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Popular antidepressant blamed for birth defects in lawsuit

We hear the disclaimers all the time. A drug that seems to be a cure-all for a specific problem shouldn't be taken by anybody who has a certain pre-existing condition. Then the lists of pre-existing conditions and possible side effects are so long you're left wondering who possibly could take the drug in the first place.

A couple in New Orleans is the latest to claim their baby was born with congenital birth defects because the mother of the child took Zoloft, a popular antidepressant, while she was pregnant.

The parents filed a lawsuit against Pfizer in federal court on January 30. They say the company should have done more to warn parents that Zoloft could potentially cause birth defects, as they would not have used the drug if they had known the risks. Last October, an Ohio couple filed a suit against Pfizer when their baby died shortly after being born.

Pfizer, the world's largest pharmaceutical company, is allegedly liable under the Louisiana Products Liability Act. The New Orleans family also accuses Pfizer of violating the Warranty of Redhibition, a law unique to Louisiana's legal system. The law is similar to the lemon laws that exist elsewhere in the nation and which allow consumers to collect damages from the sellers of defective products.

Parents should be aware that the FDA has issued a public health advisory warning that Zoloft has been linked to birth defects in children born to some women who took it during their pregnancies. The decision to stop taking antidepressants during pregnancy, however, should be discussed with a doctor.

Source: The Louisiana Record, "Lawsuit claims baby's congenital birth defects linked to mother's use of Zoloft," Michelle Keahey, Feb. 13, 2012

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