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Zoloft newborn risk backed by animal and human studies

Apparently, in animals as well as in humans, there is a relationship between a serious lung disease in newborns and the expectant mother's use of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressant, such as Zoloft (sertraline). In addition to human scientific confirmation, that conclusion can be drawn from a sheep study explained in the June 13 edition of the American Journal of Physiology: Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology.

In a sheep model of a lung disease known as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, or PPHN, researchers exposed the animals to sertraline, generic Zoloft, and found that "SSRI infusion further increases" the newborn's pulmonary vascular resistance. Here's the connection: When pulmonary vascular resistance remains elevated after birth, "the result is PPHN," according to a 2011 book titled "Pulmonary Hypertension: From Bench Research to Clinical Challenges."

This is the type of science that backs up the claims of injured plaintiffs who have filed Zoloft class action lawsuits and other SSRI-related actions. The confirmation of human findings by an animal study reinforces the existence of an increased risk of a newborn pulmonary condition associated with in-utero exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Zoloft. Legally, the maker of one of these antidepressants, Pfizer in the case of Zoloft, marketed the drug without posting warnings about an unreasonable PPHN risk that the manufacturer had a duty to know.

Zoloft class action lawsuits have human science on their side as well.

After The New England Journal of Medicine's release of a key 2006 study, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration OKd labeling changes for Zoloft and for other SSRIs "to describe the potential risk for PPHN." The agency wrote, "Babies with PPHN have high pressure in their lung blood vessels and are not able to get enough oxygen into their bloodstream," and the study identified a six-fold increase in the risk of PPHN among babies exposed in utero to a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.

There is more scientific vindication for victims seeking compensation in Zoloft class action lawsuits and the like: The tie between PPHN and exposure to Zoloft and to other SSRIs was re-established in 2013 in Brazil's Jornal de Pediatria, which additionally published in its May-June 2013 edition, "Despite recent technological advances and new physiopathological knowledge of this disease, mortality associated with PPHN remains at 10 percent."

Yet another damning work: The British Journal of Psychiatry will publish a piece in 2013 concerning a registry study in Denmark that took place from 1996 to 2006. It reads, "Infants exposed to antidepressants during pregnancy had an increased rate of a low Apgar score. The increased rate was only found among infants exposed to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, not among those exposed to newer or older antidepressants." The lower the Apgar score, which is taken minutes after birth, the more troublesome are the ratings of the baby's "breathing effort, heart rate, muscle tone, reflexes and skin color," according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

As if those studies are not enough, a 2012 study out of Helsinki pinned Zoloft on increased risks of birth defects such as "omphalocele, anal atresia, limb-reduction defects, cardiac septal defects and anencephaly."

These human and animal studies implicitly mean that Zoloft class action lawsuits have been filed by scientifically legitimized victims of fetal exposure to the SSRI antidepressant. The SSRI class includes Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, Luvox and Viibryd.

There is nothing forcing the benign acceptance of serious injury. A family suffering financially and otherwise from the severe newborn impact of an SSRI antidepressant has the same options that victims in Zoloft class action lawsuits and similar litigation have exercised: They can hire an attorney and fight for justice, holding the manufacturer accountable for the damages it could have mitigated, if not precluded.

The experienced pharmaceutical injury attorneys at Reich & Binstock represent such victims in pending litigation and offer free consultations to others who may be entitled to compensation. It takes so little time to get the process started - and at no charge. The law firm may be reached either toll-free at 1-866-LAW-2400 or online at www.reichandbinstock.com by using the simple electronic case evaluation request form.

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