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Celexa is in the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of antidepressants and is manufactured and marketed in the United States by Forest Laboratories. It is a sister compound to Lexapro, which is also an antidepressant manufactured and marketed by Forest Laboratories.
These antidepressants are similar to other SSRIs and SNRIs such as Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Effexor, Pristiq and Welbutrin, which have been linked to an increased risk of birth defects in children who are exposed in utero.
Based on the medical literature and experts in the field, Celexa and Lexapro can be linked to the following types of birth defects:
As discussed, Celexa is an SSRI, and in the same class of drugs as Paxil. Evidence of Paxil’s link to an increased risk of cardiac defects and birth defects was revealed in September of 2005. Read the details of Paxil and birth defects here.
On July 19, 2006, the FDA released Public Heath Advisory: Treatment Challenges of Depression in Pregnancy and the Possibility of Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension in Newborns. In this Advisory, the FDA warns that babies of mothers taking SSRIs such as Celexa after the 20th week of pregnancy are 6 times more likely to be born with persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN). Babies born with PPHN have high pressure in the blood vessels of their lungs, and are not able to get enough oxygen into their bloodstream. There are also links between use of SSRIs during the second half of pregnancy and irritability, difficulty feeding, and difficulty breathing in babies. These warnings were based on research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Read the entire advisory here.
Surprising to most Americans, the FDA does not do independent testing on pharmaceutical medications. Instead, it is the pharmaceutical company’s responsibility to research and test the safety of their drug. Unfortunately, the warnings in 2005 and 2006 from the FDA and antidepressant manufacturers came more than ten years after most SSRIs and SNRIs were first released on the market. As a result, many doctors prescribed these medications to mothers not knowing the risks to the unborn children.
A birth defect injury attorney can help you decide what the best course of action is for you and your injured child. If your child was born with one of the above-mentioned birth defects and you took Celexa or Lexapro, contact Kirkendall Dwyer LLP today to determine whether or not you qualify for financial compensation.