New Research Shows Risks Outweigh the Benefits of SSRI Antidepressants

April 27, 2012

Birth defect lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have warned about the side effect risks associated with SSRI antidepressants since researchers first identified their potential to cause serious harm. Congenital heart defects, clubfoot, and dozens of other severe birth injuries have been linked to SSRI antidepressants. These dangerous drugs are widely used by women of child-bearing age, and many women taking these drugs do not even know that they are pregnant until it is too late to avoid the risk.

Now new research confirms that some of the most popular SSRI antidepressants, including Paxil, Zoloft, and LexaPro, do more harm than good. These prescription drugs boost serotonin levels in the brain in an attempt to regulate mood and sleeping patterns. However, the benefit of these drugs is far outweighed by the dangers. Medical experts have identified a strong link between SSRI antidepressants and a wide range of serious birth defects.

Study after study has pointed out serious side effect risks associated with these dangerous drugs. In 1996, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that women taking Prozac during pregnancy were twice as likely to deliver a baby with minor birth defects. Evidence of potential dangers continued to mount. In 2005, a Danish study revealed that women taking Prozac, Zoloft, and similar antidepressants early on in their pregnancies had a significantly increased risk of delivering children with congenital heart defects.

Birth defects such as hyoplastic left heart syndrome, tetralogy of the fallot, and abdominal wall malformations dramatically impact the lives of newborns and their families. Although surgery may be possible in the first few years of a child's life, some of these defects may require heart transplants and other serious medical treatments. In some cases, the child may be affected well into his or her adulthood.

Many other severe side effects have been linked to SSRI antidepressants. These include depression relapse, cognitive impairment, cardiovascular disease, and even death. The latest study, published online by the journal Frontiers in Evolutionary Psychology, states that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor drugs are neither safe nor effective.

Evidence shows that the companies that manufactured these antidepressant drugs knew of the potential side effect risk, yet failed to warn consumers. Pharmaceutical manufacturers have a legal responsibility to ensure that their products are safe. If the side effect risk cannot be eliminated before the drug hits the market, manufacturers must provide adequate warnings. Failure to warn may be grounds for a product liability lawsuit against a negligent manufacturer.

A product liability lawsuit based on a failure to warn claim may lead to significant compensation, especially with the help of a skilled drug recall attorney. If the injury could have been avoided with adequate warnings, compensation may be available for medical bills, loss of earnings, and other damages.

It is estimated that millions of Americans use antidepressant drugs, including at least 80,000 pregnant women each year. Given the popularity of these dangerous drugs, there is serious potential for widespread harm. Research shows that Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, and other SSRI antidepressants have a lengthy list of severe side effect risks, and provide little, if any, benefit. All patients taking these drugs, particularly women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, need to be aware of the serious potential for harm.