When a new generation of antidepressants arrived in the late 1980s, they offered a new and more refined way to treat various psychiatric conditions like depression, anxiety attacks, and personality disorders. Prozac was first introduced in 1988, and Paxil arrived in 1992. Later, Zoloft, Lexapro and Celexa were also released into the market. For the past decade, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, have become the most prescribed class of drugs in the United States.
By reducing the rate at which the brain can re-absorb the chemical serotonin, these SSRIs can increase the amount of serotonin available to help the flow of messages within the mind. SSRIs can potentially enhance mood as a result.
Concerns Over Excessive Risks
However, over time, concern has grown over a possible link between SSRIs and childhood suicide risk. This led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to issue a safety alert in 2004 regarding the use of these medications in children. Two years later, an expanded warning included young adults up to age 24 as well.
Another concern arose regarding a possible link in pregnant women between these drugs and a condition known as Serotonin Syndrome. This condition is marked by a build-up of excessive levels of this hormone, a build-up that can potentially overwhelm normal brain function. This syndrome commonly occurs when an overdose occurs, but it can also result from taking multiple prescriptions that all elevate serotonin. Serotonin Syndrome has been linked to sudden death in a number of cases.
Drugs commonly known as SSRIs have also been potentially linked to a variety of birth defects, including but not limited to:
- Spina bifida
- Club foot
- Hypo-plastic left heart syndrome
- Ventricular and atrial septal defects
- Coarctation of the aorta
There have also been other links found between SSRIs and babies with persistent pulmonary hypertension.
If it is believed that you or a loved one may have suffered adverse effects from taking prescribed antidepressants, please reach out to us regarding any questions you may have. In some cases, compensation may be sought for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other possible losses. We offer free consultation. For further information, please contact us.