Zoloft Lawsuit Alleges Clubfoot, Heart Defect Caused by Antidepressant

A Pennsylvania couple has filed a lawsuit against Pfizer, alleging that side effects of Zoloft caused their daughter to be born with clubfoot and a congenital heart defect. 

The complaint (PDF) was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on August 23, by Nicholas and Denise Ciccone on behalf of their minor daughter Noelle.

According to allegations raised in the Zoloft lawsuit, Noelle’s mother took the popular antidepressant during pregnancy, unaware that use of Zoloft may increase the risk of birth defects and malformations for the child.

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Following Noelle’s birth in Pittsburgh on February 21, 2002, she was diagnosed with club foot, a condition where the foot is born turned inward, as well as a congenital heart defect known as truncus arteriosus, which results in a single blood vessel coming out of the right and left ventricles of the heart. There are supposed to be blood vessels for each side.

Zoloft (sertraline) is one of the most widely prescribed medications in the United States.  Introduced by Pfizer in 1991, Zoloft is commonly used for treatment of depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety, but use during pregnancy has been linked to a risk of several types of birth defects and malformations.

At least 140 lawsuits over Zoloft birth defects have already been filed in U.S. District Courts throughout the United States on behalf of children who developed health problems that were allegedly caused by their mother’s use of the antidepressant during pregnancy.

All of complaints include similar allegations that Pfizer failed to warn pregnant women or the medical community about the potential for birth defects from Zoloft, claiming that the drug maker knew or should have known about the risk of clubfoot, heart problems, neural tube defects, abdomonial defects, persistent pulmonary hypertension for newborns (PPHN), spina bifida and other malformations.

The Ciccone lawsuit accuses the drug manufacturer of designing a defective drug, failure to warn, negligence, and fraud. The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages for medical expenses and medical care as well as punitive damages.

The case will soon be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where all Zoloft birth defect lawsuits have been consolidated in the federal court system for pretrial proceedings.


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