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Paxil Birth Defects Lawsuit

paxil-birth-defect-lawsuits-free-brochure-banner-170x250You might believe that the antidepressant paroxetine—sold under the brand name Paxil but also less commonly as Aropax and Seroxat—caused you or your baby to suffer life-threatening side effects and severe birth defects. The Rottenstein Law Group, a Paxil law firm, believes you shouldn’t have to go through more trouble to be compensated for the harm you’ve already suffered. If you believe that you or your baby has been harmed as a result of your taking Paxil, contact RLG for a free consultation immediately.

What Is Paxil and What Is It Prescribed For?

Paxil is a brand name for the drug paroxetine. Made and sold by British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, this prescription medication is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and anxiety disorders.

SmithKline Beecham, a British pharmaceuticals company that has since merged with others into GlaxoSmithKline, developed paroxetine, and in 1992 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug as Paxil. It comes in two forms: oral tablets with 10mg to 50mg of paroxetine, and in an oral suspension containing 10mg paroxetine per 5mL. In 2006 doctors filled out 19.7 million Paxil prescriptions.

Paxil is a potent member of the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) class of antidepressants. SSRIs prevent receptors in the human brain from absorbing serotonin that has already been released. Serotonin helps people maintain feelings of well-being, so preventing its re-absorption alleviates negative feelings. SSRIs take several weeks to affect users, and they can cause many side-effects in the process, particularly nausea, somnolence, and sexual side-effects. Paxil does not cause significant weight gain like other SSRIs, though.

In 2007, Paxil sales reached $1 billion. As the adverse effects of Paxil have become better known, the FDA has required more stringent product warnings and prescription requirements, culminating with an October 2004 “black box” Paxil warning. There has not been any effort to remove the product from the market, and the FDA has never issued a Paxil recall announcement. GlaxoSmithKline has faced numerous plaintiffs in Paxil class action lawsuits. One centering on GlaxoSmithKline’s promotion of Paxil to children under 18 settled for $40 million in late 2008. In July 2010, it also settled hundreds of Paxil birth defects lawsuits for $1.14 billion. According to a February 2012 Bloomberg article, the average amount of compensation in each Paxil settlement was around $1 million.

Paxil Might Cause Birth Defects

Paxil might cause numerous birth defects, injuries, and other complications, especially when a pregnant woman takes it during the first trimester.

  • Premature birth
  • Miscarriage. An article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reported a study on antidepressants showing that 5.5% of the pregnant women on them suffered spontaneous abortions as opposed to a non-antidepressant-using control group’s 2.7%.
  • Withdrawal symptoms, such as: breathing difficulties, turning blue, low blood sugar, jaundice, changing body temperatures, feeding problems, convulsions, vomiting, floppiness, stiffness, irritability, jitteriness, abnormal crying, and tremors.
  • Clubbed foot. Called “Congenital Talipes Equinovarus” by medical professionals, one or both feet of children born with this condition are turned inward at the ankle. Most cases are easily treated non-surgically.
  • Cleft lip or palate. A cleft lip occurs when the tissue forming a child’s upper lip fails to fuse properly. A cleft palate means the bones comprising the roof of a child’s mouth did not properly join, connecting the mouth to the nasal cavity. Both can be resolved surgically, though a cleft palate can sometimes be fixed by placing a prosthetic device in the palate.
  • Delayed development. A February 2010 study published in Pediatrics determined that on average, children born to women who used antidepressants began sitting upright sixteen days later than average, and began walking one month later as well.
  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension (PPHN). An article in the February 2006 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated that babies born to women using antidepressants past their 20th week of pregnancy were six times more likely to develop PPHN than women who were not using an antidepressant. PPHN is a life-threatening condition in which high pressure in blood vessels in children’s lungs results in insufficiently oxygenated blood.
  • Gastroschisis. Usually a genetic hernia, gastroschisisis a defect on one side of the umbilical cord that allows a portion of the infant’s intestines to protrude out of the body. It is often undetectable before birth, but surgeons can repair the damage by either pushing the intestines back into the body or by stitching a mesh around the protrusion.
  • Enlarged heart is condition in which the heart is both too large and weak to efficiently pump blood through the body.
  • Septal heart defects. The most common heart defect associated with antidepressants, the wall (septum) separating the left side of the heart from its right is malformed. Sometimes surgery is necessary to correct the damage. The September 2009 edition of the British Medical Journal contained an article showing that women on antidepressants during their first trimesters were twice as likely to give birth to children with septal defects as normal. Taking more than one antidepressant during the first trimester quadrupled the probability of a septal heart defect versus women who did not take the drugs.
  • Left outflow tract heart defects. This defect refers to a child born with a narrow aorta, the body’s primary artery, and it requires surgical correction.
  • Macrocephaly is a condition in which the child’s head is abnormally large, measured at two standard deviations above the average in head circumference. Macrocephaly correlates to infections, internal bleeding in the skull, cysts on the brain, and other defects.
  • Craniosynostosis is a condition in which portions of the child’s skull fuse prematurely, which causes the skull plates to grow in different directions to accommodate the expanding brain. If the skull fails to grow sufficiently, the intracranial pressure on the child’s brain can lead to visual and cognitive impairments.
  • Neural tube defects. A neural tube defect consists of an opening in a child’s spinal cord or brain caused by a failure of specialized nerve cells to fuse properly. The several types of defects are horrific and in some instances the child is born without significant portions of the skull and brain. In many circumstances the child does not survive more than a few hours after birth.
  • Spina bifida. A more common, specific kind of neural tube defect. Spina bifida is not as fatal as the ones mentioned above because it affects the lower spinal column. In some instances, the spinal cord protrudes through the gap between the unfused bones, and in others a fluid-filled sac surrounds the spinal cord. Sometimes surgeons can close the opening in patients’ backs.

