severe cases, such as that of the plaintiff’s daughter in this Zoloft clubbed foot lawsuit, may require multiple surgeries and ongoing medical treatment and monitoring to ensure the child regains full mobility of the leg and foot. In some cases, full recovery may never occur.

The plaintiff in this lawsuit alleges her daughter will continue to require medical treatment and monitoring into the future. The plaintiff further asserts that if she had known of the risks associated with Zoloft use during pregnancy, she never would have exposed her child to danger. Because Pfizer failed to provide such information, the plaintiff unknowingly put her child at risk and now she and her child will continue to suffer pain and economic loss in the future.

As a result of her child’s injuries, the plaintiff in this case is seeking general, economic, special, punitive and exemplary damages to compensate her for her child’s suffering, medical expenses, and her economic loss. The amount of the damages is to be determined at the time of trial.