Zoloft birth defects come in many forms. Learn more about them here.
The prospect of birth defects associated with Zoloft has made many expectant mothers who suffer from depression wary of taking their antidepressants and/or anti-anxiety medications during their child's gestation. There is much debate in medical communities and among mothers about the risks and benefits of taking SSRIs, like Zoloft, during pregnancy.
There would be no such controversy if there had been no incidents of Zoloft birth defects, but there have been. If your child suffers from a congenital health problem (i.e. birth defect) and you believe that your use of Zoloft or another antidepressant is the cause, read on. Weitz & Luxenberg wants you to have all the information you need to decide your next step, whatever that may be.
Zoloft and birth defects: a glossary of terms
Zoloft is the brand name of a popular antidepressant Sertraline, or Sertraline Hydrochloride. The labeled uses for Sertraline are treatment of major depression; obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); panic disorder; post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and social anxiety disorder. (1) Zoloft is an SSRI.
SSRI stands for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. An SSRI works by increasing the amounts of serotonin, a natural substance in the brain that helps maintain mental balance. Other SSRIs include Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, and Symbyax. (2)
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers. “SSRIs block the reabsorption (reuptake) of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Changing the balance of serotonin seems to help brain cells send and receive chemical messages, which in turn boosts mood. SSRIs are called selective because they seem to primarily affect serotonin, not other neurotransmitters.” (2)
Birth defects are caused by teratogens. Teratogens are anything that can disturb the development of a fetus. Teratogens may cause a birth defect in the child, or cause the mother to miscarry. The classes of teratogens include radiation, maternal infections, chemicals, and drugs.(3)
What specific birth defects are associated with Zoloft and how do they affect children?
The specific birth defects associated are Zoloft heart defects, omphalocele, anal atresia, and limb reduction defects.
- Septal heart defects are holes in the interior wall of the heart called the septum. (4)
- An omphalocele is a birth defect in which the infant's intestine or other abdominal organs stick out of the belly button. (5)
- Anal atresia (or imperforate anus) is when the child's anus is missing or blocked. (6)
- Zoloft Limb defects are defects in which part of or the entire arm or leg of a fetus fails to form completely during pregnancy. The limb is either small or missing. (7)
Birth defects are either structural or functional/ developmental. Structural birth defects have to do with problems with a body part: it may be missing or misshapen. (8) Spina bifida, cleft palates, heart defects and club feet are examples of structural birth defects. Birth defects associated with Zoloft are mostly structural.
If you or your child have been harmed by Zoloft birth defects, and you have been considering seeking compensation, contact Weitz & Luxenberg for a free legal consultation by calling 800-476-6070, or by filling out a form.
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