Prozac (fluoxetine) is a well-known antidepressant drug produced by Eli Lilly and Company. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1987, Prozac was the first in a wave of antidepressant drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that reached the marketplace in the 1990s. Promising a relatively straightforward way to treat depression, antidepressants like Prozac have since become the third most prescribed medication in the U.S. Researchers estimate that more than one in ten Americans takes antidepressant medication. Pharmaceutical companies annually earned billions of dollars a year in antidepressant sales before generic versions of the drugs became available.
The commercial success of Prozac has revealed some medical problems associated with the medication. Many patients have reported suffering from side effects that have led to significant injuries. Some patients have responded by filing product liability lawsuits against Ely Lilly.
Problems with Prozac
Patients taking Prozac have reported a number of side effects. The most common side effects include headaches, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, sinus infections, indigestion, dry mouth, dizziness, drowsiness, excessive sweating, rashes, and anxiousness. Some patients have reported experiencing sleep problems and sexual problems. More serious problems have led to patient injuries, government action, and lawsuits.
Health care professionals have expressed concerns over antidepressant use during pregnancy. Some medical studies have found an association between the use of SSRIs during pregnancy and serious birth defects in children. In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to doctors and patients about the risks of taking antidepressants during pregnancy. However, the FDA has since changed its position, stating that the link between antidepressants and birth defects is currently unclear. While this link is disputed, some women who took Prozac while pregnant have sued Eli Lilly.
Risk of Suicide
Prozac carries an FDA black box warning cautioning patients about an increased risk of suicide among young people. The FDA first issued this warning for children and adolescents in 2005. The warning was expanded to cover young adults ranging in age from 18 through 24 in May 2007. Some patients in these age groups who took Prozac have reported experiencing suicidal thoughts and behavior. There have been some reports of suicide among Prozac patients as well.
Patients who take Prozac are also at risk of developing serotonin syndrome. SSRI antidepressants are designed to boost a patient's mood by blocking the absorption of a chemical called serotonin in the brain. When patients develop excessive serotonin levels, they can experience symptoms such as agitation or restlessness, confusion, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, dilated pupils, muscle twitches, and headaches. These effects are similar to the symptoms of people under the influence of methamphetamine.
Many patients injured after taking Prozac have sued the manufacturer Eli Lilly. This includes women who took Prozac during pregnancy and subsequently gave birth to children with birth defects. Other cases involve the families of patients who took Prozac and later committed suicide or developed suicidal behavior. Some patients who developed serotonin syndrome after taking Prozac have also sued.
These product liability lawsuits accuse Eli Lilly of failing to warn doctors and patients about the risks associated with Prozac. They claim that better warnings could have prevented patient injuries and informed doctors and patients about the risks of taking the drug. Many lawsuits also claim that Eli Lilly failed to properly test Prozac before the drug became available in the marketplace. Product liability lawsuits often put forth multiple arguments for why a manufacturer should be liable for patient injuries. This is a common and accepted practice.
Get a Prozac Claim Evaluation
Product liability lawsuits can achieve two things. First, successful product liability lawsuits can help patients recover compensation for their injuries or injuries sustained by their children. This compensation can cover the patient's hospital bills, treatment costs, lost wages from time off work, pain and suffering, and the cost of caring for a child with birth defects. If you're interested in pursuing remedies for injuries suffered by you or your child, you should first set up a claim evaluation with an experienced attorney.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.