The Prozac injury lawyers at the Drug Law Center represent clients who have suffered injuries after taking the antidepressant medication. Some of these injuries include birth defects, attempted suicide, and experiencing serotonin syndrome.
Prozac (fluoxetine) is a prescription SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) medication used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and manic depression-associated bipolar disorder.
The History of Prozac
The chemical compound that would later be developed into Prozac was first synthesized in 1971. By 1998, Eli Lilly & Company launched Prozac (fluoxetine) in the medical marketplace. Some 20 years later, Prozac remains one of the most widely prescribed and used antidepressant medications worldwide. More than 54 million patients are prescribed Prozac every year to treat a variety of dairy diseases including depression, panic disorder, compulsive disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMT) eating disorders and others.
Prozac Side Effects
Nearly all prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs have mild to severe side effects. Prozac is no exception. The common side effects of taking Prozac involve:
- Dyspepsia (indigestion)
- Asthenia (lack of energy)
- Diminished libido (lowered sex drive)
- Decreased appetite
- Xerostomia (dry mouth)
However, there are serious major side effects from taking Prozac that should be discussed immediately with the patient’s doctor. These major side effects include:
- skin rash, itching, or hives
- Muscle and joint pain
- Fever or chills
- Difficulty in breathing
- Shaking or shivering
- Racing heartbeat
- Overactive reflexes
- Behavioral or mood changes
- Increased thirst
- Irregular or fast heartbeat
- Difficulty concentrating
- Cool pale skin
- Seizures (convulsions)
- Excessive hunger
Individuals taking certain medications along with Prozac can have an allergic reaction to Prozac or suffer from specific medical conditions should avoid taking the antidepressant medication. The most common contraindications for Prozac involve:
- Suicidal ideation
- High levels of potassium, sodium or magnesium in the bloodstream
- Bleeding from the esophagus, stomach or duo denim
- Hardening of the liver
- Sudden onset heart failure
- A history of prolonged QT interval
- Very rapid heartbeat
- Recent heart attack
- Narrow iridocorneal angle
- Serotonin syndrome – adverse drug interaction
The use of Prozac is known to cause serious side effects including suicidal ideation (thinking of suicide) and suicide action along with birth defects and serotonin syndrome. Even so, the FDA nor Eli Lilly and Company have yet to recall the product from the medical marketplace.
The Food and Drug Administration mandates that every clinical trial for Prozac, fluoxetine, or any antidepressant last only six weeks on average. The primary test should result in proving the drug’s short-term safety and efficacy. The agency claims that checking for short-term safety can only be performed because they are not equipped to systematically monitor long-term side effects of the drug.
In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration issued warnings to users of Prozac of the potential risk of developing serotonin syndrome. This problematic condition occurs when high levels of serotonin have flooded the brain. Because of that, doctors are warned to ensure that the patient was receiving an adequate dosage of Prozac. This is because if the body produces too little serotonin, then the normal depression syndromes failed to be relieved by the antidepressant medication. Alternatively, if too much serotonin enters the bloodstream, it can cause life-threatening serotonin syndrome to occur.
The most common symptoms that occur when the patient is experiencing serotonin syndrome include:
- Dilated pupils
- High blood pressure
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
The drug manufacturer, doctors, and researchers agree that patients should never stop taking antidepressants suddenly. This is because doing so can cause significantly consequential withdrawal effects.
Prozac and Birth Defects
In 2006, the FDA warned childbearing women and women hoping to bear children in the future that all SSRIs antidepressant medications, including Prozac, could cause a serious medical condition in their newborn child. The condition, PPHN (persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn) usually occurs at birth before the baby has adapted to breathing outside its mother’s womb. This condition can cause long-term or fatal consequences if the newborn does not receive immediate treatment.
Researchers found a correlation between mothers taking Prozac while pregnant and the development of birth defects in the newborn. Even before study results had been revealed in 2015, many researchers had already published written reports of notable birth defects that pregnant women have experienced when taking any anti-depressant. After numerous studies and released reports, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed the link between the two.
The report concluded that there was a link between Prozac (fluoxetine) and to birth defects – craniosynostosis, a defect of the skull and heart defects of the right ventricle that are known to instruct the flow of blood. There are additional skull and heart defects along with abdominal wall defects that mothers have reported when giving birth to children after taking Prozac and other antidepressants. The CDC, scientists, doctors and others in the medical industry are warning women and their prescribing physician to weigh all the benefits of taking antidepressant medications and the risks associated with defects and adverse reactions that occur during pregnancy.
Prozac and Bipolar Disorder
Even though one single best drug to treat bipolar depression has yet to be invented, many doctors prescribe Prozac for individuals suffering from the devastating condition. However, doctors often prescribe medication to be used concomitantly with anti-manic agents and mood stabilizer medications. This is because Prozac and other antidepressant drugs have the ability to produce a manic state when used alone.
