Effexor® is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) that was approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993. It is prescribed to patients suffering from anxiety disorders and depression.1 Effexor contains venlafaxine, which has been linked to serious side effects and pregnancy complications.
Effexor and pregnancy
The National Institutes of Health recommends that pregnant women who are taking medication containing venlafaxine should talk to their doctor. Its use, especially during the third trimester, can result in post-labor and delivery complications in newborns.2,3
A wide range of respiratory problems following labor and delivery have been reported among newborns that were exposed to venlafaxine in the womb. Although it is unclear whether newborn persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) is caused by venlafaxine use during pregnancy, PPHN has been linked to other types of antidepressants, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (commonly known as SSRIs).3
Birth defects and Effexor
Studies have also shown a possible link between venlafaxine use in early pregnancy and birth defects, including:
- A neural tube defect called anencephaly,4 in which large portions of the brain and skull do not develop
- Narrowing of the aorta5
- Cleft palate6
- Gastroschisis, a hernia around the umbilical cord7
These types of birth defects pose serious health risks to the developing fetus and can result in miscarriage or the death of the newborn. Researchers believe additional studies are needed, but they also conclude that women should be cautious in taking SNRIs or other antidepressants during pregnancy.8,9
If you believe your pregnancy may have resulted in complications, miscarriage or birth defects because of Effexor, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney. He or she will be able to review your situation, help you understand your legal rights and determine if you are eligible to file a lawsuit.