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Lexapro Birth Defects - Multiple Categories of Birth Defects Associated with Lexapro Use

Lexapro Birth Defects from Lexapro

Lexapro birth defects have recently been brought to light by the New England Journal of Medicine and National Birth Defects Prevention Study, which is funded by the CDC. While most of the focus on Lexapro birth defects has been on cardiac birth defects, or congenital heart defects, Lexapro is thought to be even more likely to cause other types of birth defects. Taking Lexapro any time during pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects, but use in the first and third trimester are often considered some of the worst periods for fetal exposure and increasing risks of all forms of birth defects as well as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn.

Types of Lexapro Birth Defects

Lexapro and other antidepressants have been associated with increased risk in most categories of birth defects. Below are descriptions of some of the types of birth defects experienced after the mother took Lexapro during pregnancy and the risk of giving birth to a child with a birth defect after taking Lexapro:

Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is a birth defect where parts of the left side of the heart, including the mitral valve, left ventricle, aortic valve and aorta, fail to fully develop.   Recent evidence has linked an increased risk of a child being born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome to antidepressant use by the mother during pregnancy.   Hypoplastic left heart syndrome may be present with other Lexapro birth defects.   Read more about Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and Lexapro.

Anencephaly Lexapro Birth Defects

One of the most common neural tube birth defects, which are birth defects that affect the tissue that grows into the spinal cord and brain.   It occurs early in the development of an unborn baby and results when the upper part of the neural tube fails to close.  Symptoms include absence of the skull, absence of the cerebral hemispheres and cerebellum portions of the brain, facial feature abnormalities and heart defects.   Anencephaly occurs in roughly 1 in 10,000 births, but concerns have grown that antidepressant drugs in the SSRI class, such as Lexapro, may increase risk factors by 200% or more, demonstrated by a study published in 2007 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Craniosynostosis Lexapro Birth Defects

Congenital birth defect where the connections that separate individual skull bones close earlier than normal, leading to an abnormally shaped head.    Craniosynostosis usually requires surgery while the child is still an infant to relieve any pressure on the brain and ensure that there is enough room in the skull for proper brain growth, as well as improve the appearance of the baby's head.

Omphalocele Lexapro Birth Defects

Birth defect in which the intestine or other abdominal organs protrude from the navel caused by the muscles in the umbilical ring not closing properly, resulting in the intestine remaining outside of the umbilical cord.   Omphaloceles require surgery to be corrected.  Lexapro use may double the chances of omphalocele birth defects, also demonstrated by a study published in 2007 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Other Lexapro birth defects include club foot and spina bifida.

Lexapro and Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)

Lexapro use during the last half of a pregnancy, particularly the third trimester, is thought to be a cause of persistent pulmonary hypertenstion of the newborn, a failure of the normal circulatory transition that occurs after birth.

Compensation for Those Suffering from Lexapro Birth Defects

If you or a loved one has had a child with a birth defect or experienced severe psychological or physical side effects after taking Lexapro, our team of Lexapro lawyers are experienced in battling pharmaceutical giants such as GlaxoSmithKline and have the expertise, experience and resources to handle the complex nature of Lexapro cases.

Numerous Lawsuits and Legal Problems for Lexapro Manufacturer

In 2004 there were two separate lawsuits alleging illegal marketing by Forest Laboratories, Inc., the company that makes and markets Celexa and Lexapro, the drug that replaced Celexa after its patent expired.   Forest Laboratories, Inc. was accused of marketing Celexa (citalopram) and Lexapro (escitalopram) for use by children and teenagers despite the FDA-mandated “black box warning” and that Celexa was specifically prohibited for use by children by the FDA.   Both of these lawsuits were initiated by whistleblowers; one by a company salesman that felt the company’s behavior should not be allowed to continue and the other by a non-practicing doctor.   In 2009 these two lawsuits were consolidated and 11 states and the District of Columbia filed notices that they intended to join the lawsuits as plaintiffs.   Federal prosecutors alleged that Forest Laboratories, Inc. paid kickbacks to doctors in an effort to persuade them to prescribe Celexa and Lexapro to children. Read more