Birth Defects Associated With Zoloft and Antidepressant Use
A pregnant woman’s condition cannot always be ideal. There will times when a situation would come needing immediate attention and treatment. In cases when a pregnant patient is diagnosed to have mood disorders or depression, a doctor may give her medication to address this problem. These medication could come in a class of drug known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) like Zoloft, which is now said to link to miscarriage among pregnant women.
Patients who suffer from disorders such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic attacks are prescribed Zoloft by doctors. Manufactured by Pfizer, Zoloft is one of the most popular antidepressant in the market today. However, there are emerging studies that link this drug to several birth defects in newborns born to women who took this medicine during pregnancy.
One of the reasons for concern among pregnant users of this drug is that it may cause congenital heart defects among newborns. Congenital heart defects (CHD) are abnormalities in the heart which occur at birth. The National Institutes of Health reported that congenital heart defects cause more deaths in a person’s first year than any other birth defects. The cause is believed to be linked to genetic disorders but most causes of CHD remain unknown. In the early weeks of pregnancy, when there is abnormal or incomplete development of the fetus’ heart, congenital heart defects usually happen.
An article in the British Medical Journal published in September 2009 reports of women who take antidepressants in their first trimester were two times more likely to give birth to newborns with heart defects than normal. The American Journal of Nursing study in 2010 also came to the same conclusion that placed developing fetuses at a risk of acquiring heart defects, namely atrial septal defects and ventricular septal defects.
The FDA classifies Zoloft as a drug which could be potentially harmful to the baby but is believed that its benefits outweigh its risks. It is still best to consult a doctor regarding treatment if you or someone you know is pregnant while taking this drug. It is ill-advised to abruptly stop taking medication which was prescribed to you. Your doctor might find for you a better alternative to Zoloft.
If you think that you or a loved one have been affected by the side effects that Zoloft inflicts, have a talk with an experienced product liability lawyer to discuss legal options. A free consultation is even available to those who wish to know if they have a valid claim against manufacturers of defective products.
Increased attention on Zoloft and its side effects among pregnant women and their newborns become apparent. Follow updates and details on the issue here.