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What Is Paxil?



Paxil, also known as Paroxetine, is antidepressant medication which belongs to the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) group of drugs. It is used for the treatment of imbalances of chemicals in the brain. It is prescribed for the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and panic attacks, compulsive disorders and depression. It can also be used in the treatment of bipolar disorder, tingling in the extremities caused by diabetes, chronic headaches and premenstrual dysphoric disorders that occur prior to a woman’s menstrual cycle. Patients taking Paxil are normally started on a 20mg per day dosage and the maximum dosage is 60mg per day.



Paxil Birth Defects



There have been a number of studies conducted that have examined Paxil side effects. The side effects of Paxil that have particularly alarmed researchers are those concerning Paxil and pregnancy. It has been found that women who take Paxil during pregnancy are putting themselves at a higher risk of having a baby with birth defects than those women who did not take the drug when they were pregnant. These side effects of Paxil can threaten the life of the newborn and include heart failure in some cases. This has resulted in a number of families filing a Paxil lawsuit as they were not warned properly about the dangers of taking the drug when they were pregnant.



Taking Paxil While Pregnant



paxil lawsuitThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) examined the output of 2 research studies which determined that mothers who were taking Paxil in the first pregnancy trimester were 1.5 to 2 times more likely to have a baby that had a heart defect than those mothers that did not take the drug or were taking another antidepressant. This lead to the FDA posting a warning to women who were pregnant and doctors in 2005 of the increased risk of heart defects developing in their babies if they took Paxil while pregnant. The drug was placed in the second highest category for birth defect risks and they advised women that the drug should not be taken during pregnancy. It was placed in Pregnancy category D which means that studies of the drug have shown a link to possible birth defects.


There had been much concern in the medical community about the links to birth defects and the taking of SSRI antidepressant drugs such as Paxil. The FDA warning fully supported this and it was further complicated by the fact that a large number of women (up to 20%) are prescribed antidepressant medication such as Paxil because they were suffering from depression when they were pregnant.



Link Between Paxil And Birth Defects



A Swedish study concluded that women taking Paxil during pregnancy were twice as likely to have a child with birth defects, than women who were taking alternative antidepressant medications or not taking any drugs at all. The study also revealed that the majority of the birth defects were malformations and holes in the chambers of the baby’s heart that in some cases would heal by themselves but in others a surgical procedure would be required.


Paxil was a very popular drug and had been taken by tens of millions worldwide since it was approved in 1993. The drug was taken by a number of women between eighteen and forty five and this demographic accounted for around twenty five percent of all users.








Paxil Lawsuits



A number of Paxil lawsuits were being filed by women (or their family members) who had taken Paxil in the first three months of their pregnancy (first trimester) prior to December 2005. If their babies were being born with any of the following conditions they were eligible to file a Paxil class action lawsuit:



  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Craniosynostosis (where the head is misshaped)
  • Heart Malformations (such as holes in the atrial or ventral septum)
  • Hydrocephalus (water on the brain)
  • Omphalocele (birth defect of the abdomen)



If you took Paxil in your first trimester and your baby was born with heart murmurs then you are strongly advised to contact a Paxil lawyer here to discuss whether you have a legal case.



Paxil Litigation



A family was awarded $2.5 million in October 2009 when they filed a Paxil lawsuit, alleging that Paxil was the cause of birth defects in their young boy, against the company GlaxoSmithKline. It was claimed that the young boy had suffered birth defects from the mother taking Paxil which included 2 holes in the heart that meant that he had to undergo surgery. It was also claimed that the boy will need to undergo further surgical procedures as he gets older. As of July 2010, GlaxoSmithKline has reportedly settled up to 800 Paxil lawsuits costing around $1 billion.



Paxil Lawyers Can Help You



If you or a member of your family was taking Paxil when pregnant and have had a child that has suffered from heart defects you need to contact a qualified Paxil attorney.



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