Paxil’s Depressing Effect on Birth Defects

Paxil is a drug used by millions to treat symptoms of depression, yet side-effects of using the drug can include causing serious birth defects. The drug works by using Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors to block reabsorption of serotonin into the brain. While safe for those who are not pregnant, Chicago birth injury lawyers know that the drug can seriously impact the health and safety of a fetus.

Potential for Birth Defects

Paxil has been shown to cause a number of serious health conditions for children when they are born. These conditions include persistent pulmonary hypertension, heart defects, cleft lip, cleft palate, brain defects, and skull defects. The drug has also been linked to Spina Bifida and Omphalocele. These conditions can have a permanent impact on a child’s health and can even lead to the mother having a miscarriage.

The risks are considerable. In regard to heart defects alone, it is estimated that they occur in 24 out of every 10,000 births for mothers using Paxil. By comparison, that rate is only 10 per 10,000 in mothers not taking the drug.

Patients are Suing for the Birth Defects Paxil Causes 

The Illinois First District Appellate Court has recently denied GlaxoSmithKline’s request to prevent lawsuits against the company from moving forward in Illinois. The company was sued in July of 2014 by eight mothers in Cook County who filed suit claiming that their children had suffered serious birth defects following the mother’s usage of Paxil. However, only two of the mothers live in Illinois. The remaining 6 live in other states.

GlaxoSmithKline argued that these claims should be dismissed as the mothers did not reside in Illinois. In their decision, the court stated that since the company had conducted 17 clinical trials in the state, that state courts had sufficient jurisdiction over the case and that it would be allowed to proceed forward.

This is not the first case against Paxil alleging serious injury or birth defect. In fact, more than 5,000 people have sued GlaxoSmithKline in this regard. In fact, the dangers of the drug to unborn fetuses has been known since 2005 which prompted the FDA to issue an advisory against taking the drug while pregnant. Even so, many physicians continue to prescribe the drug to their patients, thus potentially exposing their unborn children to a lifetime of pain and suffering.