It is estimated that roughly 10 percent of pregnant women suffer from some form of depression during their pregnancies. Half of these women experience “major depression” that interferes with daily life and may even include suicidal thoughts, according to researchers the University of Washington School of Medicine.
Experts say about 13 percent of women take an antidepressant at some point during their pregnancy, but recent studies suggest that these drugs pose a number of risks to the developing fetus. Even though women took drugs like Wellbutrin as prescribed, their infants may have suffered needlessly due to inadequate drug warnings.
The Sanders Firm product liability attorneys serve clients throughout the nation who’ve been injured by Wellbutrin. If you or someone you love has been harmed by antidepressant use during pregnancy, we invite you to call 1-800-FAIR-PLAY any time day or night to speak with one of our qualified lawyers. There is no charge for our services unless we take on your Wellbutrin lawsuit and you win.
The FDA approved GlaxoSmithKline’s Wellbutrin (bupropion) in 1985 to treat symptoms of depression. It is also commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactive disorder, anxiety, nicotine cravings, sexual dysfunction and obesity.
The FDA has classified Wellbutrin as a Class C drug, which means that “Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women, despite potential risks.”
There are several different classes of antidepressants that work in different ways, including: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), Mono-Amine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs), Tricyclics, and Atypical antidepressants. Bupropion is considered an atypical antidepressant, which works by blocking the reabsorption of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine.
The Stanford School of Medicine warns that “Wellbutrin’s effects during pregnancy are not well understood.” They go on to say that the drug is not recommended for pregnant women, as the drug does pass into breast milk and “could cause a serious reaction in the infant.”
Wellbutrin and birth defects
The FDA issued a public health advisory in 2006, warning healthcare professionals and patients that two new studies suggested an increase in heart birth defects associated with the use of antidepressants during pregnancy. That same year, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported a six-fold increased risk of Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) among infants whose mothers took antidepressants after the 20th week of pregnancy. Infants with PPHN suffer from a circulatory system defect that deprives the body of oxygen.
In 1997, GlaxoSmithKline had established a Bupropion Pregnancy Registry to evaluate the effects of the drug on pregnant women. By 2008, the manufacturers of Wellbutrin knew that 3.6% of the 675 infants exposed to their drug developed serious birth defects. Despite these findings, they did nothing.
A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that women taking Wellbutrin during the first trimester had double the risk of giving birth to a child with a heart defect known as a “left outflow tract defect.” The congenital heart defect causes restricted blood flow to the infant’s main artery and must be surgically corrected.
Two in every 1,000 women taking Wellbutrin during their first trimesters gave birth to children with this birth defect. Critics of the study argue that the 12,722 infants studied was a relatively small control size and that there are no studies on the fetal risks of maternal depression.
Other possible birth defects linked to Wellbutrin include:
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)
- Neural Tube Defects
- Limb Defects
- Anal Atresia
- Cleft Lip
- Cleft Palate
Who can file a Wellbutrin lawsuit?
So far, there haven’t been any notable court cases involving Wellbutrin taken during pregnancy and the various claims have not been consolidated into multidistrict litigation yet.
Families who have suffered from Wellbutrin side effects may be entitled to compensation for:
- Past, present and future medical bills
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Lost wages due to caring for a sick child
- Care provider expenses
- Wrongful death benefits (when applicable)
No one likes to pursue legal recourse, but when bills are high and you have suffered mental anguish over something so precious, it’s sometimes the only thing you can do.
We understand your sorrow and want to help. If you suspect Wellbutrin had something to do with your child’s birth defect, do not hesitate to contact The Sanders Firm. Our Wellbutrin lawyers can comb through your records to build a strong case. Be aware that each state has a statute of limitations for filing a Wellbutrin lawsuit, but there are always exceptions. An experienced attorney can answer any questions you may have.
The Sanders Firm attorneys can help
Founded in 1967 by Stanley Sanders, The Sanders Firm is a reputable NY law firm adept at handling complex national dangerous drug lawsuits. Our attorneys specialize in the investigation of product liability claims and recovering the maximum awards for victims of corporate wrongdoing.
We’ve been following Wellbutrin litigation for several years and have amassed a wealth of information regarding the manufacturer’s potential liability. Our team includes knowledgeable industry analysts and medical experts who can provide powerful testimony on your behalf. We can help you build a case that is strong enough to win, and — best of all – you don’t pay us anything unless you recover compensation. Call 1-800-FAIR-PLAY to arrange your complimentary legal evaluation.