Is a category of anti-depressants causing birth injuries?

Although some dietary precautions may be common knowledge among expecting parents, a recent allegation of product liability may come as a surprise. 

Specifically, a category of anti-depressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, might increase the risk of autism spectrum disorder if taken during the final two pregnancy trimesters. The theory is that the SSRIs might interfere with the brain's normal mechanism for producing serotonin. 

Researchers came to this theory after studying health records over a ten-year period involving over 145,000 births. The data suggests that the risk is increased 87 percent for mothers on the SSRI medication. That's disturbing news considering that the use of SSRIs by pregnant women in the United States increased from 6 to 13 percent between 1999 and 2003.

Most drugs sold to American customers are subject to the review of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Drug makers are expected to disclose any risks of adverse side effects when seeking FDA approval. For example, the FDA requires a warning to accompany the packaging of Paxil regarding the increased risk of birth defects if taken by pregnant women. Any doctor prescribing this medication should also pass along that cautionary warning to patients, perhaps even advising against it.

A product liability claim against a drug maker is no small undertaking, considering the financial resources of the pharmaceutical industry. However, drug makers should be held accountable for faulty or dangerous drugs. Even if data requires an expert's analysis, our personal injury and product liability attorneys can help a victim of a dangerous product prepare for court.

Source: Washington Post, "Maternal exposure to anti-depressant SSRIs linked to autism in children," Ariana Eunjung Cha, Dec. 17, 2015

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