Mother Sues Pfizer Over Son’s Death from Zoloft Birth Defects — (Top Class Actions)

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Top Class Actions

By Courtney Coren

August 8, 2013

A Texas woman has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Pfizer Inc. and Greenstone, LLC, alleging that the companies’ generic Zoloft antidepressant that she was taking while pregnant caused her son to be born prematurely. These Zoloft birth defects were severe enough that he died five days after he was born.

The Zoloft lawsuit was filed July 17, 2013, in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by Marisol Smith on behalf of her son Prince Lloyd Tahreek Smith. Prince died on July 2, 2011, five days after his birth on June 27, 2011. Greenstone is a subsidiary of Pfizer and the manufacturer Sertraline, a generic version of Pfizer’s drug Zoloft.

Smith took Sertraline during her pregnancy with Prince. Neither she nor her doctor were aware of the birth defects associated with Zoloft or Sertraline, according to the lawsuit, so she continued taking the antidepressant even after she found out that she was pregnant.

Baby Prince was born prematurely on June 27, 2011, at just 25 weeks old. After he was born, Prince was diagnosed with several congenital defects, including respiratory distress syndrome, patent ductus arteriosus, and atrial septal defect with ventricular tachycardia.

On June 30, 2011, Prince began suffering from severe bleeding in his lungs, also called a pulmonary hemorrhage. Prince ended up needing ventilation support and a blood transfusion. The bleeding in his lungs caused him to deteriorate quickly, and he died on July 2, 2011 from bleeding in his lungs and on his brain. His mother says his death could have been avoided if she had been warned that Zoloft and Sertraline side effects include birth defects.

“To this day, Pfizer or Greenstone has not informed women of childbearing age, or pregnant women, that they should not take Sertraline,” the birth defect lawsuit states. “Pfizer still targets these women as their primary market.”

Studies Link Zoloft to Birth Defects

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in 2006 revealed that the birth defect PPHN was six times more common in babies whose mothers took an SSRI antidepressant after the 20th week of pregnancy compared to babies whose mothers did not take an antidepressant.

The FDA describes PPHN as a “life-threatening lung condition that occurs soon after birth of the newborn.”

The prescription guide for Zoloft warns that “infants exposed to SSRIs in pregnancy may have an increased risk for persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn [PPHN]. PPHN occurs in 1-2 per 1,000 live births in the general population and is associated with substantial neonatal morbidity and mortality. Several recent epidemiologic studies suggest a positive statistical association between SSRI use (including Zoloft) in pregnancy and PPHN.”

Another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007 looked at babies who’s mothers did not take SSRIs during pregnancy and compared them to mothers who took Sertraline and found that those babies had an 80-percent higher chance of developing craniosynostosis. A different study published the same month in the NEJM found that the risk was 70 percent.

There are several studies cited in the Zoloft birth defects lawsuit that show the risks of Sertraline and Zoloft to unborn children. These potential side effects also include cranial malformations, omphalocele (when an infant’s intestines grow outside of the body), and cardiac side effects, to name a few.

Get a Free Zoloft Birth Defect Lawsuit Review

If you or anyone you know has had a child born with a birth defect as a result of taking an SSRI such as Zoloft, legal options are available. Learn more and get a free legal consultation regarding a claim’s eligibility at the Zoloft & SSRI Antidepressant Birth Defect Class Action Lawsuit Investigation. Experienced birth defect lawyers have access to medical experts to assess whether or not this antidepressant played a role in the development of a serious heart defect in your child, so act now.