Approximately one-third of pregnant women in the U.S. take psychotropic drugs during pregnancy, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Many of these women also breastfeed their babies while on antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and even antipsychotic drugs.
One of the most popular drugs for depression is the brand-name drug Effexor (venlafaxine), a combination SSRI/SNRI which has been shown to be present in breast milk at up to 5 times the rate of concentration in mother’s blood. Due to the risks to the baby, the manufacturer has placed a cursory warning against use during pregnancy and breastfeeding on the drug’s label.0
But that does not mean that if you have a child with a birth defect or a child whose death could have been caused by Effexor – that you have no claim.
These are some of the problems associated with the use of Effexor and other SSRIs / SNRI antidepressants during pregnancy:
- Preterm birth
- Cleft Palate
- Primary pulmonary hypertension of the neonate
- Transposition of the great arteries and other heart defects
- Feeding and swallowing problems
- Aspiration and vomiting
Pharmaceutical manufacturer liability can often be based on an inadequate warning to the end consumer or the medical professional prescribing the drug to women. Deceptive, off-label marketing of psychiatric drugs to pregnant and nursing mothers takes many forms. It can often include scholarly studies bought and paid-for by pharmaceutical companies to convince doctors that the drugs are safe, even though the FDA has never approved them for pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Stronger warnings are needed to ensure that babies and mothers remain safe from toxic and deadly medications all too often regarded by health care professionals and consumers alike as “benign.”
As much as it is confusing for mothers looking for accurate information, you can be sure that a drug company rep has tried to convince your doctor or midwife that the so-called benefits of Effexor to you outweigh the risks for your baby. But nobody cares more about your baby than you do, and nobody cares more about making the pharmaceutical companies account for their wrongdoing than grieving parents. The Barrera Law Firm, PC is here to help you through what is going to be the most trying time in your life if you have suffered at the hands of the pharmaceutical companies.
Although the label for Effexor is constantly changing, the law changes as well, and you may have a claim – even if you have been told before that your case is too difficult.
Contact Stapleton & Barrera to find out if your case can be pursued against Pfizer/Wyeth, makers of Effexor.