The Drug Paxil and Birth Defects

GlaxoSmithKline manufactures the antidepressant drug called Paxil (paroxetine), and it is used for patients suffering from conditions such as depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The drug is classified as a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI). As reported with some other SSRI drugs, the use of this drug by a woman during pregnancy can lead to congenital birth defects in newborns. Mothers should take extreme care if prescribed this medicine. If a newborn experiences any of a number of defects listed below, GlaxoSmithKline can be held reliable under state law. The most common are:

Atrial septal defects
This is a condition known as hole in the heart which allows oxygen-rich blood to leak into the blood chambers in the heart. ASD is a defect in the septum, which separates the heart's left and right sides.

Congenital heart defects
This is a general term for any condition that results from the heart or blood vessels near the heart not developing normally before birth.

Ventricular septal defects
This is one of the most common congenital heart defects, described as a hole in the wall that separates the right and left ventricles of the heart—similar to atrial.

Symptoms can include sweating, goosebumps, vomiting, anxiety, insomnia, and muscle pain as a result of discontinued exposure to a drug. Withdrawal may be common among infants, however it’s exaggerated when exposure to an SSRI, such as Paxil, is discontinued.

Other conditions may include:

  • Atrial enlargement
  • Atrial septal defects (holes in heart)
  • Cleft lip
  • Club foot
  • Coarctation of the aorta
  • Craniosynostosis
  • Ebstein’s anomaly
  • Epispadias
  • Gastrointestinal malformations (GI tract)
  • Gastroschisis
  • Hypoplastic right/left heart
  • Hypospadias
  • Neural tube defect
  • Omphalocele (organs outside abdomen)
  • Peripheral arterial disease (PAD)
  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN)
  • Pierre Robin sequence
  • Pulmonary stenosis
  • Tetrology of fallot
  • Transposition of great arteries (TGA)
  • Truncus arteriosus
  • Undescended testes

Mothers who were breastfeeding during pregnancy are at an increased risk of passing on Paxil to the baby. As a result, there’s more of a likelihood the baby will develop any of the aforementioned congenital birth defects.

It’s important for mothers and their families to know about their rights in the state of Massachusetts in the event she gave birth to a newborn with any of the aforementioned defects. GlaxoSmithKline may be responsible for covering any damages, pain and suffering and medical costs as a result of the mother taking Paxil during pregnancy. If you think your family is affected, contact the Law Office of Frank Fernandez in Boston. As experts in the field of birth defects related to the drug Paxil, we can help you determine if you’re eligible for compensation. Use our online form or call 617-393-0250.