Zoloft Side Effects
The antidepressant drug Zoloft has helped millions of people with depression, anxiety, OCD, panic disorder, PTSD and premenstrual disorders since it was released in 1991. Unfortunately, researchers have also identified certain harmful side effects of the drug.
Early data pointed to some mild Zoloft Side Effects, which were included in warning labels and instructions to doctors. These side effects included:
- loss of appetite or dry mouth
- nervousness or increased sweating
- diarrhea or weight loss
- decreased sexual desire or ability
- nausea, dizziness or vomiting
- trouble sleeping.
More recent studies, however, have shown risks for much more severe Zoloft Side Effects in infants of mothers taking the drug during pregnancy. Unfortunately, no warning was given for these risks. These birth defects can include:
- Heart defects
- Lung defects
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of Newborns (PPHN)
- Neural tube defects of the spine and brain
- Skeletal defects and,
- Cranial and facial defects.
If you took Zoloft during pregnancy and have given birth to a child with birth defects, it is important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. A claim for your child’s injuries can provide valuable support for their treatment and future well-being. However, time to file a lawsuit is limited.
Zoloft Heart Side Effects
Studies first released by the FDA in 2005 showed that taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs like Paxil and Zoloft during the first trimester of pregnancy could significantly increase the risk of heart defects.
The most common type of heart defects found were very serious and potentially fatal conditions known as atrial septal defects (ASD) and ventral septal defects (VSD). Both involve development of holes in the wall of the heart chambers.
These heart conditions are often identified by a bluish tone of the skin, weak pulse, rapid or irregular breathing, ecstatic heart beat, shortness of breath and cold hands or feet.
Zoloft PPHN and Lung Side Effects
The New England Journal of Medicine has released studies which indicate SSRI drugs such as Zoloft can also increase the risk of serious lung defects like Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN).
The research, conducted at the University of California at San Diego in 2006, found that taking Zoloft during pregnancy could raise the risk of an infant developing PPHN or a lung defect by as much as 600%.
PPHN is a very serious or even fatal condition where a newborn’s circulatory system does not adjust to breathing outside of the womb. High blood pressure (hypertension) in the infant’s lungs also prevents new oxygen-rich blood from entering.
Infants with PPHN can exhibit symptoms similar to those with heart defects, including heart murmurs, rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, respiratory distress, bluish skin color and low oxygen levels.
Zoloft Neural Tube Side Effects
Research published by the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007 found that SSRI drugs such as Zoloft may also increase the risk of neural tube defects. These very severe conditions include birth defects of the brain and spinal cord, called anencephaly and spina bifida.
Spina bifida is a condition where the spinal column of the fetus does not fully develop, resulting in nerve damage and even paralysis of the legs. With anencephaly, a large portion of the brain fails to develop, often resulting in stillborn birth, death shortly after birth or permanent brain damage.
Since critical brain and spine development occurs during early parts of pregnancy, taking SSRI drugs like Zoloft after conception can increase the risk of these conditions.
Zoloft Cranial & Facial Side Effects
The National Birth Defects Prevention Study of Infants and New England Journal of Medicine both released studies in 2007 linking SSRI drugs such as Zoloft with defects of the skull. Facial abnormalities like cleft lips and palates have also been related to the drug.
Craniosynostosis is a birth defect of the head in which the sutures connecting the individual bones of the skull fuse prematurely, causing an irregular shape to the head.
Cleft lips or cleft palates are gaps in facial features of the mouth, but can occur in other areas of the face. A cleft occurs when an infant’s facial structures do not completely form prior to birth. While they can be fixed with surgery, clefts can cause pain, discomfort and psychosocial issues in children.
Zoloft Abdominal Side Effects
Studies released in the New England Journal of Medicine and National Birth Defects Prevention Study of Infants have shown Zoloft Side Effects can also include abdominal birth defects such as omphalocele.
Omphalocele is a severe birth defect in which an infant’s small intestine, large intestine and liver can protrude from the abdomen in a sac due to the failure of the abdominal muscles to fully develop.
Omphalocele is a serious condition that can take several surgeries and many years to repair. It can also result in significant scaring. Omphalocele is often found along with other birth defects such as heart defects.
Zoloft Club Foot
Studies at the Institute of Reproductive Toxicology at the University of Ulm, Germany and the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University have recently shown a link between SSRI drugs like Zoloft and infants born with club feet.
Club foot results when and infant’s bones, joints, muscles, and blood vessels in the lower keg do not properly form causing the foot to grow turned inward. The condition is often repaired today with extensive and long term stretching, casting and bracing, but can also require surgery.
If you took Zoloft during pregnancy and your child was born with any Zoloft Side Effects, it is important to learn your legal options. We are available 24 hours a day to answer questions and discuss your case. Contact us today.