Texas Paxil Lawsuit Blames Antidepressant for Heart Birth Defects

We have long been covering the issue of <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/paxil_birth_defects">Paxil-related birth defects. Now, the SouthEast Texas Record is reporting that lawsuits have been filed in that state that blame Paxil for cardiac birth defects.

The lawsuits were filed this week against GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) on behalf of three women who allege that their use of Paxil (paroxetine) while pregnant caused cardiac birth defects in their children, said the SouthEast Texas Record.

The lawsuits allege that the women gave birth to babies—between April 2002 and July 2005—born with multiple injuries. “The injuries suffered were direct results of the plaintiffs’ ingestion of Paxil during their pregnancies in manners and dosages recommended and prescribed by their doctors,” said the suit, quoted the SouthEast Texas Record.

Popular SSRIs include Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, and Lexapro. SSRIs affect serotonin levels in the brain, a chemical neurotransmitter. Serotonin is produced in the brain on an ongoing basis and in response to pleasure-giving experiences, in a normally healthy system.

According to the SouthEast Texas Record, Glaxo is accused of negligent production and marketing of Paxil and for not sufficiently warning patients and physicians regarding the drug’s risks , and for “breaching implied and expressed warranties.” The lawsuits also state that, “GSK knew or should have known that children were being born with heart and other birth defects to women who took Paxil during pregnancy … GSK knew or should have known that Paxil posed an increased risk of congenital defects, including cardiovascular defects,” quoted the SouthEast Texas Record.

We recently wrote that a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that babies born to women taking SSRIs were more likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit. Science Daily previously wrote that researchers from the University of Washington, University of Michigan, and Michigan State University all found that the medication-depression combination, when present before or during pregnancy, was significantly associated to childbirth earlier than at 35 weeks’ gestation.

The study found that women who took SSRIs delivered their babies five days earlier than other women in the study, and were twice as likely to give birth prematurely. Babies born to these women were also more likely to have a five-minute APGAR score of seven or below. A baby considered healthy generally has a score of seven or higher. They also faced a higher risk of being admitted to the intensive care unit, and some showed signs of withdrawal. Also, babies born to mothers who have taken antidepressants, including SSRIs in the third trimester suffered complications from withdrawal, including difficulties with breathing, turning blue, seizures, changing body temperature, feeding problems, vomiting, low blood sugar, floppiness, stiffness, tremor, shakiness, irritability, or constant crying. In many of these cases, tube feeding, help with breathing, and longer hospitalization was needed.

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