Lexapro, a prescription drug used as an antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication, was introduced in 2002. However, since then, research has uncovered ties between Lexapro use while pregnant and an increased risk of birth defects. The use of Lexapro has now been linked to a number of serious side effects, including life-threatening birth defects. Now, its use has become very controversial, and has resulted in numerous lawsuits brought by families affected by the side effects of Lexapro usage.
Lexapro May Cause Birth Defects
When Lexapro is taken by women who are pregnant, particularly in the third trimester, the drug is associated with a risk of birth defects. Often, babies exposed to Lexapro and similar medications while in the womb require extended hospitalization, respiratory support, and medical intervention. Lexapro has been linked to significant birth defects and other health problems arising immediately upon birth. Some of the problems that have been linked to Lexapro include:
- Spontaneous abortion
- Heart defects such as ventricular outflow defects, hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). A Danish study found that infants exposed to SSRIs such as Lexapro during the first trimester of pregnancy were 60% more likely to develop heart birth defects.
- Cleft lip, cleft palate, and other septal defects
- Symptoms of drug withdrawal (such as irritability, tremor, and constant crying)
The FDA has released two alerts concerning serious side effects that have been tied to Lexapro since it was first made available. The first is regarding serotonin syndrome, which occurs when the body receives too much serotonin, a chemical released by nerve cells to control emotions, moods, appetite, and sleep cycles. When SSRI drugs and migraine headache medications are both taken, it can lead to dangerously high serotonin levels, which can be fatal if left untreated.
The second FDA alert was regarding Lexapro use and persistent pulmonary hypertension, or PPHN. This condition is among the most serious birth defects linked to Lexapro, and affects babies whose mothers took Lexapro while pregnant. This condition causes lung function problems and breathing difficulties that are noticeable immediately following birth. This condition often requires surgery and long-term care. In 2006, the FDA asked the manufacturer of Lexapro to add a warning label describing the potential risk of PPHN, after a medical study found that infants born to mothers who took the drug in the last trimester of pregnancy were 6 times more likely to have PPHN. Unfortunately, thousands of pregnant women may have taken Lexapro before the medication was linked to this condition.
Lexapro Side Effects Lawsuit
Unfortunately, thousands of women took Lexapro before the full risk was determined. Has your baby suffered serious birth defects or other complications after you took Lexapro while pregnant? The medication could be to blame for your child’s health issues. If so, your family may be able to receive compensation from the drug manufacturer.
The makers of Lexapro should be held accountable for the harm caused by their defective drug. Often, those affected by the serious side effects of Lexapro face significant medical bills and permanent injuries requiring ongoing care. Of course, there is also the substantial emotional impact such injuries can cause.
Contact a Lexapro Lawyer
If you or a family member has been negatively affected by Lexapro, it may be in your best interest to file a lawsuit against the drug manufacturer. It is important that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible to make sure you understand your legal rights and how to proceed in filing a claim. Often, patients find that filing a suit against a drug company is complex and intimidating. A skilled attorney can walk you through the process and will protect your interests at every step of the way. Patients who are represented by an experienced personal injury lawyer often stand a much better chance of receiving fair compensation for the serious medical effects of taking an unsafe medication.