Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) and Paxil®

Antidepressant Medications

Perhaps “commonly prescribed” are the most alarming words associated with antidepressants, specifically Paxil® and other SSRI drugs. Mothers who ingested these drugs during pregnancy trusted their doctors and the drug manufacturers. The resulting birth defects bring lifelong health issues, developmental handicaps, monetary stresses, and other traumas into the lives of the child and the family members.

If your doctor failed to warn you about persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) or other birth defects linked to antidepressant use during pregnancy, you might be entitled to significant compensation. Please call Stern Law, PLLC at (800) 462-5772 for a free discussion of your legal options.

What exactly is Paxil®, and what does it treat?

Paxil® in generic form is called paroxetine. Brand names include Paxil®, Paxil CR®, and Pexeva®.

Paroxetine is well known as a commonly prescribed SSRI antidepressant approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). Paroxetine is also commonly prescribed for anxiety disorders including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (social phobia), panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Although these medications have helped many patients enjoy improved mental health, research within the last 10 years has found that babies born to mothers who take SSRIs like Paxil® at week 20 or later in their pregnancies are six times as likely to have PPHN than babies born to mothers who did not take antidepressants during pregnancy.

About PPHN

As a baby gestates, your placenta is the organ responsible for gas exchange between you and your baby. The placenta supplies your baby’s circulation, providing all the oxygen required. Your baby’s lungs do not “breathe” until birth. During normal deliveries, the ductus arteriosus (a fetal blood vessel) allows the blood to bypass the lungs in utero and closes after birth. Then a healthy baby’s lungs take over.

However, in babies who suffer from PPHN, the ductus arteriosus remains open and blood flow bypasses the lungs and returns to the heart with low oxygenation levels. The pulmonary arteries are constricted, creating a lack of oxygen that starves your newborn’s kidneys, liver, and brain, as well as other organs and tissues. Your newborn’s body becomes stressed due to lack of oxygen-rich blood, causing blood pressure levels in the pulmonary artery to rise to alarming levels.

PPHN is often diagnosed within first twelve hours of birth. Depending upon the severity of the PPHN, your child could experience:

  • Shock
  • Heart failure
  • Hemorrhaging
  • Kidney failure
  • Seizures
  • Organ damage
  • Death

Parents, if you are worried that the use of Paxil® or other SSRIs during pregnancy has caused or contributed to a birth defect such as Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) in your child, please contact Stern Law, PLLC immediately. We can help you protect your child’s legal rights and provide a confidential and complimentary evaluation. We specialize in advocacy on behalf of families – and especially children – who face potentially life-threatening health-related issues. Please call (800) 462-5772 today.

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