Lexapro

Since September 2005, information has been emerging that certain antidepressants may cause birth defects, including cardiac (heart), pulmonary (lung), craniosynostosis (skull defect) and infant omphalocele (abdominal wall defects).

Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), is a life-threatening disorder in which the newborn’s arteries to the lungs remain constricted after delivery, limiting the amount of blood flow to the lungs and therefore the amount of oxygen into the bloodstream. Ten percent to 20 percent of infants with PPHN will end up dying even if they receive treatment.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in 2006 by Christina Chambers of the University of California, San Diego, found a sixfold increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPH) in infants born to mothers who took an antidepressant in the last trimester of pregnancy. On July 19, 2006, the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory for Lexapro and several other antidepressants based on this study.

Lexapro Birth Defects

Lexapro has been linked to increased risk of serious birth defects including Primary Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN). A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that newborns whose mothers took SSRI antidepressants such as Lexapro during pregnancy were six times more likely to be born with the cario-pulmonary birth defect PPHN than those whose mothers did not take prescribed antidepressants – PPHN rose as high as 12 cases per 1,000 births.

Another study published in Pediatrics (February, 2004) found that pregnant women who used SSRIs had an increased risk of giving birth to babies with abnormal heart rhythms, unusual sleeping patterns, disrupted neurological development and problems with alertness.

A study summarized on Web MD reported that newborns exposed to SSRI antidepressants such as Lexapro by their pregnant mothers late in pregnancy were twice as likely to risk admission to special-care nurseries and twice as likely to suffer respiratory complications serious enough to require hospital ventilation procedures.

In addition to PPHN, SSRI antidepressants like Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft have been linked to severe congenital heart defects, including: atrial septal defects (ASD – hole in the heart), ventricular septal defects (VSD – hole in the heart), tetrology of fallot (ToF), hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), transposition of the great arteries (TGA or TOGA), patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR), coarctation of the aorta (CoA), double outlet right ventricle (DORV), and Shone’s Complex. These injuries range from minor heart murmurs not requiring surgery, all the way to the most severe congenital heart defects, requiring multiple surgeries or potentially a complete heart transplant in order to save the life of the child..
Lexapro Side Effects

Lexapro theoretically causes side effects by increasing the concentration of serotonin in other parts of the body (e.g., the intestines). Common side effects of Lexapro include drowsiness, insomnia, nausea, weight changes, frequent urination, decreased sex drive, anorgasmia, dry mouth, increased sweating, trembling, diarrhea, excessive yawning, and fatigue. Less common side effects include bruxism, vomiting, cardiac arrhythmia, blood pressure changes, dilated pupils, anxiety, mood swings, headache, and dizziness. Rare side effects include convulsions, hallucinations, and severe allergic reactions. Lexapro is also a mild antihistamine, which may be responsible for some of its sedating properties. If sedation occurs, the dose may be taken at bedtime rather than in the morning. Other side effects, such as increased apathy and emotional flattening, may be caused by the decrease in dopamine release that is associated with increased serotonin.

If you took Lexapro while pregnant, and delivered a baby with birthdefects, a lawyer may be able to help you. Please send your details to an attorney by filling out the claim form for a free claim evaluation.

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