Effexor is an antidepressant, which was originally manufactured by Wyeth, and has since become a subsidiary of the pharmaceutical company Pfizer. Effexor is prescribed to treat major depression and anxiety disorders.
News linking the popular antidepressant Effexor to birth defects has many women concerned. Thousands of female patients allege that the use of Effexor during pregnancy caused birth defects in their babies.
Not only has the prescription drug been marketed as an effective treatment for depression and anxiety, it has also been promoted as safe for pregnant women. However, studies show that antidepressants, such as Effexor, carry an increased risk of certain birth defects if taken by women of childbearing age or pregnant women.
On February 9, 2012, Lauren and Glenn Boyer of Ohio filed what is believed to be the first Effexor lawsuit against Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer, Inc., alleging that the Effexor that Lauren Boyer used during pregnancy contributed to severe heart defects in her daughter, Adelaide, who died shortly after her birth on February 11, 2010.
It is alleged that the drug companies knew of the possible risks involving the drug and heart defects in newborns, but did not disclose this important information to the public. The Boyers’ 17-count lawsuit was filed in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia and, among other things, alleges that the drug companies are guilty of fraud and misrepresentation, which resulted in the infant’s death.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2004 issued revisions to the warning section of labels for certain types of antidepressant medications during the third trimester of pregnancy. This information was sent to healthcare providers.
“Neonates exposed to Effexor, other SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), or SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), late in the third trimester of pregnancy have developed complications requiring prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support, and tube feeding. Such complications can arise immediately upon delivery,” the FDA stated on its website.
Wyeth added this language to its prescription information, as well as this statement: “Reported clinical findings have included respiratory distress, cyanosis, apnea, seizures, temperature instability, feeding difficulty, vomiting, hypoglycemia, hypotonia, hypertonia, hyperreflexia, tremor, jitteriness, irritability, and constant crying. These features are consistent with either a direct toxic effect of SSRIs and SNRIs or, possibly, a drug discontinuation syndrome.”
Healthcare professionals have been urged to weigh the risks of prescribing antidepressants for pregnant women, who might otherwise develop other serious health complications associated with their depression, against the possibility of increased risk of harm to a developing fetus exposed to antidepressant drugs in utero.
Drug makers are under a legal duty not only to test the safety of their products, but also to warn the public of any known risks.
Although depression and anxiety are serious conditions and can be debilitating, given the risks and dangers of the drug, many women say that never would have taken it during pregnancy.
If you or a loved one suffered adverse effects after the use of antidepressants during pregnancy, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. You need the best representation you can get to protect your interests. For more information, contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).