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Celexa Lawsuits

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Some mothers who took the antidepressant Celexa while pregnant had babies born with birth defects. It's also linked to an increase in autism. These families may be entitled to compensation through lawsuits.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved the prescription antidepressant Celexa (citalopram) in July 1988. The drug became popular in the U.S. and is considered the best-selling antidepressant in 13 countries. Forest Laboratories marketed Celexa as a safe and effective treatment for mood disorders. But since entering the market, Celexa has been linked to dangerous side effects, including birth defects. New research also suggests the drug may increase the risk of autism in children born to women who took the drug while pregnant.

If you were prescribed Celexa and your baby developed autism or birth defects, you may have a legal claim. An experienced Celexa birth defect attorney can explain your options for potentially filing a claim and obtaining financial assistance with your child's medical treatment.

Status of Celexa Lawsuits

Like the makers of other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), including Prozac, Forest Laboratories faces lawsuits for failing to warn about the risks of its SSRIs, Celexa and Lexapro. Thousands of people have filed lawsuits alleging serious, sometimes fatal side effects from these drugs. Increasingly, plaintiffs include women who were assured Celexa was safe for use during pregnancy, but weren't warned about the risk for congenital birth defects.

Now, a 2015 study in JAMA Pediatrics shows Celexa and other SSRIs are linked to a 200 percent increased risk of autism in children whose mothers took the drugs while pregnant. Another 2014 study by Johns Hopkins revealed boys with autism were three times more likely to have been exposed to SSRIs in the womb. Forest Laboratories could soon face lawsuits tied to autism.

Courts have taken special measures to manage the cases efficiently. Initially, Celexa and Lexapro cases involved allegations of increased suicide risk. In 2006, a judicial panel transferred federal Celexa and Lexapro suicide risk lawsuits to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Ultimately, 57 cases were transferred to MDL No. 1736, of which 32 settled. In July 2013, the presiding judge ruled that enough progress had been made in the MDL to send the remaining cases back to their originating courts.

In 2009, the federal judicial panel established MDL No. 2067 for lawsuits alleging Forest Laboratories improperly marketed Celexa and Lexapro for off-label use in children. In all, 10 cases have been directed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and five cases are currently pending. In February 2013, the presiding judge rejected a request to certify a class action for these claims.

The federal judicial panel has not yet established a federal MDL for Celexa and Lexapro birth defect lawsuits. But at least one state court system has centralized birth defect cases. Missouri has consolidated Celexa and Lexapro lawsuits in the state's Judicial Circuit No. 19. Plaintiffs in these cases allege that the drugs are responsible for a variety of congenital birth defects, including hypoplastic left heart syndrome, spina bifida, anencephaly, craniosynostosis, omphalocele, club foot, and persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). Trials are scheduled to begin in May 2014.

How We Can Help

If you or your child has been injured by Celexa, Drugwatch's Patient Advocates can help you find an experienced birth defect attorney. These attorneys can explain your legal rights and potentially help you file a claim.

The law limits the amount of time available to file a Celexa birth defect lawsuit. It's a good idea to contact a Patient Advocate today to help you find an attorney. They are available seven days a week to help you find legal and other resources.

Why Should You File A Celexa Lawsuit?

Drugmakers like Forest Laboratories must warn prescribing doctors and consumers about any risks associated with their products. This is important because patients and their doctors deserve the opportunity to make well-informed decisions about their treatment options. But families who file Celexa birth defect lawsuits on behalf of their children claim that they were deprived of that opportunity. They argue that they would not have taken Celexa if Forest Laboratories had properly warned them about the dangers.

Instead, doctors and women who planned to become pregnant or were pregnant while taking Celexa were told that the drug was safe. That's why Celexa plaintiffs seek to hold Forest Laboratories legally responsible for their children's injuries.

If your child suffered injuries linked to Celexa, your family may be eligible for the following compensation:
Past and future medical costs, including hospitalization and surgery costs.
Other medical expenses, including travel and uninsured expenses.
Physical and mental distress (also known as "pain and suffering").
Punitive damages to deter future drugmaker negligence.

People Who Filed Celexa Lawsuits

Doctors and mothers whose children were born with birth defects after taking Celexa relied on the drug makers representations that the drug was safe. Many have filed lawsuits seeking help with medical expenses, as well as pain and suffering, from Celexa injuries.

Potential Celexa plaintiffs include:

  • Parents filing on behalf of children born with Celexa-induced birth defects.
  • Parents and estates of children who have died because of Celexa injuries.
  • Parents alleging their own pain and suffering resulting from their children's' injuries.

Some people who have filed Celexa lawsuits include:

Jamie Harrington of Indiana filed a lawsuit against Forest Laboratories alleging Celexa injured her child. The baby was born with several congenital birth defects, including chronic mucoid otitis media, chronic adenoiditis, chronic adenoiditis, chronic maxillary sinusitis, Patent Foramen Ovale, and increased velocity in the aortic arch.

The plaintiffs filed their case in federal court in Texas, seeking to recover medical expenses and punitive damages. The parties agreed to voluntarily dismiss the case in December 2012. This suggests they may have reached an undisclosed settlement.

Jason Bifulco of Florida filed a lawsuit on behalf of his daughter after she was born with several congenital birth defects including increased velocity in the aortic arch. Her mother was prescribed Celexa during pregnancy. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Texas. The parties in this case also agreed to voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit, suggesting a possible settlement.

Celexa lawsuits claim that Forest Laboratories:

  • Failed to properly design, and manufacture Celexa.
  • Failed in its duty to conduct post-marketing studies to fully investigate "alarming evidence and signals" of a link between Celexa and birth defects "that had been accumulating since the 1990s.”
  • Did not adequately warn pregnant women and their doctors about birth defect risks linked to Celexa.
  • Despite the risks, improperly promoted Celexa as safe for use by women who were pregnant or who planned to become pregnant.