Zoloft Lawsuits Over Birth Defects Begin to Mount

A growing number of Zoloft lawsuits are being filed in state and federal courts throughout the United States for children born with birth defects after their mothers were given the antidepressant during pregnancy. 

In recent weeks two separate lawsuits were filed in Illinois state court and another complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

The complaints allege that Pfizer knew or should have known that side effects of Zoloft carry a risk of birth defects when the medication is used during pregnancy, but failed to adequately warn women or the medical community about the risk.

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These recent complaints join a growing number of other Zoloft birth defect lawsuits that have been filed over the past six months. At this point, the Zoloft litigation is not centralized or consolidated, so it is unclear exactly how many complaints have been filed.

While most lawsuits are filed on behalf of minor children born with birth defects from Zoloft, two of the more recent complaints were brought by adults who continue to suffer from birth defects caused by their mother’s use of Zoloft during pregnancy.

One of the cases, which was filed on Thursday in the U.S. District Court ofr the Eastern District of Missouri, was brought by Tony Gregory of Texas. The 20 year-old Gregory was born with club feet and had to undergo multiple surgeries as a result of the condition. He alleges that the club feet birth defect was caused by Zoloft.

Another case, filed earlier last month by Angela Rife, also 20 years-old, in St. Clair County Circuit Court in Illinois, alleges that she was born with a cleft palate and cleft lip as a result of Zoloft use by her mother while pregnant.

In November, a Zoloft complaint was filed St. Clair County, Illinois by the parents eight different children born with severe birth defects.

The number of lawsuits over Zoloft is expected to continue to grow over the coming years as parents and young adults discover that birth defects or malformations may have been caused by the popular antidepressant.

Zoloft (sertraline) was introduced by Pfizer in 1991 for the treatment of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety. By 2007 there were nearly 30 million prescriptions, making it the most prescribed antidepressant in the United States. Zoloft belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

In recent years, a growing amount of research and adverse event reports have suggested that use of Zoloft during pregnancy may increase the risk of serious and potentially life-threatening health problems for babies, including persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns (PPHN), heart defects, lung defects, abdominal defects, cranial defects and other malformations.

Studies have suggested that Zoloft may increase the risk of birth defects when used as early as the first trimester of pregnancy, a time when many women do not even know they are pregnant.


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