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Zoloft, manufactured by Pfizer, was first approved by the FDA as an anti-depressant in 1991.  In 2002, the drug was limited in use to adults age 18 and over.  That same year, it was approved for used in treating children age 6 or older with obsessive-compulsive disorder.  The drug carries a black box warning regarding the increased risk of suicidal behavior in patients under age 25.

zoloft Congenital Heart Defects

U.S. researchers, including scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, examined the side effects of Zoloft on pregnant women in a study published by the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Scientists found that mothers who used Zoloft during their first trimester were more than twice as likely to give birth to an infant with a congenital heart problem known as a left outflow tract defect.  The heart birth defect can restrict the flow of blood to the rest of the body from the heart's left chambers, and often must be surgically corrected to allow the child's main artery to function properly.

Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn

Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) occurs in an estimated 1-2 infants per 1,000 live births.  Associated with morbidity and mortality, PPHN newborns develop severe respiratory failure after birth, requiring intubation and mechanical ventilation.  A 2006 study in The New England Journal of Medicine found an increased risk of PPHN in mothers who took anti-depressants during late pregnancy.

Additional Zoloft Birth Defects

Zoloft has also been linked to various other birth defects, such as spina bifida, clubfoot, bone malformations, skull deformities, and intestinal growth/placement problems.  A 2007 study in The New England Journal of Medicine showed that women taking anti-depressants prenatally are more than twice as likely to have infants with skull and intestinal deformities.

Help for Your Child

If you took Zoloft while pregnant, and your child has a birth defect, you may be able to obtain compensation to help with their injuries.  Contact our firm today for a free consultation.


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