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Zoloft Lawsuit Information

Zoloft (sertraline) is an antidepressant used to treat such illnesses as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety. However, since the drug’s introduction in 1991, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued alerts regarding unreported side effects of Zoloft, some of which have led to litigation. Below, you’ll find information about Zoloft lawsuits, the injuries that people have reportedly suffered due to taking Zoloft, and the people and entities that may be liable.

Injuries from Zoloft

Patients who take Zoloft have reportedly suffered a wide array of side effects, ranging from less severe symptoms, like stomach cramps and drowsiness, to life-threatening problems such as suicidal thoughts and heart problems. When manufacturers or doctors fail to report these side effects to the patient, Zoloft users may be able to sue for any unexpected injuries that result. The three main side effects that have produced Zoloft lawsuits are:

  • Suicidal thoughts and behavior
  • Birth defects
  • Failure to work as advertised

In 2004 and 2005, the FDA issued safety alerts notifying Zoloft users that the drug may cause suicidal thoughts or behavior, especially in children, teenagers, and young adults. As a result, Zoloft users must be carefully monitored by their doctors to watch for any signs of worsening depression.

Zoloft is also suspected of causing birth defects in babies born to mothers who took the drug while pregnant. These birth defects range from physical deformities, such as club foot and cleft palate, to severe heart-related defects. Among the most serious birth defects is persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) — a potentially life-threatening condition that causes severe breathing problems.

Some users claim that Zoloft provided them no relief, despite the drug manufacturer’s claims of successfully treating depression. In many cases, these patients experienced the harmful side effects of the drug without the advertised benefits.

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Liability for Zoloft Injuries

Determining who might be liable for a Zoloft patient’s injuries depends on the “learned intermediary” rule. The prescribing doctor acts as an intermediary between the patient and the drug manufacturer and therefore has a duty to tell the patient about the drug’s effects. As a result, patients who aren’t warned of the drug’s adverse effects may be able to hold their doctors liable for failing to pass along the warnings from the manufacturer.

On the other hand, when the drug maker fails to warn the doctor about certain side effects patients who are injured by those effects may sue the manufacturer directly. Like all product manufacturers, drug makers have a duty to warn consumers about the foreseeable risks of harm to someone using the product as directed. In the context of medications, this means that drug makers must warn about the potential side effects so that patients are aware of the unknown risks and can properly prepare for them. Additionally, the drug manufacturer has a duty to list all of the side effects in any of its advertisements that are targeted directly at the patient.

Current Zoloft Lawsuits

Starting in 2012, there are still major Zoloft-related litigation proceedings working their way through the court system. One proceeding combines several lawsuits focusing on birth defects, while the other is related to claims that the drug doesn’t work as advertised.

Numerous lawsuits have been filed across the country against Zoloft manufacturer Pfizer and other defendants, alleging that the drug maker failed to warn consumers that the medication can cause birth defects. Because all of these cases make similar claims and involve nearly identical legal issues, they have been consolidated through a process called “multidistrict litigation” (MDL).

Unlike a class action lawsuit where a few plaintiffs represent a large group, the plaintiffs consolidated through MDL represent only themselves. In MDL, the judge hears many lawsuits at once so that the same legal issues don’t have to be decided over and over again. In the Zoloft lawsuits regarding birth defects, all of the cases have been put under a judge in the federal court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania who will schedule depositions and issue orders binding on all similar cases.

Other Zoloft patients have filed a class action lawsuit in the Northern District of California, accusing Pfizer of false advertising. Rather than suing for compensation for injuries due to Zoloft’s reported or unreported side effects, this class action lawsuit argues that Pfizer made misrepresentations about Zoloft’s effectiveness. Plaintiffs point to studies that found that Zoloft did not work as well as Pfizer claimed it did.

Get Zoloft Lawsuit Information Specific to Your Situation by Talking to a Lawyer at The Lidji Firm

If your child has suffered birth injuries due to the use of Zoloft, consider speaking with a qualified drug and medical device attorney like The Lidji Firm. Because there are several groups of plaintiffs already in the court system, you may want to consider any legal options you may have without delay to best protect your rights.

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Zoloft Birth Defects

 

Mothers who took Zoloft while pregnant run a higher risk of delivering children with Zoloft birth defects. Reportedly, Zoloft and other SSRI antidepressants have been linked to a potential risk of birth defects, ranging from skull defects to life-threatening cardiac problems, in newborns of women taking these drugs during pregnancy. Because the manufacturer of this drug failed to warn patients and doctors about the potential risk of Zoloft birth defects, pregnant users of the drug were unaware that they ran a higher risk of delivering children with congenital defects.

Zoloft Birth Defects: Types

According to one Danish study, women taking Zoloft early in pregnancy have a slightly increased risk for delivering a child with a septal heart defect. Other cardiac birth defects their children are at risk for include:
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
  • Tetralogy of fallot (TOF)
  • Transposition of the great arteries (TGA)
  • Coarctation of the aorta
  • Ventricular septal defects
  • Atrial septal defects
  • Hole in the heart
Zoloft birth defects may not solely be related to cardiac conditions, and claims from Zoloft users who delivered children with spina bifida, club foot, craniosynostosis (skull defect) and omphalocele, a condition in which the intestines and/or abdominal organs protrude through the navel also exist.

Are There Treatments for Babies with Zoloft Birth Defects?

Children who were born with Zoloft birth defects following their mother’s use of the drug during pregnancy may need to undergo multiple surgeries to correct and treat their injuries. In some instances of Zoloft heart defects, the child may need a surgery during the first three years of life, followed by another or multiple procedures as he or she grows to adulthood. We maintain a dedicated class action website. Our attorneys represent clients in many different class actions. Contact us for more information. We can help with any further medical complications you might experience.

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