Celexa (citalopram hydrobromide) is a popular antidepressant produced by Forest Laboratories. The drug is prescribed for the treatment of depression and major depressive disorder. Since Celexa's introduction to the U.S. market in 1998, millions of patients have taken the drug.
Celexa belongs to a group of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs help increase a brain chemical known as serotonin. Many patients have greatly benefited from the use of Celexa and other SSRIs. However, some patients have reportedly experienced serious and debilitating medical complications. As a result, Celexa lawsuits have been filed in the state and federal courts.
Celexa's Medical Complications
Celexa is associated with a number of medical complications. Some of these complications are relativity minor, such as yawning and sleepiness. Others are extremely serious. In the Celexa lawsuits, plaintiffs have alleged that they suffered serious medical complications, such as birth defects and suicidal behavior, after taking the drug.
There is some medical research linking Celexa and other SSRI drugs to birth defects. The New England Journal of Medicine published a study reviewing data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Researchers found that women who had taken any SSRI drug during the period of one month prior to pregnancy to the first trimester of pregnancy may have an increased risk of giving birth to an infant with the following types of birth defects:
In another medical study, researchers looked at mothers who took SSRIs while pregnant and babies who had been diagnosed with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). PPHN affects the child's ability to breath and can sometimes result in death. In the study, researchers found that mothers who had taken SSRI drugs after their twentieth week of pregnancy may have a six times increased risk of having a baby with PPHN in comparison to mothers who weren't exposed to SSRI drugs.
However, other medical studies how found no connection between SSRI use and PPHN. Due to the conflicting findings, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that the link between SSRI use and PPHN is currently unclear. However, after additional research is done, the FDA's position could change in the future.
Suicidal Thoughts and Behavior
Celexa and other antidepressants have been linked to an increased risk of suicidal behavior in patients who are under the age of 25. As a result, the FDA mandates that antidepressants carry a black box warning about this risk. The black box warning, or "boxed warning," is the FDA's most serious warning, and is reserved for drugs that pose a significant risk of serious or life-threatening adverse effects.
Forest Pharmaceuticals' Guilty Plea
In 2010, Forest Laboratories' subsidiary Forest Pharmaceuticals pleaded guilty to a criminal misdemeanor for misbranding Celexa for a use the FDA hadn't approved. According to the Department of Justice, Forest Pharmaceuticals had illegally promoted Celexa for the treatment of depression in children and adolescents. The company also pleaded guilty to obstructing justice and distributing an unapproved drug. As a result, Forest Pharmaceuticals received a criminal fine of $150 million.
Under product liability law, manufacturers and sellers have a duty to ensure that their medications are safe for patients. Medications shouldn't be unreasonably dangerous to users nor should they carry any product defects. In the Celexa lawsuits, a common allegation is that the manufacturer reportedly provided defective warnings about the risks of birth defects and suicidal behavior. Plaintiffs have argued that if the manufacturer had provided proper warnings, their injuries wouldn't have occurred.
Wrongful Death Actions
Under wrongful death laws, immediate family members such as parents, spouses, and children generally may sue the entity that caused their loved one's death. In addition, in some states, registered domestic partners may sue as well. In the Celexa litigation, wrongful death suits have been filed in instances in which a baby died allegedly from a Celexa induced birth defect. Wrongful death actions also have been filed in cases in which Celexa allegedly caused a patient's suicide.
Some of the Celexa lawsuits involving allegations of suicide and suicide attempts have settled, whereas others are still pending. As for the Celexa birth defect lawsuits, many have been filed in a Missouri state court.
Get Professional Legal Help With Your Celexa Lawsuit
There are a number of potential benefits to filing a lawsuit. One benefit is that a plaintiff may be able to recover monetary compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. In addition to the financial benefits, lawsuits can help raise awareness about a dangerous product, so that future birth injuries may be avoided. To learn more about bring a birth defect claim, contact an experienced product liability attorney near you.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.