Zoloft and Pregnancy

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Zoloft is part of a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that have been increasingly linked at a high number of catastrophic birth defects when taken by expecting mothers during pregnancy. Birth defects associated with Zoloft include heart, lung and neural tube defects, as well as clubfoot, anal atresia and spina bifida.

What’s the problem?

Zoloft (sertraline) is a popular antidepressant medication that is designed to work by balancing the chemicals in the brain that affect mood. First approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1991, Zoloft is used in the treatment of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Unfortunately, the use of Zoloft during the first trimester of pregnancy has been associated with increased odds of the following catastrophic birth defects.

Zoloft Birth Defects

According to numerous case studies and mounting scientific evidence, antidepressants like Zoloft may cause birth defects in newborns. The following is a list of birth defects that are currently being evaluated for potential Zoloft lawsuits:

Zoloft Heart Defects

Zoloft-induced congenital heart defects pertain to problems with the structure of the heart and / or great vessels. Because congenital heart defects are among the most commonly reported birth defects associated with Zoloft, they account for most birth defect-related deaths. Heart birth defects are associated with the following symptoms:

  • cardiovascular anomalies
  • esophageal atresia
  • renal anomalies
  • limb defects

Zoloft & Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)

Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) is a life-threatening disorder in which a baby’s arteries to the lungs remain constricted after delivery, limiting the amount of blood flow to the lungs and oxygen into the bloodstream. Sadly, 10 to 20% of children born with PPHN will end up dying even if they receive treatment. Signs and symptoms of PPHN include:

  • Rapid breathing (tachypnea);
  • Rapid heart rate;
  • Respiratory distress (flaring nostrils and grunting);
  • Cyanosis, a condition in which the baby’s skin has a bluish tint
  • Heart murmur
  • Low oxygen levels – a baby with PPHN may continue to have low oxygen levels in their blood, even while receiving 100 percent oxygen.

The FDA currently classifies Zoloft as a Pregnancy Category C medication, meaning that it is possible animal studies have indicated fetal harm from maternal use of the drug. Although still is much unknown about Zoloft, medical experts do know that Zoloft can be transferred to a fetus or baby both through the placenta as well as through breast milk. If you are taking Zoloft and become pregnant, consult your physician immediately. If you are breastfeeding, your doctor may want to monitor your condition and the condition of your baby accordingly.

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