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Certain Medications May Be Dangerous During Pregnancy

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Taking some medications during pregnancy can hurt the mother or her child

The love that you feel for your child and the choices that you have to make about his or her medical care and education can be overwhelming when your child is born with a birth defect. How are you going to avoid surgeries and medical interventions? How is your child going to get the long-term care that he or she needs? How is your family going to afford it all?

The first step in answering all of your questions about your child’s future is to find out what caused your baby’s birth defect. For example, if the birth defect was caused by a pharmaceutical drug that you took during pregnancy, then you may have a claim against the drug manufacturer.

An experienced pharmaceutical class action lawyer can help you investigate if a drug could have caused your child’s birth defect and help you pursue a potential claim against the pharmaceutical company. If other children have been born with similar birth defects caused by the same drug, then your families may be able to join together in a class action lawsuit to protect your children’s future, but you have to take action quickly—before the statute of limitations expires.

Four Kinds of Drugs That May Cause Problems for Unborn Children

Some of the medications that studies have linked to birth defects and other complications include:

  • Anti-epileptic drugs. People with seizure disorders have difficult treatment decisions to make during pregnancy. Some anti-epileptic drugs have been linked to conditions such as spina bifida, cleft palate, autism, and developmental delays.
     
  • Decongestants. A study found rare, but serious, side effects could occur when an expectant mother uses a decongestant containing phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine during the first trimester of pregnancy.
     
  • Pain medications. In 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that there was limited information available about the safety of pain medication during pregnancy. However, the National Association of Attorneys General has requested a black box warning for opioid pain killers during pregnancy and some studies have found significant complications for children born to women who used painkillers during pregnancy.
     
  • SSRI antidepressants. Antidepressants are among the most commonly prescribed medications for women of childbearing age, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are common forms of antidepressants. SSRIs taken during pregnancy have been linked to a variety of problems including miscarriage, premature birth, low birth rate, autism, heart problems, and other complications. Additionally, the mother may be at risk of preeclampsia or pregnancy-induced hypertension.

You need medical treatment for pain and conditions such as epilepsy and depression just as much during pregnancy as you did prior to becoming pregnant. However, treatment can be more complicated during pregnancy and it is important to have an honest and complete conversation with your doctor before starting or ending any type of treatment. Additionally, it is important to know how to protect yourself or your child if one of you is hurt by a medication taken during pregnancy.

When Is a Pharmaceutical Company Legally Responsible for Medication Side Effects During Pregnancy?

A pharmaceutical company may be liable for the side effects of its medication if:

  • The company knew or should have known of the potential problems.
  • The company failed to warn the public of the known dangers.

Generally, a company may be liable for failing to warn you about the risks to your unborn child if it knew of the risk and failed to disclosed it to the FDA, doctors, and the public or if it failed to do appropriate testing to determine the safety of the drug. Appropriate testing in the case of drug safety during pregnancy is limited, since there are very specific rules about the types of testing that can be done on pregnant women. However, post-market research may be available.

If you or your child has been hurt, then you deserve to know why. Let an experienced pharmaceutical injury lawyer help you get the answers. Call us today at 1-800-800-5678 for more information and to schedule a free consultation.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham

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