Prozac is one of the world’s best-known prescription antidepressant medications, having been prescribed by doctors for more than a generation. But the drug is also one of several antidepressant medications that have enough serious side effects to trigger lawsuits from affected patients or family members.
The drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1987, and it eventually gained approval for treatment other than depression. But by 1990, Prozac was linked to dangerous side effects that included suicidal thoughts and violent behavior. More recently, the drug was identified as a potential cause of birth defects.
Thousands of people filed lawsuits related to Prozac against original drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co. Many claimed the company was negligent because it failed to warn doctors and patients about known harmful side effects.
Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated that labels be adjusted to warn Prozac users about its dangers, the drug was never recalled from the market.
What Is Prozac?
Also known by its generic name, fluoxetine, Prozac is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). SSRIs are used to increase the chemical serotonin in the brain, which plays a key role in mood and mental balance.
For this reason, Prozac is prescribed to treat conditions caused by chemical imbalances, such as depression and panic and obsessive-compulsive disorders. The drug has also been prescribed for other conditions, including eating disorders and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
Prozac was originally marketed as an antidepressant, and since the drug went off patent in 2001, other manufacturers marketed the drug under different names, including Sarafem, Rapiflux and Selfemra.
Why Do People Sue for Prozac Injuries?
To date, it is estimated that thousands of people have filed Prozac lawsuits. They turned to the drug hoping to improve their well-being. Instead, they have experienced a variety of adverse effects that resulted in more mental, emotional and physical suffering.
Early cases involved allegations over violent side effects. Lawsuits alleged that Eli Lilly was grossly negligent because it failed to properly warn doctors and consumers about the dangers. In patients with no chemical imbalance, the drug appears to create an imbalance, leading to an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and violent behavior. In fact, the drug came under widespread scrutiny during the 1990s after several Prozac patients hurt themselves or others. These people were reportedly free from suicidal or violent tendencies before taking Prozac.
In 1992, a federal judicial panel moved federal Prozac cases to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. By 2000, Eli Lilly had reportedly paid more than $50 million to settle more than 30 Prozac lawsuits related to murders or suicides. More settlements followed.
Even more lawsuits came after Prozac use during pregnancy was linked with birth defects, including anencephaly, a fatal defect in the neural tube. Newborns also can experience septal defects, damaged hearts or cleft lip or palate if their mother took Prozac while pregnant.
Babies of women who take the drug before or during their pregnancies may be born with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), which impairs lung function and is potentially life-threatening. Babies may also have congenital lung or cranial defects.
Despite its risks, Prozac remains on the market. The FDA requires the drug to carry a black-box warning about the drug’s increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior among children, adolescents and young adults.
Are You Eligible to File a Prozac Lawsuit?
Drugmakers have an ongoing duty to monitor their products’ safety and warn about any potential dangers. For this reason, makers of Prozac and related drugs may be liable for birth defects linked to their drugs.
Like victims in early Prozac cases, parents of children who have been injured by Prozac may be eligible for compensation. This compensation can assist with your child’s medical expenses and ensure that your child continues to receive proper care. In some cases, punitive damages may available to deter drugmakers from putting more children at risk.
If you or your child has been injured by Prozac, contact a dangerous drug attorney. An experienced attorney can explain your legal rights and help you file a possible claim.
Have you taken an antidepressant?
If you took SSRIs while pregnant, you may have legal options.
Prozac birth defect lawsuits are currently being filed across the country. Many of these cases may be consolidated or approved as a class action in order to encourage settlements. A product liability lawyer can help you decide whether to join this litigation or file an individual lawsuit.
Be aware that the law limits the amount of time available to file a claim. So contact a lawyer today to hold drugmakers accountable for serious birth defects and other injuries.