September 20, 2012 – Last year, Americans consumed a record number of prescription medications – 4.02 billion scripts written in all, up from 3.99 in 2010 – at a cost of nearly $309 billion. The statistics were published in the journal ACS Chemical Neurosciences, where a team led by editor-in-chief Craig Lindsley analyzed data on drugs prescribed in 2011. Among the best-selling psychiatric medications topping Lindsley’s list are the controversial antidepressants Zoloft and Celexa, which have recently been linked to a large number of severe congenital birth defects.
Free Antidepressant Birth Defects Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has a child who was born with a congenital defect after being exposed to an antidepressant, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer of the antidepressant and we can help.
What’s the problem?
With $7.7 billion in sales last year, Pfizer’s cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor (generic: atorvastatin) topped the list as America’s most widely prescribed pharmaceutical product in the United States. Based on Lipitor’s blockbuster sales status, Lindsley’s report concludes that massive numbers of Americans are suffering from poor lifestyle and diet choices.
Among psychiatric medications, doctors wrote more prescriptions for Zoloft, Celexa and Xanax than any other drug last year. Pfizer manufactures and markets both Zoloft and Xanax, while Celexa is produced by Forest Laboratories Inc. Sales of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants like Zoloft and Celexa were roughly$11 billion in 2011, down from $11.6 billion the year before, but they were still the most widely prescribed type of medication in the U.S., with some 264 million prescriptions filled. Overall, antidepressants ranked No. 7 in terms of sales.
According to Dr. James Flack, assistant medical director for The Menninger Clinic in Houston, psychiatric medications can be quite helpful, but only when properly prescribed. Flack said patients often come into his clinic on three or four different psychiatric drugs at a time, when, in the vast majority of cases, just one drug should be enough to treat the problems they are facing.
“We’ve gone from an era where there was very, very limited treatment to an era where there’s been a swing in the pendulum and there’s almost over-treatment with medications,” Flack said.
Perhaps the most troubling issue currently facing the antidepressant industry at the moment is the large number of severe birth defects found in babies born to mothers who take the drugs during pregnancy (particularly during the first trimester, a time when many women are still unaware they are pregnant). Congenital abnormalities linked to antidepressants include:
- Atrial Septal Defects (ASD)
- Ventricular Septal Defects (VSD)
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)
- Tricuspid Valve (Ebstein’s Anomaly)
- Mitral Valve Prolapse
- Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA)
- Transposition of the Great Vessels (TGV)
- Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)
- Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS)
- Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome (HRHS)
- Tricuspid Atresia
- Aortic Stenosis
- Pulmonary Atresia (PA)
- Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
- Coarctation of the Aorta
- Truncus Arteriosus
- Tricuspid Valve Stenosis
- Heart Murmur
- Pulmonary Stenosis
- Gastroschisis – abdominal wall defect
- Esophageal Stenosis
- Anal Atresia
- Spina Bifida
Do I Have an Antidepressant Birth Defects Lawsuit?
The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in antidepressant lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new birth defect cases in all 50 states.
Free Antidepressant Birth Defect Lawsuit Evaluation: If your child or other loved one was born with a birth defect after being exposed to an antidepressant, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing an antidepressant birth defect suit and we can help.