The Rottenstein Law Group is a birth defect law firm, and—if you believe that you or your child suffered adverse side effects as a result of your taking Paxil while you were pregnant—we can determine whether it’s appropriate to file a Paxil birth defect lawsuit on your behalf.

Other Paxil Side Effects

Paxil has been found to cause two other significant side effects: increased thoughts of suicide, and complications for those with pre-existing heart conditions.

As early as 1990, people reported that antidepressants caused increased suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The FDA considered the issue, but it did nothing more. It became clear that antidepressants could adversely affect children and teenagers, making them hostile, irrational, violent, or suicidal. In 2006, the FDA analyzed the results of 372 studies of antidepressants, finding that even young adults (ages 18-25) were also afflicted with behavioral changes. As a result, the FDA ordered antidepressant manufacturers, including GlaxoSmithKline for Paxil, to include added warnings to consumers. However, a study published in the February 6, 2012 edition of the medical journal, Archives of General Psychology, contradicted earlier findings that connected SSRI use to increased suicidal activity in youths. Although, the researchers did not detect a decrease in suicidal thoughts and behaviors compared to adults and geriatric patients.

Recently, a study conducted at Duke University concluded that those with coronary artery disease faced greater risk of death due to Paxil use. The researchers could not determine the reasons for the connection, but they found the connection statistically significant. For those with heart disease, in an average three years of follow-up, 21.4 percent of the participants still on antidepressants died as opposed to 12.5 percent who were not on antidepressants.

RLG’s Paxil Lawyers Will Make Things Easier

The process of demanding compensation for the harm you’ve suffered can be complicated, even if it doesn’t seem fair that you should have to go through even more trouble to be made whole again. The Paxil lawyers at the Rottenstein Law Group believe that getting satisfaction from the company that might have harmed you shouldn’t be just more hardship. That’s why we do everything we can to streamline the process, and we will file a Paxil lawsuit on your behalf if necessary.

If you believe that you or your child suffered adverse side effects as a result of your taking Paxil, submit this simple secure form for a free and confidential evaluation.

Join the Discussion

Please note: Comments are encouraged in order to permit visitors to discuss relevant topics. Comments are moderated and might be edited by RLG before being published.

Comments should not be used to ask questions of RLG’s lawyers; if you want to speak with a lawyer, please fill out this contact form or call 1 (888) 976-8529. *Your name and email address will not be published.

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rlg Previous Comments

  1. Guest
    on November 20, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I am having suicidal thoughts from this drug and other things.

