Warning: Several antidepressants have been linked to a congenital birth defect known as omphalocele. Information has been emerging that certain types of these drugs may cause catastrophic heart, lung, and neural-tube defects.
What is Omphalocele?
An omphalocele is a malformation found in some newborn infants in which certain abdominal contents protrude into the umbilical cord. As the baby grows in utero from the sixth to the tenth week of pregnancy, the intestines get longer and project from the abdomen into the umbilical cord. Normally the intestines return into the abdomen by the eleventh week. In omphalocele, however, this does not occur. Sadly, more than half of all infants born with an omphalocele may have other birth defects as well.
Omphalocele & Antidepressant Use
Unfortunately, recent studies have uncovered a link between the use of antidepressants and omphalocele. The link was first discovered in 2005 after Canadian researchers conducted an analysis of the National Birth Defects Prevention study, and later confirmed by research found in the New England Journal of Medicine. According to the cumulative research, the use of antidepressants during pregnancy significantly increases the risk of omphalocele in newborns.
Which drugs should pregnant women avoid?
The following antidepressants have been associated with the development of omphalocele in children born to mothers who took them during pregnancy:
- Prozac (fluoxetine)
- Lexapro (Escitalopram)
- Symbyax (fluoxetine and olanzapine)
- Wellbutrin (Bupropion)
Omphalocele: Signs & Symptoms
In the majority of cases, the condition can be seen clearly because the abdominal contents stick out through the belly button area. However, there are different sizes of omphaloceles – in small ones, only the intestines stick out; in larger ones, the liver or spleen may stick out of the body as well.
Do I have an Omphalocele 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 drug birth defects lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new omphalocele cases in all 50 states.