Zoloft, a medication prescribed to treat patients with depression and certain anxiety disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, has been linked to the development of birth defects when taken by pregnant women. Zoloft is manufactured by Pfizer, Inc.
Some major birth defects linked to the use of Zoloft during pregnancy include:
– Atrial septal defect [ASD]
– Club feet
– Congenital heart defects
– Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn [PPHN]
– Persistent fetal circulation
– Spina bifida
– Tetralogy of fallot [TOF] with pulmonary atresia
– Transposition of the great arteries
– Ventricular septal defect [VSD]
Zoloft may be particularly dangerous when taken by pregnant women during their third trimester of pregnancy. Reports have surfaced noting a relationship between women who have taken Zoloft during their third trimester and the development of serious health conditions in fetuses that require hospitalization and treatment once the baby is born. The risk of a premature birth also increases if Zoloft is taken during the third trimester.
Pfizer began marketing the Zoloft in 1992. Today, Zoloft is among Pfizer’s top selling drugs. It is prescribed to both adult and pediatric patients and marketed as a versatile drug that can treat six mood and anxiety disorders, psychiatric and non-psychiatric disorders.
Zoloft is currently classified as a Category C drug by the FDA, meaning that the medication may cause harm to a fetus, but that the potential benefits of the drug may warrant use of the medication by pregnant women. Medications that receive a Category C classification have not been tested on humans, but have demonstrated signs of harm in animal studies. Women are strongly advised to speak with a doctor about the risks of Zoloft before taking the medication when pregnant.