SSRI Litigation

Filing a Lawsuit Over SSRI Side Effects

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are antidepressant medications prescribed for a number of mental health disorders and sold under a number of brand names.1 Several recent lawsuits have claimed that patients were not told about the risks of using these medications, which have included complicaitons such as birth defects.

Uses for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

SSRI medications are prescribed for:1

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Serious phobias

The different types of SSRIs also have other uses, both approved and off-label—meaning they have not been approved for that use, though doctors may prescribe it anyway. Some off-label uses include various pain disorders and migraines.2

Different Types

The brands of this antidepressant medication include:3

  • Prozac® (fluoxetine)
  • Paxil® (paroxetine)
  • Lexapro® (escitalopram)
  • Celexa® (citalopram)
  • Zoloft® (sertraline)
  • Luvox® (fluvoxamine)

Combination drugs are also on the market, including Symbyax® (fluoxetine plus an antipsychotic medication).4

Risks of SSRI medications

In addition to a number of common side effects, such as sexual dysfunction, sleep disturbances, and generally not feeling well,1 SSRI medications have additional risks:

  • Suicidal thoughts – in both children and adults5
  • Serotonin syndrome – usually caused by taking two medications that affect serotonin levels at the same time6
  • Discontinuation syndrome - withdrawal symptoms when the medication is stopped abruptly7
  • Birth defects - in babies born to women who take them during pregnancy8

Approximately a third of newborns whose mothers took SSRIs during the end of the pregnancy are born with some kind of congenital defect.9 In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about a rare birth defect occurring in babies born to women who take SSRIs during pregnancy. In these cases, SSRI medication may have led to a heart and lung disorder in infants known as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). The condition can cause organ damage and lead to death.10

SSRI birth defect litigation

The first SSRI medications were approved in the 1980s, but most of the warnings about adverse effects have come in the last few years. Because consumers were not warned about some of the potential risks of taking SSRIs, particularly during pregnancy, birth defect lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers of the drugs.11

Personal injury attorneys specializing in cases about birth defects caused by SSRIs can review your case and determine if you have cause for litigation.

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