Recent studies have shown that using antidepressant medications while pregnant increases the risk of certain life-threatening birth defects. The birth defects associated with these drugs include an extremely serious condition known as mitral valve prolapse, as well as many other lung and heart problems.
What is Mitral Valve Prolapse?
Located between the upper left and lower left chamber of the heart, the mitral valve is made of two flaps of tissue that normally open and close to allow blood to flow from the atrium (upper chamber) to the ventricle (lower chamber). The left ventricle propels oxygen-rich blood into the arteries, and the arteries in turn carry the blood throughout the body. When the mitral valve doesn’t open and close properly, the flaps may be sucked backward into the upper chamber during the heart’s contraction. This condition is referred to as mitral valve prolapse.
MVP & Antidepressants
Antidepressants are often prescribed for depression to women of reproductive age; thus, whether these drugs increase the risk for birth defects like mitral valve prolapse is an important issue. Mounting evidence and a number of academic studies have suggested that the use of antidepressants during early pregnancy is associated with an increased risk for heart defects.
Which medications have been linked to MVP?
The following antidepressants have been associated with the development of mitral valve prolapse in children born to mothers who took them during pregnancy:
- Paxil (Paroxetine)
- Zoloft (Sertraline)
- Celexa (Citalopram)
- Prozac (Fluoxetine)
- Lexapro (Escitalopram)
- Symbyax (fluoxetine and olanzapine)
- Wellbutrin (Bupropion)
- Effexor (Venlafaxine)
- Zofran (ondansetron)
Diagnosing Mitral Valve Prolapse
Although it is a congenital (present at birth) defect, MVP may be diagnosed at any age. A doctor is most likely to detect the condition by listening to your child’s heart using a stethoscope. If your child does have MVP, the doctor may hear clicking sounds or a heart murmur if there is blood leaking backward through the mitral valve (mitral valve regurgitation). For more important information about this condition, please visit The Society for Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome/Dysautonomia.
Do I have an antidepressant birth defects lawsuit?
The Defective Drug & Products Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in antidepressant birth defects lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new mitral valve prolapse cases in all 50 states.