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Zoloft® & Congenital Heart Defects

How Can Zoloft® Cause Heart Problems?

Zoloft® is the brand name of the prescription antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication Sertaline Hydrochloride that is manufactured and sold by global pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. Zoloft® is an SSRI or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, which means that it works to correct the balance of the brain chemical serotonin. Zoloft® also works similarly with the brain chemical dopamine. Zoloft® has been on the market since 1991.

Exactly how Zoloft's manipulation of brain chemicals increases the heart birth defect risk is unknown to the drug's makers and independent scientists. What is known is that in patients being treated for an anxiety disorder with Zoloft® do experience improvement in the common anxiety symptom of heart palpitations. What is also known is that some babies are being born with congenital heart problems and birth defects when their mothers took Zoloft® during pregnancy.

Zoloft® and Babies with Heart Problems

Unfortunately, some women who took Zoloft® during pregnancy have had babies born with heart defects. These Zoloft birth defects can occur due to the drug bringing on premature labor and the baby not having had enough time to develop, or in the babies born at full-term. At worst, the heart problems can cause problems with heartbeat and lead to sudden death.

At best, multiple surgeries may correct the problem once it is detected. Both are tragic prospects for new parents, especially a mother who through the treatment of her own medical problem may have, because of inadequate warnings, increased the heart birth defect risk of her own child.

Zoloft® and Infant Heart Defects

Some infant heart defects can be detected when a doctor listens to the heartbeat and hears a murmur or other deviation from the normal rhythm. Other symptoms of newborn cardiac defects include:

  • Difficulty feeding - lack of appetite
  • Failure to gain weight
  • Poor development
  • Cyanosis (skin turns blue due to lack of oxygen)
  • Passing out
  • Stroke

More complex, and expensive, tests are required to properly diagnose newborn cardiac defects, including:

  • EKG (electrocardiogram)
  • Chest x-ray
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Echocardiogram (ultrasound)
  • MRI of the heart

Contact a Zoloft® Congenital Heart Defect Lawyer

If you took Zoloft® during pregnancy and your child was born with heart problems, you should contact a Zoloft® birth defect attorney to find out your rights through a free consultation. You and your child might be eligible for compensation to cover medical costs and pain and suffering.

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