Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a class of antidepressant medications that are prescribed to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) and various anxiety disorders. Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Prozac (fluoxetine) in 1987,1 various other SSRIs have been developed – and SSRIs have become one of the most widely prescribed antidepressants in the U.S.
Despite their popularity and effectiveness, however, SSRIs have been linked to a number of serious side effects, the worst of which can be deadly.
If you or a loved one has suffered any serious SSRI complications, the dangerous drug lawyers at the Amaro Law Firm are ready to help you seek compensation and justice. Devoted to providing superior advocacy and compassionate, personal service, our attorneys can help you determine if you have an SSRI claim – and, if so, help you position your claim for success and the maximum financial recovery.
SSRIs are antidepressants linked to suicidal thoughts, birth defects, and more. SSRI patients who develop serious complications can be entitled to compensation for their injuries and losses.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors work by increasing serotonin levels while limiting the reabsorption (or reuptake) of this neurotransmitter by certain cells. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (a chemical released by nerve cells) that is believed to control mood, as well as various biological processes, including digestion, sleep and sexual function.
Along with MDD, SSRIs are prescribed to treat conditions like (but not necessarily limited to):
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Social anxiety disorder and social phobia.
While some SSRIs are approved for use in children who are as young as 8 or 12 years old, some may also be prescribed for use during pregnancy when the benefits outweigh the potential risks.
Common, milder side effects associated with SSRI use include (but may not be limited to):
Generally, these side effects are more likely to arise with higher doses of SSRIs, and they dissipate as the body becomes accustomed to the drug or after use of the drug stops.
According to the latest data on SSRIs:2
About 1 in 8 people over the age of 12 in the U.S. has taken an SSRI medication within the past month.
About 25 percent of those who have taken an SSRI within the past month have been using the SSRI medication for at least 10 years.
Females are two times more likely than males to take SSRIs.
Since 1999, SSRI use in the U.S. has surged dramatically, increasing by nearly 65 percent.
Types of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Drugs
Many SSRI medications have been available in the U.S. since Prozac was first approved by the FDA. Some of these include:
Celexa (citalopram), made by Forest Laboratories (Forest)
SSRI medications have been linked to some serious complications, the most severe of which can be life-threatening. These include (but may not be limited to):
Birth defectsand autism – Taking certain SSRIs during pregnancy can increase the risk of birth defects, including cleft palate, heart defects, respiratory distress and persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). Some SSRIs can also reportedly increase the risk of autism in babies. A 2015 study found that taking certain SSRIs during pregnancy, specifically in the second or third trimester, could double the risk of autism in newborns.3
Bleeding – When some SSRIs are taken with anticoagulants (like Pradaxa) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), uncontrolled bleeding events can occur. These events can include gastrointestinal bleeding, post-operative bleeding and/or intracranial bleeding.
Bone fractures – SSRI drugs have been linked to loss of bone density, contributing to an increased risk of bone fractures, particularly among older patients.
Serotonin syndrome – Characterized by tremors, muscle rigidity, fever, kidney failure and/or seizures, this condition can be fatal without treatment. Those who take high-dose SSRIs or who take more than one SSRI medication tend to have the greatest risk of this complication.
Suicidal thoughts and actions – This complication is most likely to impact those who are starting a course of SSRI medication, as well as patients under 25 years old, those who have (or who have a family history of) bipolar disorder and those who have previously attempted suicide.
FDA Warnings about SSRIs
Over the past few decades, the FDA has issued a number of safety communications and warnings regarding SSRI drugs. Some of these include:
A December 2011 Warning, alerting the public about the risks of birth defects when taking SSRIs during pregnancy4
A May 2007 Safety Communication, notifying the public that the Agency was requiring SSRI manufacturers to include black box warnings (on drug labels and medication guides) regarding the risks of suicidal thoughts and behaviors5
A July 2006 Warning, alerting the public to the risks of serotonin syndrome when taking SSRIs.6
SSRI Lawsuits & Multidistrict Litigation (MDL)
To date, thousands of lawsuits have been filed against the makers of SSRIs, alleging that:
SSRI drugs caused severe, if not deadly, complications.
SSRI drug makers failed to warn the public about the serious risks associated with these medications.
The growing number of these claims has spurred the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to establish MDLs for some of these cases. Some of the SSRI MDLs include the:
Zoloft MDL (MDL No. 2342), based in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania7
Celexa and Lexapro MDL (MDL No. 2067), based in the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts8
Paxil MDL (MDL No. 1574), based in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California
Prozac MDL (MDL No. 907), based in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana.
The intent behind these MDLs has been to facilitate pretrial proceedings while establishing consistent rulings across similar claims. Although some of these MDLs have been closed via settlements, others remain active and ongoing.
For new SSRI claims, plaintiffs may have a choice to join an ongoing MDL or to proceed with an individual case (outside of the MDL). A lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm can explain the best option for your claim, after reviewing the details and discussing your needs and objectives.
Find Out More about Your Potential Claim: Contact a Dangerous Drug Lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm
A dangerous drug lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm is ready to partner with you in the pursuit of recovery and justice if you or a loved one has been seriously injured by any SSRI drug.
Call (877) 892-2797, text (281) 612-8024 or email our firm for your FREE consultation and helpful advice regarding your potential claim.
Backed by more than 20 years of legal experience, our attorneys have the insight, skills and resources you can count on for exceptional advocacy as we help you navigate the complex process.
The Amaro Law Firm has a proven record of success in dangerous drug (and other personal injury) claims, as affirmed by testimonials from our former clients and our 5-star ratings on Google and Facebook.