Recent data collected by the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS) indicates that the popular antidepressant Effexor (generic: venlafaxine) can cause anencephaly and other defects in babies born to mothers who take the drug during pregnancy. Anencephaly is a catastrophic congenital abnormality that occurs when an infant is born with large parts of its skull and brain missing. Sadly, this condition is nearly always fatal, and usually results in the death of the child within a short time after delivery.
Effexor Birth Defects Study
The new study, which was conducted by a research team led by Karen N.D. Polen, included a cohort of children who were diagnosed with one of 30 specific birth defects, as well as a control group of babies born without congenital abnormalities who were delivered between 1997 and 2007. Fetal exposure to Effexor was defined as any use of the drug by the mother from one month preconception through the first trimester of pregnancy. The research found ‘statically significant associations’ between the maternal use of Effexor during these designated time periods and anencephaly, atrial septal defects (ASDs), coarctation of the aorta, gastroschisis, and cleft palate.
Anencephaly is a relatively common congenital birth defect that occurs when the upper part of the neural tube fails to close during the first trimester of development. Babies born with this condition typically lack a forebrain (the front part of the brain) and cerebellum (the thinking and coordinating part of the brain), rendering them deaf, blind, unconscious, and unable to feel pain. Signs and symptoms of Effexor-induced anencephaly may include:
- absence of bony covering over the back of the head
- missing bones around the front and sides of the head
- folding of the ears
- cleft palate
- congenital heart defects
Anencephaly is usually diagnosed early in the course of the expecting mother’s pregnancy, the condition being easily recognizable as the infant’s head may appear flattened due to the abnormal brain development and missing skull bones. Sadly, there is no treatment currently available for babies born with anencephaly, and the condition usually causes death within a few days.
Having a child with anencephaly can destroy the dream of becoming a parent. When a baby is born with a catastrophic defect for which there is no treatment or cure, it is completely heartbreaking. Many families around the country whose children were born with anencephaly after the mother took Effexor during pregnancy have decided to file lawsuits against Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, the company that manufactures the drug. Although no amount of money can replace the health and well-being of your child, an Effexor anencephaly lawsuit can provide much-needed compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Contact the law offices of Schmidt & Clark, LLP, today to learn more about your legal rights.