Effexor and Pregnancy
Effexor (venlafaxine) is a medication used to treat depression and anxiety in adults. It belongs to a group of antidepressants known as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). During pregnancy, Effexor is known to influence fetal development because around 30% of antidepressant-exposed babies have withdrawal symptoms shortly after birth (poor feeding, irritability, high-pitched crying for hours, poor sleeping, convulsions, etc.).
Study Links Effexor and Birth Defects
Two studies have shown that pregnant women who take Effexor are more likely to have a miscarriage or premature birth. In January 2013, Birth Defects Research published a study that found statistically significant associations between Effexor and many types of birth defects.
Researchers analyzed data from nearly 30,000 participants in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, a population-based case-control study in the United States. The analysis included babies born with birth defects between 1997 and 2007. Effexor was associated with the following birth defects:
- Anencephaly: This birth defect occurs when the neural tube fails to close, resulting in little or no development of the baby’s brain and much of its skull.
- Atrial Septal Defect (ASD): This heart defect occurs when the wall that normally separates the upper-left and upper-right chambers of the heart does not fully form, resulting in a hole that allows oxygen-rich blood to mix with oxygen-poor blood.
- Coarctation of the Aorta: This heart defect occurs when there is a narrowing in the aorta (blood vessel that carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the body), which makes it hard for the heart to supply the body with enough blood.
- Cleft Palate: This oral-facial defect occurs when there is a gap in the roof of the mouth (hard palate, soft palate, or both) that may or may not affect the nasal cavity, gums, and upper lip (cleft lip).
- Gastroschisis: This abdominal defect occurs when the intestines and/or organs protrude outside the body through a hernia near the umbilical cord.
Is there an Effexor Class Action Lawsuit?
There is a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) for Effexor lawsuits involving birth defects. As of October 2013, there were 46 cases centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The Effexor MDL is overseen by Judge Cynthia M. Rufe, the same judge who presides over more than 300 Zoloft lawsuits. The litigation was established in August 2013 for lawsuits alleging that Effexor causes birth defects when mothers take it during pregnancy.
Effexor Birth Defects
- Heart defects
- Atrial Septal Defect
- Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)
- Tetralogy of Fallot
- Transposition of the Great Arteries
- Truncus Arteriosus
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)
- Neural tube defects
- Spina bifida
- Pulmonary Atresia
- Diaphragmatic Hernia
- Neonatal withdrawal syndrome
- And more