Effexor (also known by the generic name Venlafaxine) is an SSRI drug used to treat depression and related mood disorders. First available in 1994, Effexor and similar antidepressant medications are now under close scrutiny because of possible links to birth defects. Recently, it has come to light that Effexor is associated with serious birth defects and other significant side effects. If you or a loved one took Effexor while pregnant, and your child developed a birth defect, you may be eligible for compensation from Pfizer Inc., the maker of Effexor.
Effexor May Cause Birth Defects
Effexor may be associated with a number of different side effects affecting unborn children, including:
- Increased risk of premature birth
- Gastrointestinal or abdominal birth defects
- Cranial birth defects
- Motor problems
- Breathing problems
- Heart and lung problems, including birth defects
One particularly serious side effect associated with Effexor is PPHN, or Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension in Newborns. In 2006, the FDA issued a safety alert regarding the increased risk of PPHN, a life-threatening lung condition that occurs in newborns. This condition, in which the arteries providing blood to the lungs are constricted, causes oxygen deprivation and respiratory failure, requiring immediate medical intervention. Unfortunately, 10% to 20% of infants affected by PPHN will not survive.
Heart defects are also common in babies affected by Effexor. The FDA has found that the most common heart defect found in babies affected by Effexor is a hole in the wall separating the chambers of the heart. Known as atrial and ventricular septal defects, or ASD and VSD, the hole must be surgically repaired, or it can cause serious complications either immediately or later in your child’s life. This hole allows blood to move back and forth, causing shortness of breath and feelings of fatigue, among other symptoms. It is also a cause of pulmonary hypertension, because it increases the pressure in the baby’s lungs.
The exact rate of Effexor-related birth defects is currently unknown. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, women who took antidepressants such as Effexor while pregnant were 6 times more likely to have a child with PPHN. According to an FDA Public Health Advisory published in 2005, women using antidepressants during the first trimester are twice as likely to give birth to babies with heart birth defects.
Effexor Side Effect Lawsuit
Unfortunately, thousands of women have taken Effexor and similar antidepressant medications without knowing the harm that the medication could inflict on their unborn child. If you or a loved one used Effexor while pregnant, and gave birth to a child with a birth defect, you may eligible to receive compensation from the drug manufacturer. The makers of Effexor should be held accountable for the harm caused by their drug. If your family has been negatively impacted by Effexor, you may be facing permanent injuries, ongoing medical expenses, and the devastating emotional impact birth defects can cause. You are not alone in this regard; thousands of families have already filed a drug lawsuit against the drug manufacturer. Cases are being filed individually; there is currently no nationwide class action lawsuit against the makers of Effexor.
Contact an Effexor Lawyer
If you have developed side effects while taking Effexor or given birth to a baby affected by Effexor birth defects, contact our lawyers today to discuss your legal options. It is important that you are aware of your legal rights and the process of pursuing the drug manufacturer for compensation. Facing a drug company can be complex and intimidating; you need a skilled product liability lawyer on your side to guide you through this process and ensure that your rights are protected and you are able to fight for the compensation you deserve.