  2. Guest
    on August 6, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    I have been on Paxil since 1993 to treat severe anxiety caused by a destructive divorce. I was originally prescribed Xanax but my doctor told me he could not refill the prescription after running out 3 months after the original prescription (30 tabs in prescription and only taken when feeling anxiety coming on). My doctor told me Xanax was addictive so he replaced that prescription with Paxil. Immediately I started noticing small changes in attitude and some physical changes as well. I would be fine then minutes later would be argumentative, agitated, and short tempered. I would start yelling at people instead of discussing simple issues. I changed doctors and asked my new doctor about quitting Paxil. She informed me you can not just quit taking Paxil (I found out the hard way). When I stopped taking the drug, I found that I felt sea sick, dizzy, confused, and I could not make any decisions on my own. I couldn't even eat since I couldn't figure out what to cook. I have now been on Paxil for almost 20 years and I can not take anymore of the pain, confusion, stress, and unhappiness that is in my life caused by this terrible drug! I don't know where to turn. My doctor said she can wean me off slowly but will have to put me on other drugs that are similar to paxil and I am afraid it will put me in the same situation I am in now.

  3. Guest
    on July 30, 2012 at 12:35 am

    I started taking Paroxetine in February 2012 for anxiety after the deaths of several close friends. In June 2012, I notified my doctor that my quality of life was being compromised and I wanted to get off the drug. Dr. Davis suggested reducing my 20 mg dosage down to zero in two weeks time. While working on a cruise ship, I went through severe withdrawal symptoms; and though I am back home and on liquid Paxil 10 mg, I am unable to go more than two days without the drug. I find this very distressing. I trusted my doctor, who trusted the drug company. I wish to take legal action.

  4. Guest
    on July 28, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    My son is seventeen and was born by emergency c section. He had two knots on umbilical cord wrapped.

  5. Guest
    on July 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    My thirteen year old daughter was prescribed paxil along with adderall a few months ago. In December of 2011, she was diagnosed with adhd, odd, asperger syndrome, and depression. Since taking these two medications, my daughter has tempted to and made threats of cutting and hanging herself. A few days ago I had to have her admitted into a psychiatric facility because I didn't know what else to do.

  6. Guest
    on July 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I would like to speak out to prevent the devastation that Paxil inflicted on me and my son who was a young child while I took this drug. Suicide and his murder was a thought to escape the confusion and depression I was suffering. While I was medicated. There is another chapter when I slept for a year, causing much pain to my son who was being raised by me alone. It would take days to write all the experience but I will never forget the pain of shocks my entire body received while I tried to withdraw taking Paxil. (I don't ever think I told him exactly what happened and how planned to kill us both to escape.) To think I wanted to kill the greatest thing that ever came into my life, and myself is a painful memory to relive. I hope this doesn't ever happen to anyone else.

  7. Guest
    on July 10, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I was prescribed Paxil and doctors kept increasing the dosage. I now have high blood pressure which is atypical for a 120 lbs caucasian woman. I also, at the highest level of the dosage, tried to end my life. After that episode I quit taking the Paxil, even though my doctor tried to increase the dosage again. I felt so much better after getting off Paxil. I still have high blood pressure and have to take daily meds.

  8. Guest
    on July 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    This is not related to the child birth defects, but I was prescribed Paxil while I was under the age of 18 for PTSD from molestation at age 15. So far I have records showing as early as July of 2008. I was 16 years old then. I have never felt normal since taking the drug Paxil and I feel that the drug was the reason I attempted suicide.

  9. Guest
    on July 8, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    I took Paxil for several years after being diagnosed with PTSD and Anxiety as a result of a beating in a night club for which I was awarded 450K. The medicine made me reckless, suicidal and self destructive and I went through all of my settlement in less than 18 months gambling on stocks and in casinos.

  10. Guest
    on July 6, 2012 at 9:22 am

    I have severe twitching in my leg and its starting to be painful. My dr is checking blood work. It started when I was taking paxil a few years ago. I have been on it since the leg is weak and I can't walk far distances without using a cane or walking stick. My leg jumps so hard I have to flex the leg muscles to walk.. I have been off work for two weeks. I have seven children and cant get disability.

  11. Guest
    on July 3, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    I had a lot of severe reactions on paxil, and horrible reactions trying to get off of it. Paxil is very very addicting.

  12. Guest
    on June 19, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    I was given paxil to treat depression, and since I've been taking it, i am losing my balance. I can't remember from minute to minute. I am in a brain fogg. I am confined to my home most of the time. I have severe headaches, the depression is worse than before. These are just some of the negative effects of taking paxil.

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