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When Prescription Drugs Are Dangerous: Zoloft and Yaz/Yasmin

Written by Ankin Law Office

Prescription drugs are developed to help patients manage medical conditions and to promote well-being. Before a pharmaceutical drug can be marketed and sold to the public, it must be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Unfortunately, in some situations, after a pharmaceutical drug has made its way into the marketplace, it is linked to serious medical complications and dangerous side effects.

For instance, the FDA recently completed a review of observational (epidemiologic) studies regarding the risk of blood clots in women taking drospirenone-containing birth control pills, such as Yaz and Yasmin, and determined that they may be associated with a higher risk for blood clots than other progestin-containing pills.

Drospirenone is a synthetic version of the female hormone, progesterone, also referred to as a progestin. Not only is drosperenone prescribed as a contraceptive, it is also used to treat moderate acne, as well as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) – a more severe form of PMS that can cause extreme emotional and physical symptoms about two weeks before a woman begins her period.

Based on its findings, an FDA panel voted to issue a stronger warning about the danger of blood clots for patients taking drospirenone-containing birth control pills. The increased risk for blood clots can put patients at risk of other serious conditions, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), heart attack, and stroke.

Another dangerous drug is Zoloft. Despite its popularity as an antidepressant used to treat major depression in adult patients, as well as obsessive-compulsive, panic, and social anxiety disorders in both children and adults, Zoloft has been linked to birth defects in several studies. Specifically, Zoloft has been linked with a circulatory condition known as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN).

The FDA cites a study in the New England Journal of Medicine which indicates that women who take SSRIs like Zoloft after the 20th week of pregnancy are six times more likely to give birth to a child with PPHN than mothers who did not take antidepressants. PPHN is caused by the failure of fetal blood vessels to close after delivery.

Zoloft’s manufacturer, Pfizer, has been named in hundreds of lawsuits as a result. As we reported in July 2012, plaintiffs claim that Pfizer failed to warn the public that Zoloft and other brands of sertraline could cause severe, life-threatening birth defects if the drug is taken during pregnancy. Several studies have linked Zoloft to other birth defects in addition to PPHN, such as gastrointestinal defects, cleft palate, and Down’s syndrome.

If you or a loved one has suffered serious side effects from dangerous pharmaceutical drugs such as Zoloft or Yaz/Yasmin, contact the skilled Chicago unsafe pharmaceutical drug lawyers at Ankin Law Offices to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible product liability lawsuit.

Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC ( handles workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and [email protected].

Categories: Product Liability