Depression is an extremely common and equally debilitating mental disorder in which the affected individual experiences mood and behavior changes, accompanied by a loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities and a low self-esteem. Depression can interfere with a number of aspects of a person's life, including sleeping and eating habits, personal and social relationships, and even school and work attendance and productivity. Many people suffering from depression are prescribed one of a number of antidepressant medications in order to improve daily functioning and increase their quality of life. Unfortunately, one of the most popular types of antidepressant medications, called SSRIs, have been associated with the development of major birth defects in infants who are exposed to the drugs during pregnancy. Lexapro is one of these SSRI antidepressant medications.
Lexapro is one of a group of antidepressant drugs called SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and the drug is currently manufactured by Forest Laboratories. These SSRI antidepressants function by restoring balance to the level of serotonin in the brain, thereby improving certain mood disorders and relieving depression. The active ingredient in Lexapro is escitalopram and the drug has been approved for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder in adults and major depressive disorder in adults and children ages twelve and older. Lexapro was originally approved by the FDA in 2002, although it wasn't approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder in adolescents until 2009. Lexapro is available as a 5mg, 10mg, or 20mg tablet, as well as a liquid solution which contains an active ingredient equivalent to 1mg/mL escitalopram base.
According to recent studies, women who take Lexapro while pregnant may increase their risk of giving birth to children with major birth defects, including:
Many of these births defects have the potential to cause significant complications for an affected child, and may even lead to fatality. Victims of these malformations and their families will likely experience significant pain and suffering, and may also struggle with financial difficulties caused by exorbitant medical expenses, only compounding the tragedy of the injury itself.
"SSRIs like Lexapro have been associated with the development of major birth defects in infants who are exposed to the drugs during pregnancy."
According to a side effects study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2006, infants whose mothers took SSRI antidepressants like Lexapro after the twentieth week of pregnancy were six times more likely to develop PPHN, or persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn. According to researchers, up to twelve out of 1,000 infants involved in the study developed PPHN shortly after birth, compared to what would be expected among the general population, which is only one to two out of 1,000 infants. Just a few months after this study was released, the FDA issued a public health advisory warning patients and healthcare providers about the potential connection between the use of SSRI medications like Lexapro, and the development of PPHN in infants. The FDA also required all sponsors of SSRI antidepressants to update their warning information to include potential pregnancy precautions like PPHN.
In 2010, a study was published in the American Journal of Nursing which involved 1,370 women who took an SSRI antidepressant like Lexapro while pregnant, and 493,113 women who took no antidepressants during pregnancy. According to researchers, the use of SSRIs during pregnancy may increase an infant's risk of developing severe congenital heart defects, particularly atrial septal defects and ventricular septal defects. In fact, the prevalence of septal heart defects was 0.9% among infants who were exposed to an SSRI like Lexapro, and 0.5% among infants who were not exposed. The report also indicated that the risk of heart defects was even higher among infants who were exposed to more than one SSRI antidepressant in utero. Some of these heart defects may require multiple surgeries and others may require a complete heart transplant.
Additional research, including a study published in Pediatrics in 2004, has identified an increased risk of abnormal heart rhythms, disrupted neurological development, unusual sleeping patterns, and problems with alertness in infants born to women who took SSRI antidepressants like Lexapro while pregnant. According to another study, infants who are exposed to SSRIs in utero may be more likely to struggle with severe respiratory complications requiring hospitalization and mechanical ventilation.
The FDA has classified Lexapro as a pregnancy category C medication, which means the drug may cause harm to a human fetus if taken during pregnancy. If you are currently taking Lexapro and you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consult your physician as soon as possible. It is never advised to discontinue use of a prescription medication without medical consent, but with the help of your doctor, you may be able to find a safer alternative to Lexapro for treating your anxiety or depression. In fact, the FDA has advised patients and health professionals to only prescribe Lexapro to pregnant women if the possible benefits of the medication justify the potential risk to the fetus.
Although the potential dangers associated with Lexapro have been supported by the FDA, the drug remains on the market, available to millions of consumers across the country on a daily basis. Victims of serious injury potentially associated with the use of an allegedly defective drug are not at fault and may be entitled to reimbursement for their injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered from a birth defect which you believe may be associated with the use of the SSRI antidepressant, Lexapro, contact a Lexapro attorney to discuss the benefits of filing a Lexapro lawsuit against manufacturer, Forest Laboratories.
The goal of Lexapro lawsuits is to seek financial compensation for your injuries, the medical expenses associated with injury treatment, and the pain and suffering sustained by you and your family. There was a civil lawsuit filed against Forest Laboratories for allegations of illegally marketing Lexapro for use in children and paying kickbacks to doctors in order to convince them to prescribe the medication to children, information which was gleaned from the company's own marketing plan. Forest Laboratories paid nearly $1.5 million to settle these allegations. Defective drug litigation can be a complicated process, but with the help of a qualified Lexapro lawyer, potential Lexapro birth defect victims can collect the compensation they deserve.
Spread the word so women are aware of the risks for both anticonvulsant birth defects and antidepressant birth defects and so families dealing with the hardship and expenses of lifetime care can get financial help from experienced class action attorneys. Learn more about Side Effects from prescription drugs.
Click on the link and fill out the form. There is no obligation to hire an attorney after you fill out this form. You can simply find out your legal rights regarding your use of prescribed medicine while pregnant.
Attorneys are investigating the possibility that birth defects caused birth defects if the mothers took medication while pregnant. Lawyers are currently reviewing the following drugs; Celexa, Effexor, Lexapro, Paxil, Pristiq, Prozac and Zoloft. Severe effects can be caused during the first trimester of pregnancy. This website has no relationship with any of the aforementioned drugs or pharmaceutical companies. Only your doctor can give you medical advice.