Pharmaceutical Recall Attorney and Effexor Birth Defect Lawyer reviews SSNI and SSRI Injuries for plaintiffs nationwide


The antidepressant Effexor (venlafaxine) has been identified as a potential cause of severe birth defects, such as cleft lip and congenital heart defects. Effexor is made and sold by Wyeth, a Pfizer subsidiary, and is used to treat major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorders. By 2007, Effexor was one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants in the country.

Effexor is a member of the Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor (SNRI) class of antidepressants. Though generally effective in its primary use, Effexor, and other SNRI and SSRI drugs have caused serious medical issues in pregnant users, including birth defects in unborn babies. The companies responsible, Wyeth and Pfizer, have failed to properly warn doctors and patients of the risks associated with the drug.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Ohio product liability attorney and Effexor birth defect lawyer representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of civil litigation claims against pharmaceutical companies.


Birth Defects Associated with Effexor Use

The two most common heart defects linked to Effexor use are atrial septal defects or ventricular septal defects. Atrial septal defect (ASD) is a form of congenital heart defect where there is a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart that allows for blood flow exchange. Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) is a condition when there is a large opening between the ventricles allowing a large amount of oxygen-rich blood from the heart’s left side through the defect on the right side.

The drug also reportedly has the potential to cause numerous other birth defects and complications, including the following:

  • Miscarriage
  • Gastroschisis—a defect on one side of the umbilical cord that allows a portion of the infant’s intestines to protrude out of the body.
  • Septal heart defects—the wall (septum) separating the left side of the heart from its right is malformed.
  • Macrocephaly—a condition in which a child’s head is abnormally large.
  • Craniosynostosis—a condition in which portions of a child’s skull fuse prematurely, and can lead to visual and cognitive impairments.
  • Neural tube defects—a defect consisting of an opening in a child’s spinal cord or brain caused by a failure of specialized nerve cells to fuse.
  • Spina bifida—in some instances, the spinal cord protrudes through a gap between unfused bones, and in other cases a fluid-filled sac surrounds the spinal cord.
  • Clubbed foot—feet of children born with this condition are turned inward at the ankle
  • Cleft lip or palate—the tissue forming a child’s upper lip fails to fuse properly.
  • Delayed development
  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension (PPHN)

FDA Warnings and Effexor Black Box Labels

As the adverse effects of Effexor were reported by patients and doctors, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required better product warnings, and in 2004 issued a “black box” warning.

The FDA also sent Wyeth a warning letter in 2007 over an Effexor advertisement in a medical journal that overstated its beneficial effects and downplayed the drug’s risks. The FDA released a statement warning consumers that Effexor’s risks had been minimized and the effectiveness of the drug had been overstated. The FDA found the company’s claims of effectiveness were based on data from an inadequate study.


Legal Action: Contact an Effexor Birth Defect Lawyer

The first of hundreds of lawsuits were filed against Effexor in 2012, in which the plaintiff claimed her daughter was born with severe heart defects and died. Other drug manufacturers, particularly those selling SNRI and SSRI antidepressants to pregnant women have been targets of lawsuits in recent years. Aside from Effexor, drugs like Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, and Zoloft have been linked in medical studies to a risk of developing birth defects.
Allegations and Effexor birth defect lawyer say the manufacturers may have committed the following:

  • Failed to warn consumers of certain health risks
  • Failed to conduct proper drug safety trials
  • Are liable for injury and wrongful death
  • Committed consumer and marketing fraud
  • Defective manufacturing and design

If you or a child has suffered an injury or birth defect due to Effexor use, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, an Effexor birth defect lawyer, and he will help you answer these critical questions.