Zoloft is the brand name of a drug manufactured by Pfizer, and which contains the active ingredient sertraline. Zoloft has been manufactured and sold since 1990 in the United Kingdom as a drug called Lustral and was approved nine years later for sale in the United States. By 2005, the drug was generating $2.6 billion in gross sales and was considered a safer alternative to Prozac promising fewer side effects or withdrawal symptoms when discontinuing the drug.
Unfortunately, like Prozac and other SSRI drugs, Zoloft turned out to be more dangerous for pregnant women than patients were expecting. Many babies exposed to Zoloft during development were born with birth defects, which were sometimes fatal or caused permanent harm. If you or a loved one was affected by birth injuries, an experienced defective drug lawyer at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman can help.The Dangers of Zoloft
Zoloft has been linked to many severe birth injuries in infants including:
- Persistent Pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). The risk of PPHN is six times greater for infants whose mothers took Zoloft than for babies not exposed to Zoloft.
- Anencephaly (a fatal tube defect). The risk is two-and-a-half times greater.
- Club foot. The risk of club foot in an infant is five times greater with Zoloft exposure.
- Craniosynostosis. The risk is two-and-a-half times greater.
- Omphalocele. The risk of this abdominal wall defect is three times greater.
- Gastroschisis. Another abdominal wall defect that babies exposed to Zoloft are three times as likely to develop.
- Spina Bifida. The risk is 60 percent greater.
- Diaphragmatic Hernia. The risk is 80 percent greater.
- Esophageal Atresia. The risk is 30 percent greater.
- Heart problems. Infants may be twice as likely to develop atrial septal defects, Tetralogy of Fallot and transposition of the great arteries among other conditions.
These links have been identified in numerous medical journals including the New England Journal of Medicine. The FDA, however, has not yet determined that there is a clear link between Zoloft and birth defects and so has labeled Zoloft as a Category C medication. This category is reserved for situations where the drug may be dangerous to a fetus but there have not yet been sufficient studies to conclusively prove there is an increased risk of birth defects.Getting Legal Help
A birth defect caused by Zoloft can be devastating to a child and family and the child may require lifelong medical care. Death may also result from Zoloft birth defects. The manufacturer must be held responsible for the harm caused, and more than 250 cases have already been consolidated in a multi-district litigation pending against Pfizer.
To obtain compensation from Pfizer, it will be necessary to prove that Zoloft was used as intended and caused unexpected harm as a result. There is no need to demonstrate that Pfizer was negligent in the production and sale of Zoloft as drug manufacturers are held strictly liable for injuries resulting from dangerous products. However, it is important to be able to show a clear link between the Zoloft and resulting harm to the infant. Expert medical testimony and information from the FDA or medical journals can be helpful for plaintiffs pursuing a claim for birth defect injuries or wrongful death of a baby resulting from Zoloft use during pregnancy.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by Zoloft birth defects, it is important to understand your legal rights. Contact the Boston birth defect lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for assistance pursuing a claim for compensation.