Zoloft® Withdrawal Symptoms and Pregnancy
When a woman takes drugs during her pregnancy, two people are at risk for the side effects and withdrawal problems from the drug — the mother and her fetus.
Zoloft® (sertraline) is an antidepressant in the class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These drugs work by making the mood stabilizer serotonin more available to brain tissue. They actually change the biochemistry of the brain.
When Zoloft® is stopped, the brain biochemistry then has to readjust. Part of this readjustment can be withdrawal symptoms from the drug. Both the mother and the fetus can suffer from withdrawal.
Before considering stopping the drug, it is important to determine which risk is greater — staying on Zoloft® and being exposed to some of the possible side effects of the drug on both the mother and the fetus or going off Zoloft® and being exposed not only to the effects of withdrawal but the return of depression.
The risks of untreated depression during pregnancy include:
- Insufficient prenatal care
- Preeclampsia or a kind of high blood pressure that can occur during pregnancy
- Inadequate weight gain
- Poor eating habits
- Use of drugs or alcohol to self-medicate
- Effect on one's feelings and daily life
The risks to the fetus of untreated depression in the mother include:
- Low birth weight
- Premature birth
- Developmental problems
Zoloft® (Sertraline) Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal from Zoloft® should be monitored by a physician who can adjust the dosage to the individual patient's needs. Some symptoms of withdrawal from Zoloft® include:
- Sensation of burning or tingling
If the mother was using Zoloft® before the baby is born, then the newborn is at also risk for withdrawal from the drug which previously was supplied through the placenta. Zoloft® withdrawal symptoms in newborns include:
- High-pitched crying
- Gastrointestinal disturbances
- Poor feeding
Other Risks to the Unborn Fetus
It also is possible that Zoloft® can cause birth defects. Birth defects associated with the pregnant mother taking Zoloft® include:
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN): problems with breathing and lung function that may have long-term complications
- Anencephaly: a fatal condition in which part of the brain and skull are missing
- Craniosynostosis: a condition in which the sutures of the skull do not come together properly causing deformity of the skull
- Omphalocele: occurs when the intestines and other contents of the abdomen push through the belly button and is repaired over time with surgery
- Heart defects: heart defects occur early during development and can affect any part of the heart; symptoms range from minor to severe and life-threatening
Contact a Zoloft® Birth Defect Lawyer
If your baby suffered harm because you took Zoloft® (sertraline) during your pregnancy, our birth defect lawyers may be able to help you pursue damages through a lawsuit. Contact a Zoloft® birth defect lawyer today to find out if you qualify for a claim.