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SSRI LawsuitPrenatal Exposure to Antidepressant Linked to Birth Defects

SSRI Lawsuit: Prenatal Exposure to Antidepressant Linked to Birth Defects

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are medications prescribed to treat depression and other mental illnesses. They’re the most widely prescribed antidepressant medications, but there is evidence that links the use of SSRIs during pregnancy to birth defects which has lead to an SSRI lawsuit being filed.

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What are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)?

SSRIs are drugs commonly prescribed anti-depressants used to treat conditions such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Specifically, SSRIs are a class of drugs that work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin, a naturally occurring chemical in the brain, has been known to affect mood. Our bodies naturally regulate the levels of serotonin, but SSRI drugs prevent the absorption of serotonin thus increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain.

Approved for use in the 1980s, SSRIs have become the most widely prescribed antidepressants on the market. Unfortunately, research has found serious side effects associated with the drugs, such as birth defects, withdrawal complications, and suicidal behaviors and thoughts.

In 2006, a drug safety communication was issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration related to a possible link between the drugs and birth defects. In 2011, the FDA again issued a drug safety communication alert following an increased number of studies suggesting a greater link between the use of SSRIs during pregnancy and rare heart and lung conditions in babies.


Which Drugs are Considered SSRI Drugs?

  • Paxil (paroxetine)
  • Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Prozac (fluoxetine)
  • Effexor (venlafaxine)
  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • Lexapro (escitalopram)
  • Symbyax (olanzapine/fluoxetine)
  • Wellbutrin (bupropion)
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine)


Injuries We’re Pursuing in SSRI Lawsuit

TorHoerman Law is pursuing SSRI lawsuit cases for the following injuries:

  • structural heart defects when taken during the first three months of pregnancy,
  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) when taken during the last half of pregnancy,
  • Anencephaly – a birth defect that affects the brain and skull,
  • Craniosynostosis – a birth defect that affects fibrous sutures on the head, and
  • Omphalocele – a birth defect that affects the abdominal organs.


If you took an SSRI while pregnant and your child had one of these injuries, please reach out to TorHoerman Law to see if our birth injury lawyers can help you with a birth defect lawsuit.


Injuries Resulting from SSRIs and Zofran

There are many side effects associated with SSRIs, but when the drug is combined with Zofran, an anti-nausea medication, the interaction can cause serotonin syndrome, a potentially severe or life-threatening condition.

If you have any questions regarding a Zofran lawsuit, please reach out to the office of TorHoerman Law.


SSRI Lawsuit: What Can be Done?

Millions of young women have turned to prescription antidepressants such as those listed above.   Lacking adequate warnings from drug manufacturers, women have in the past and unfortunately continue to this day, to take the drugs while they are pregnant, without being given adequate warning about the risks involved with taking these drugs during pregnancy.

Paxil has received the most attention regarding injuries relating to its use during pregnancy.  However, more and more information is being learned about all of the drugs in this class of medication and the effects they have on the fetus.

Each situation needs to be balanced on a patient by patient basis.  In fact, any medication taken by pregnant women, including SSRI medications, should be taken only if needed and with careful consideration of all the risks.  Unfortunately, we don’t believe that all of the real risks have been disclosed to physicians and patients, making such a risk-benefit analysis very difficult, if not impossible.

If you have any questions regarding an SSRI lawsuit, call our office or send us an email at


+ - References

“Drug Safety and Availability - FDA Drug Safety Communication: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) Antidepressant Use during Pregnancy and Reports of a Rare Heart and Lung Condition in Newborn Babies.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, 4 Aug. 2017,

Reefhuis J, Devine O, Friedman JM, Louik C, Honein MA, and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Specific SSRIs and birth defects: bayesian analysis to interpret new data in the context of previous reports. BMJ. 2015. [epub ahead of print].

“SSRI Anti Depressants and Birth Defects.”, National Center Biotechnology Information, Dec. 2006,

“Treating for Two.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 July 2015,

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