Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride) is a discriminating serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. There was a warning issued by the Food and Drug Administration that the use of this drug during pregnancy can raise the risk of birth defects.
Many studies have also confirmed that there’s a link between this antidepressant and birth defects, irrespective of whether the drug is consumed during the early or final phases of pregnancy.
What are the Probable Birth Defects?
The New England Journal of Medicine conducted studies and found that Zoloft could increase the risk of severe heart defects if used during pregnancy.
Pregnant women who consume this antidepressant are 6 time more prone to deliver a child with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) and twofold as probable to give birth to a child with ventricular outflow tract defects or septal defects. The mother who uses this drug is also more likely to be prone to side effects.
Some of the other Zoloft birth defects due to the intake of this drug are craniosynostosis, coarctation of the aorta, omphalocele, anencephaly, transposition of the great arteries, Tetralogy of Fallot, hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), cardiomyopathy, tricuspid stenosis, bicuspid aortic valve, and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).
The potential risks associated in such cases are innumerable, including tremors, difficulty in breathing, heart defects, underdevelopment of the cranial area, pulmonary hypertension, and physical abnormalities in the chin and mouth area.
Inspite of several studies relating Zoloft and birth defects, the FDA has neither taken any steps nor announced any plans to recall Zoloft or to strengthen the warning labels on the antidepressant. However, patients who used Zoloft during pregnancy and delivered a child with heart defects or any other side effects are entitled to file a lawsuit and receive compensation.
FDA has advised pregnant women to consult their doctors before stopping the antidepressant usage due to the risks associated with stopping this treatment for depression. Zoloft and breastfeeding don’t go hand-in-hand, and lactating mothers shouldn’t really be on Zoloft.
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