There have been multiple lawsuits filed against Zoloft and its creator, Pfizer. Of these suits, hundreds are likely to be brought before the court and have been consolidated to make it easier for victims to pursue compensation. The primary substance in this medication, sertraline, can cause a variety of side effects. Among them are serious birth defects that can be fatal in newborns or result in lasting complications for a child.
WHAT IS SERTRALINE AND WHAT IS DANGEROUS ABOUT IT?
Sertraline, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), is typically prescribed to people suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, social phobia disorder, depression, panic disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Recent research has found that it is limited in effectiveness in many cases, so it is often prescribed to patients who would benefit more from talk therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Sertraline works by maintaining a higher level of serotonin in the brain. This neurotransmitter helps govern many systems in the body and is believed to boost well-being when in higher concentrations. Altering its function, though, can cause unpredictable and dangerous effects. Most of these effects are still poorly understood and are being researched thoroughly.
Most SSRIs can cause a large variety of health complications, and sertraline is no different. Anxiety, depression, convulsions, tremors, hallucinations, psychosis, heart defibrillation, and profound changes in behavior have all been observed in patients taking sertraline. In rare cases, this medication can cause people to become suicidal.
Its high risk of causing birth defects, though, is why many people have filed lawsuits against Pfizer after taking Zoloft. Pregnant women who take sertraline may have children who suffer from:
- Fatal heart or lung defects
- Club foot
- Spina bifida
- Craniosynstosis (deformation of the skull)
- Delayed development
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn
- Omphalocele (severe defects in the abdominal region)
- Artery transposition
These birth defects are typically fatal if they are not treated, and most will need one or more surgeries to repair the damage caused by sertraline. Even if surgery is successful, children born with these defects will likely have a reduced quality of life. Some will require regular physical or mental therapy to manage their condition.
HAVE ANY SUCCESSFUL LAWSUITS BEEN FILED AGAINST ZOLOFT AND ITS MANUFACTURER?
Even though there are hundreds of cases still pending in court, many have already gone before the court.
In June 2012, a woman filed a case after sertraline was found to cause her birth defects. After birth, doctors discovered that she was suffering from several heart defects, among them, an atrial septal defect. An atrial septal defect leaves a passage between the heart’s top two chambers, permitting the passage of blood when it should not.
A couple in Idaho filed a case after doctors found that their child was suffering from extremely bad heart defects. These included ventricle septal defect, atrial septal defect, and a narrow aorta.
Lawyers affiliated with patient cases expect many more cases to surface as the effects of the drug become better known. Pursuing compensation for birth defects or other serious side effects is often the only way for victims to get the compensation they need for medical treatment and physical therapy. With the aid of a knowledgeable drug injury attorney, a victim can get the representation they need in court.