Zoloft® Birth Defects
The FDA lists Zoloft® as a pregnancy category C drug. This means Zoloft® can be the cause of congenital defects in newborns.
According to the Mayo Clinic, women who take Zoloft® during pregnancy are six times more likely to deliver a child with birth defects.
Birth defects are disorders present either before or at the time of birth. They can be caused by a variety of reasons including genetic and chromosomal abnormalities, infection, and the use of drugs.
Possible Zoloft® Birth Defects
When taken by a pregnant mother, Zoloft® can lead to dangerous birth defects including:
- Persistent Newborn Pulmonary Hypertension (PPHN)
- Premature birth
- Cleft lip
- Cleft palate
- Club Feet
- Spina Bifida
- Delayed development
- Double Aortic Arch
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires the strict "black box" warning to be placed on the label of Zoloft®. However, this has to do with other side effects, and does not alert patients to the possible dangers of mixing Zoloft® and pregnancy.
The Zoloft® birth defect risk is not the only problem pregnant Zoloft® users should have been made aware of. It is also noted in warnings that the effect of breast-feeding while using Zoloft® is unknown. It is very likely that the serotonin altering chemicals in Zoloft® can be passed into the baby's bloodstream through the mother's breast milk.
Zoloft® Heart Defects
Women who take Zoloft® early in a pregnancy are especially vulnerable to heart defects. By day 28 of a pregnancy, structural heart defects generally occur at this time since the heart is close to full development with the structures of the chambers and blood vessels in place.
There are several types of heart defects that are believed to be associated with Zoloft® and other SSRI drugs. One of the reported Zoloft® heart defects include a congenital malformation in which one or more holes is present in the heart. Conditions such as this can lead to congenital heart failure.
Heart Defect Symptoms
Symptoms of congenital heart defects can include the following:
- Difficulty feeding and a failure to gain proper weight
- Delayed physical development
- Difficulty breathing
- Bluish skin from lack of oxygen
- Fainting or passing out
The defect can sometimes be so slight that symptoms do not appear for many years or until adulthood. It is necessary for a doctor to confirm a heart defect, which can be accomplished through a variety of tests. These should include at least one of the following:
- Chest x-ray
Heart Defect Complications
While heart defects are the leading cause of death related to birth defects, some are able to be corrected through one or two surgeries. Those that are not immediately corrected may have to be treated throughout the child's lifetime. Options available include pacemakers, catheters, and artificial valves. Heart transplants may also be attempted in certain cases.
You May Be Entitled To Compensation
If you or a loved one suffered a serious Zoloft® side effect, you should consult with a Zoloft® lawyer as soon as possible to learn more about your legal rights. You may be entitled to compensation for medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering. Contact us to speak with a lawyer.