Zoloft, a medication manufactured by Pfizer, .Inc. is prescribed to treat patients with depression and certain anxiety disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder O.C.D.
Taking Zoloft during pregnancy has been found to increase the risk of certain birth defects . If taken during pregnancy, Zoloft can cross the placental barrier and enter the fetal blood stream, where the drug may interfere with normal growth development and lead to serious and potentially fatal defects. Studies have shown that Zoloft can double the risk of heart defects if taken during the first trimester of pregnancy.
If you were prescribed Zoloft during pregnancy and experienced complications or gave birth to a baby with birth defects, you may wish to speak with a lawyer about your options. Please fill out the form on this page for additional information.
Specific birth defects attributed to the use of Zoloft during pregnancy include:
Additional birth defects may also be linked to the use of Zoloft during pregnancy.
Zoloft may be particularly dangerous when taken by women during their third trimester of pregnancy. Reports have surfaced noting a relationship between women who have taken Zoloft during their third trimester and the development of serious health conditions that require fetal hospitalization and emergency treatment once the baby is born. The risk of a premature birth also increases if Zoloft is taken during the third trimester.
Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn
Women who take SSRI antidepressant medications such as Zoloft are at an increased risk of giving birth to a baby with pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when a baby cannot adjust to breathing outside the mother’s womb.
In a study published by The New England Journal of Medicine, results indicated that the use of any antidepressants after the 20th week of gestation significantly increased the risk of PPHN.
Additional research exists linking the use of SSRI antidepressants to an increased risk of omphalocele in the fetus. Omphalocele is a birth defect that occurs when an infant is born with the intestines or other abdominal organs located outside of the body. In a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), omphalocele was discovered to be 2.8 times more likely in babies whose mothers received treatment with SSRI antidepressants such as Zoloft during pregnancy.
Craniosynostosis is a birth defect characterized by the early closing of sutures (the connections that separate skull bones) on a baby’s head. In the CDC’s study, this condition was found 2.5 times more often in infants exposed to SSRIs through mothers who took the medications during pregnancy.
FDA Classification of Zoloft
Zoloft is currently classified as a Category C drug by the FDA, meaning that the medication may cause harm to a fetus, but that the potential benefits of the drug may warrant use of the medication by pregnant women. Medications that receive a Category C classification have not been tested on humans, but have demonstrated signs of harm in animal studies. Women are strongly advised to speak with a doctor about the risks of Zoloft before taking the medication when pregnant.