Medscape shared the results of a new study on Wednesday that suggests that use of serotonin reuptake inhibitors (better known as SSRIs) can increase the risk of a range of child development and birth injury problems. SSRIs are a range of medications that are most often used to treat depression in woman. The research effort was conducted by experts in the Department of Epidemiology and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Erasmus Medical Center. The findings were published in this week’s online edition of Archives of General Psychiatry.
The study itself involved examination of various groups of women, some of whom were depressed and treated with SSRIs. Researchers found that while use of SSRIs seemed to lessen depressive symptoms in the women, it also led to significantly higher risk of fetal development abnormalities-including small head size. In addition, those who received SSRIs during their pregnancy were more than twice as likely to have preterm births.
However, some are questioning the findings and suggest that the abnormal development may be connected to the depression itself and not the SSRI treatment. Instead, many are calling for more research with better controls so that stronger evidence can be obtained which shows that the drug itself leads to the harm. Part of the problem is that it is hard to get sample sizes with depressive participants large enough to be statistically strong. In this latest study, for example, over 91% of the participants actually had no depressive symptoms, and so the examination of information from those who did can be criticized for coming from too small a group.
So what effect does this research (and others like it) have on birth injury lawsuits?
It is too early to tell. As our Chicago birth injury lawyers often share, the law focuses mostly on conduct as opposed to harm. Of course harm to a mother or child must be present in some form for a case to proceed, but the most important aspect of any Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit or product liability lawsuit that might arise in one of these situations is the conduct of those involved. Legal liability would likely not attach if all those involved, from doctors to drug manufacturers, truly had no idea that the prescription of these medications might cause harm. However, it may be true that signs existed or evidence was available which suggested otherwise. If those signs were ignored or not taken as seriously as they reasonably should have been, then the law might hold those negligent parties accountable for their lack of action that led to the drug-related harm.
No matter what, however, if you or a loved one has been hurt in some way and have suspicions about the connection between certain drug use, there is little to lose by seeking out help. A legal professional experienced in these matters can gather information specific to your case and provide more tailored information. If you are in Illinois, our Illinois birth injury attorneys can provide that guidance at no cost. Please contact us to see how we can help.
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