Clark, Love & Hutson, GP

Some antidepressants may cause birth defects

Many Americans take antidepressants. These drugs can be critical in helping people get through their days with positive mental health. But, for pregnant women, antidepressants such as Paxil, may be dangerous. Researchers have found that the type of antidepressants known as Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may cause serious birth defects.

Birth defects that have been linked to Paxil and other SSRIs are very serious. They may include congenital heart defects and autism spectrum disorder. The U.S. FDA has warned women who are or may become pregnant about the increased risk of harm to the fetus when they take this kind of drug during pregnancy.

Many women still depend upon these medications to stay mentally healthy. Pregnancy itself is linked to depression, and as many as 1 in 4 women report suffering from some form of depression during pregnancy. Thus, the FDA and other health organizations have recognized that many women must balance the risk of birth defects with the risk of not taking a needed medication.

To assess this risk and come to a decision, women need to be adequately informed. When they have not been properly informed of the risks, they can't make an informed decision. For this reason, many antidepressant-related lawsuits are largely concerned with the question of whether drug makers were honest about the risks of their medications and whether doctors adequately informed their patients of the risks.

Because the potential birth defects associated with SSRIs are so serious, they may cause the child to require lifelong medical care or inability to work. The financial costs of these damages can be massive. It's important for families to seek help handling these costs. When their damages are the result of a defective drug or a failure to inform patients of the risks of a drug, the family may be able to seek compensation through a product liability lawsuit.

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