Increased Risk of Suicide
The Food and Drug Administration requires pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide detailed information about all of the side effects and adverse reactions on the medication’s black box warning label. Typically, the warning informs users and potential users of the increased potential risk of suicidal ideation and suicidal behavior in young adults, adolescents, and children who take Prozac (fluoxetine). The drive to constantly think of suicide or complete the action is often at its strongest sensation during the first few months of being treated for depression with Prozac. Other heightened stages occur anytime there is a dosage change.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, it is essential to contact your doctor, emergency room, or hospital immediately. These symptoms include:
- An attempt to commit suicide
- A sudden or new change in feelings, behavior, or mood
- Acting violently or aggressively toward others
- A worsening or newly developed depression
- New or worsening levels of anxiety
Prozac Black Box Warnings
The drug maker of Prozac as posted black box warnings involving suicidal thoughts and behaviors by taking the antidepressant. Some of these include:
Any antidepressant can increase the potential risk of suicidal ideation and behavior, especially in young adults, adolescents, and children. No published studies have indicated there is an increase in the potential risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors when taking an antidepressant in patients who are over to 25 years and older. Additionally, there is a reduction in the potential risk of experiencing suicidal ideation or action in patients 65 and older who are taking the antidepressant.
However, individuals of all ages just beginning to take the antidepressant should be closely monitored. This will ensure a quick detection of any worsening or emergence of suicidal ideation and action. Doctors are to advise caregivers and families to closely observe the individual taking the antidepressant and communicate with their health care provider any worrisome change in their condition.
Even though some form of fluoxetine has been available in the medical marketplace for three decades, the FDA, Eli Lilly, and other drugmakers have yet to warn patients, doctors, and the public of some of the most harmful side effects from taking the drug. Since first launched for public use, Prozac and other antidepressant medication have caused tens of thousands of people to suffer from suicidal thoughts, serotonin syndrome, and birth defects.
Because of that, many individuals have filed Prozac lawsuits in an attempt to hold Eli Lilly & Company financially and morally responsible. Individuals who have suffered harm have sued because they have experienced behavioral changes brought on by serotonin syndrome, watched their loved one suffer from Prozac-related birth defects, or lost a family member to suicide because they took the antidepressant.
Many individuals have suffered serious injury caused by Prozac have filed product liability lawsuits against the drug maker to recover financial compensation for their injuries and the injury, birth defect or harm caused to their children. Lawyers working on behalf of their clients are seeking recompense for ongoing hospital bills, medical expenses, past procedures and surgeries, lost wages, treatment costs, time away from work, pain, suffering, mental anguish and the ongoing expense of caring for children suffering from birth defects.
- Studies Revealed Prozac May Be Causing Birth Defects
February 2014 – Research is a found a direct correlation between taking Prozac, and other antidepressant SSRI medications, and the development of birth defects in newborns. Pregnant women taking antidepressants, including Prozac, are often unaware of the risky potential side effects that could harm their life and those of their newborn.
Additionally, many doctors are unaware that Prozac is continually marketed toward pregnant women, without ever giving warning that there is a potential link to developing birth defects. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has assigned Prozac, and all other SSRI drugs a “C” grade for safety and childbearing women, and women wanting to become pregnant in the future.
- Eli Lilly Loses Motion to Dismiss Prozac Birth Defect Lawsuit
September 2015 – A mother who took Prozac, the antidepressant medication, during her pregnancy has filed a Prozac birth defect lawsuit against Eli Lilly and Company after her son was born with a heart birth defect. The plaintiff claims she was prescribed the antidepressant medication while she was pregnant and filed a lawsuit alleging Eli Lilly was negligent in their actions because they failed to provide her sufficient information on the potential risks of developing birth defects when pregnant.
The pharmaceutical giant filed a motion for summary judgment in an effort to have the case dismissed. However, the U.S. District judge denied the drug maker’s motion and stated that the plaintiff provided factual evidence that the doctor and plaintiff would have chosen a different prescription medication had Eli Lilly and Company posted stronger warnings concerning known birth defects.
Lawyers Are Now Accepting Prozac Lawsuits
The Prozac injury attorneys at the Drug Law Center are currently accepting antidepressant product liability lawsuits and compensation claims on contingency. Our law firm offers a “No Win No Fee” guarantee. This means we postpone payment of our legal services until after we have successfully won your case at trial or negotiated an acceptable out-of-court settlement. If we fail to secure compensation on your behalf, you owe us nothing.
Contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation case consultation with one of our competent product liability attorneys. All information you share with our law offices remains confidential.