Zoloft Birth Defects
Zoloft, an antidepressant medication, is one of the most popular serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) available. However, studies have shown that the medication can cause serious Zoloft birth defects, including persistent pulmonary hypertension of a newborn (PPHN), atrial septal defects (ASD), heart problems, craniosynostosis, omphalocele, and ventrical septal defects (VSD).
Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of a newborn (PPHN)
If infants born with hypertension or high blood pressure continue to experience symptoms, they may develop persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN). PPHN is a serious lung condition characterized by restricted blood flow to the lungs, which increases infant blood pressure over a prolonged period of time. Symptoms include fainting, bluish lips and skin, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, and irregular heartbeat. Medical professionals recognize five major birth defects, of which PPHN is one.
Atrial Septal Defects (ASD)
In 2009, a study published in the British Journal of Medicine linked the use of Zoloft to the occurrence of atrial septal defects (ASD), a congenital heart disease. The study showed that Zoloft use during the first trimester can double an infant’s risk of ASD, which occurs when holes appear in the chambers of an infant’s heart. Symptoms include shortness of breath, lack of appetite, and fatigue.
This congenital defect occurs when the connections between an infants skull plates, or bones, close too early, resulting in an abnormally shaped head. This Zoloft birth defect can manifest in several ways; the most common type is sagittal synostosis (scaphocephaly), in which the head grows long instead of wide, creating a broad forehead. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the majority of infants with craniosynostosis have normal intelligence. The cause of craniosynostosis is unknown.
Omphalocele is a type of hernia that develops in utero, and is a common Zoloft birth defect. Infants with omphalocele are born with their abdominal organs, such as the intestines, located outside of their belly button. Omphalocele is different from other Zoloft birth defects in that it can be detected during pregnancy via ultrasound. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 25 to 40 percent of infants with omphalocele also suffer from other birth defects.
Ventricular Septal Defects (VSD)
Like ASD, ventricular septal defects are a type of congenital heart disease caused by holes in the heart’s chambers. VSD generally develops with Zoloft use during the first trimester, and symptoms include lung infections, fatigue, rapid heart rate, heart murmurs, selling of the abdomen, feet or lungs, and bluish nails, skin or lips.
Other Zoloft birth defects
Several other birth defects and complications are associated with the use of Zoloft during pregnancy. These include premature birth, autism, and infants suffering from Zoloft withdrawal. Mothers who take the medication during pregnancy may have a valid legal case against Pfizer, if their children are born with Zoloft birth defects.