Zoloft® (Sertraline Hcl) and Pregnancy
Zoloft® (sertraline Hcl) is one of the oldest and most widely prescribed of the popular SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) class of antidepressants. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1991, Zoloft® has held a dominant role in the market; it was the most prescribed antidepressant in the United States as recently as 2007. Because of its long history, Zoloft® has been one of the SSRI medications studied closely for adverse side effects. One of the prominent concerns has been how Zoloft® affects pregnancy.
Pregnancy and Antidepressants
The entire class of SSRI drugs has come under scrutiny with regard to pregnancy and healthy births. There have been several clinical studies that address Zoloft® effects on pregnancy. Because of the long history of these drugs – dating to 1987 - there has been a steady stream of reports to the FDA concerning Zoloft® pregnancy safety.
Nevertheless, it is important for women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy to seek treatment for depression. Studies show untreated depression during pregnancy can put the health of the mother and the newborn at risk. Women who either become pregnant or are thinking about becoming pregnant should speak with their doctors about the best form of depression treatment for them and should not stop taking their medication until they receive instruction from their doctors.
Some antidepressants are considered safer than others. All types of antidepressants that impact the neurotransmitter serotonin have the potential to cause health problems during pregnancy. The studies on pregnancy and side effects suggest that SSRI medications, MAOI drugs, and the tricyclic antidepressants all have their drawbacks. But the clinical information available on Zoloft® (sertraline Hcl) during pregnancy has established a clear causal relationship between the drug and health problems for newborns.
Is it Safe to Take Zoloft® during Pregnancy?
The studies on Zoloft® (sertraline) and pregnancy suggest that caution should be used when taking this medication during pregnancy. The official warning on Zoloft® during pregnancy is contained in the product labeling literature provided by Zoloft® manufacturer Pfizer, material that is distributed with every prescription of the drug. According to Pfizer, "When treating a pregnant woman with ZOLOFT during the third trimester, the physician should carefully consider both the potential risks and benefits of treatment…"
Zoloft® and Birth Defects
The most definitive study on Zoloft® pregnancy side effects showed a clear relationship between the SSRI and the development of Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) in babies who are exposed during fetal development. This serious condition compromises the child's ability to breathe and can be fatal. However other studies and meta-studies of SSRI drugs have indicated that there are a number of birth defect risks for the newborn, including:
- Septal defect (hole in the heart)
- Club foot
- Congenital limb defect
Contact a Zoloft® Birth Defect Lawyer
If you were taking Zoloft® (sertraline Hcl) during pregnancy and gave birth to a child with health problems or a malformation, you should consult an experienced Zoloft® birth defect lawyer about the possibility of compensation.
Contact our offices today for a free review of your case, provided in complete confidence.