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Zoloft Birth Defect Lawyers

Zoloft linked to dangerous heart and other birth defects.

Zoloft, a widely-used antidepressant and anxiety medication, was approved for sale in the United States by the Food And Drug Administration (FDA) in 1991. A number of studies have recently emerged linking Zoloft with an increased risk of birth defects in mothers who took the drug during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Specific defects associated with Zoloft include severe congenital heart defects (Hypoplastic left and right heart, Tetralogy of Fallot, Transposition of the Arteries, Coarctation of Aorta, and ventricular and atrial septal defects), right and left ventricular outflow tract obstructions, abdominal defects (omphalocele), and cranial defects (craniosynostosis).

The attorneys at Zehl & Associates have experience representing families from across the country against some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

For example, our Personal Injury Attorneys recently negotiated a highly favorable settlement with GlaxoSmithKline on behalf of over 100 mothers who gave birth to children with severe heart and other birth defects as a result of their use of the drug Paxil during pregnancy.

Why is Zoloft Dangerous?

Since its introduction to the U.S. market nearly 20 years ago, Zoloft, known generically as sertraline, has been regularly prescribed to pregnant women and women of child bearing age for anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that pregnant women who take Zoloft, or other Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) antidepressants like Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil and Prozac, while pregnant are at a substantially increased risk of giving birth to a child with a serious heart or other defect.

For example, in a June 28, 2007 study printed in The New England Journal of Medicine, doctors observed a significant association between sertraline (Zoloft) and the development of omphalocele and septal heart defects. Researchers noted as much as a 100% increase in the occurrence of septal defects, right ventricular outflow tract obstructions (e.g. Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome, Pulmonary Atresia, Pulmonary Valve Stenosis, Tetralogy of Fallot etc.) and left ventricular outflow tract obstructions (e.g. Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, Bicuspid Aortic Valve, Mitral Stenosis, Coarctation of the Aorta, Aortic Valve Stenosis, etc.) in mothers who took the drug during pregnancy.

Birth Defects Associated with Zoloft

  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN);
  • Congenital Heart Defects;
  • Atrial Septal Defects (ASD);
  • Ventricular Septal Defects (VSD);
  • Pulmonary Atresia;
  • Pulmonary Valve Stenosis;
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis;
  • Biscuspid Aortic Valve;
  • Mitral Stenosis;
  • Coarctation of the Aorta;
  • Abdominal Defects (Omphalocele);
  • Cranial Defects (Craniosynostosis);
  • Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA);
  • Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF);
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome; and
  • Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome

Atrial Septal Defects (ASD)

An atrial septal defect is a type of congenital heart defect which allows blood to flow between the right and left atria by way of the inter-atrial septum. Essentially, ASD causes the wall separating the upper chambers of the heart to have a hole in it, allowing blood to flow where it should not.

Ventricular Septal Defects (VSD)

A ventricular septal defect is a type of congenital heart defect in which the left and right ventricles have a hole between them, causing oxygen-laden blood from the left side of the heart to leak into the right side and be recirculated back into the lungs, even though it is already oxygenated. This defect ultimately causes the heart to work much harder than it actually needs to and can even result in heart enlargement.

Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)

Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn refers to the failure of the circulatory transition that happens normally after a child is born. This transition enables the newborn child to live on its own without assistance from the mother’s circulatory system. PPHN causes a fetal blood vessel, the ductus arteriosus, to remain open instead of closing as it normally does shortly after birth. As a result, hypertension in the newborn’s lungs forces blood to move through the still-open ductus arteriosus and into other parts of the body before it has a chance to properly oxygenate. Ultimately, the child will be unable to breathe properly and can quickly develop hypoxemia and even acidosis. Recent studies have shown that mothers who took Zoloft during their pregnancy run a significantly higher risk of giving birth to a baby with PPHN than mothers who did not take the drug.


Craniosynostosis is a congenital birth defect resulting in the premature closing of sutures on a newborn child’s skull. Sutures are places where the skull knits itself together as the child grows and develops. Premature closure of a suture can result in an abnormally-shaped skull. Mothers who took Zoloft during pregnancy have an increased risk of giving birth to babies with craniosynostosis.


Omphalocele is a congenital birth defect resulting in the child being born with its intestines or other abdominal organs protruding from the belly button. Mothers who took Zoloft during pregnancy have an increased risk of giving birth to babies with omphalocele.

Contact Our Attorneys at 1-888-603-3636 for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one took Zoloft and gave birth to a child with a heart or other defect, contact theattorneys at Zehl & Associates for a free consultation at 1-888-603-3636.