Effexor belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s). These drugs are prescribed to patients suffering from the side effects of serotonin imbalances in the brain. An upset in serotonin levels can result in a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder or major depression disorder and patients who respond well to drugs like Effexor are able to quickly suppress and manage their symptoms.
Effexor and SSRI’s in general are being linked to the development of dangerous and life-threatening birth defects in children exposed to the drug while in the womb. Since many pregnant women experience major depression at some point during their pregnancies, it is important that these women treat their symptoms and take care of their bodies. However, drugs like Effexor are being targeted by studies both in the U.S. and abroad that suggest they are not safe for use by pregnant women.
A number of studies have revealed that Effexor may be linked to the development of autism in children exposed in the womb. This includes conditions like Heller’s Syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified, Asperger’s Syndrome and other autism spectrum disorders (ASD’s). Children may begin showing symptoms of autism as early as 12 months of age or they may not manifest difficulty until reaching age four or five.
Autism causes marked delays in social, emotional and cognitive development. Asperger’s Syndrome is considered a mild form of autism and may cause minor delays in a child’s social development. Other forms of autism such as PDD-NOS can cause a rapid decline of skills almost overnight leaving parents devastated and feeling hopeless.
Effexor is linked to very serious birth defects affecting the heart, lungs and abdominal cavity. Conditions like congential heart defects, PPHN, cranial birth defects, infant omphaloceles, gastroschisis and anal atresias are prevalent in children exposed to toxic chemicals before birth. All of these defects require immediate attention and some may even require procedures performed in utero to help the baby in growth and development despite his or her defect.
Effexor may also be responsible for conditions like cleft lip, cleft palate and limb defects affecting both the upper and lower extremities. Children with these conditions often need corrective surgery both to use their body parts and to increase self-esteem.
Parents of children with birth defects or autism must often expend thousands of dollars for their child’s treatments, surgeries and recoveries. Not only are these procedures emotionally tolling but they make a significant impact on a family’s financial security. For those parents struggling financially, it may be helpful to know that options exist to help recover some of the costs of raising a child with a birth defect.
Parents across the nation are beginning to recognize the negative impact of SSRI drugs like Effexor and are seeking compensation for damages. Damages can include quantifiable medical expenses known as specific damages or they can include unquantifiable damages such as pain and suffering. If you took Effexor while pregnant and your child suffered a birth defect, you are encouraged to contact our offices as soon as possible. We are a nationwide law firm dedicated to helping families struggle through the negative impacts of dangerous drugs like Effexor and other SSRI anti-depressants.