If your family has suffered the devastation caused by a birth injury, you may be feeling alone. But you are not. Our attorneys are here to help.
Of the 4 million infants born annually in the United States, about 3 to 5 percent are born with birth defects, according to the March of Dimes. Birth defects account for 20 percent of all infant deaths in the United States, more than from any other single cause.
For the majority of birth defects, the cause is unknown. However, a small percentage of the malformations can be attributed to the use of prescription drugs by an expectant mother.
The following are some drugs that can cause birth defects. Many are in a class of drugs called SSRIs – Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors – which are generally antidepressants and prescribed to treat depression and related symptoms:
- Accutane (isotretinoin) – is highly effective for treating severe cystic acne.
- Celexa (citalopram) – relieves depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Crestor (rosuvastatin) – blocks the production of cholesterol.
- Cytotec (misoprostol) – used to heal ulcers.
- Lexapro (escitalopram) – used to treat anxiety and major depressive disorder.
- Paxil (paroxetine) – used to treat depression and related disorders.
- Soriatane (acitretin) – for the treatment of severe psoriasis.
- Taxol (paclitaxel) – used to treat ovarian and breast cancer.
- Zoloft – for depression and post-traumatic stress disorders.
There are few drugs that do not carry some risk for pregnant women or women who could become pregnant while taking the drug. In addition, most drugs are not tested on women who are pregnant; they are tested on laboratory animals.
Critical Timing — the First Three Months of Pregnancy
What medical experts do know is that most birth defects occur in the first three months of pregnancy, when the baby’s organs are forming. It is in these crucial first few weeks – often before a woman even knows she’s pregnant – that an embryo is most susceptible to teratogens – substances that can cause defects. However, some birth defects do occur later in pregnancy as well.
Birth defects can affect almost any part of a baby’s body. Approximately 1 out of every 100 to 200 babies born each year is diagnosed with a heart defect. Brain and spine defects are other common birth defects. These birth defects affect an estimated 1 of 1,000 pregnancies. Brain and spine birth defects are less frequent than heart defects, but they often cause many fetal and infant deaths. Birth defects of the lip and roof of the mouth are also common. These types of birth defects are known as orofacial clefts and consist of cleft lip, cleft palate, and combined cleft lip and cleft palate.
Talking with Your Doctor About Drug Side Effects
A woman should always talk with her doctor about the risks and benefits of any drugs before taking them. Together, they can decide if the benefit of the drug is worth the possible risk. If a woman finds out that she is pregnant while she is taking a drug, she should talk to her doctor immediately. Some drugs are needed to keep the mother healthy. Not taking some drugs while she is pregnant may put both the health of the woman and her baby in danger.
Despite the benefits of seeing a doctor before conceiving, only 26 percent of women planning a pregnancy do so, according to the March of Dimes. Furthermore, health experts estimate more than 50 percent of pregnancies are unplanned. Because of this, it is often the medical standard of care that doctors administer pregnancy tests before prescribing these drugs to women of childbearing age.
We Stand Up for Families Affected by Birth Injuries
A personal injury law firm like Brown & Crouppen employs experienced attorneys in medical malpractice suits. Our attorneys can help you navigate the complexities of a medical malpractice claim by:
- determining if you have a claim
- helping you collect the evidence and medical records you need for your case
- determining the potential value of your claim
- identifying the potentially liable parties
- questioning expert witnesses
- helping you understand the relevant laws and your rights
- handling the complicated process of filing the claim and taking it to court, if needed
The Birth Injury Attorneys of Brown & Crouppen Are Here for You
If you or a loved one has taken a prescription medicine and given birth to a child with a birth defect, you may be entitled to compensation. For more than 40 years, the personal injury lawyers at Brown & Crouppen have been helping the victims of medical malpractice and dangerous drugs get the justice they deserve.
It all Starts with A Free Case Evaluation from the Personal Injury Team at Brown & Crouppen
Getting started is easy. You can call us at 800-536-4357 for a free consultation, or tell us about your case with our Free Case Review form. And remember, there’s no upfront cost to you — if you don’t get paid, we don’t get paid.