Lexapro and Celexa Birth Defect Lawsuit Filed in New JerseyJuly 7, 2014 — Courthouse News reports that a federal judge has allowed a lawsuit to proceed against Forest Laboratories on behalf of a child who was born with severe birth defects.

The child, Sophia Cowan, was born in July 2011 with severe heart defects (atrioventricular canal defects) which allegedly caused her death in August.

The child’s mother, Erika Atkinson, took Lexapro (escitalopram) and/or Celexa (citalopram) during pregnancy in 2010 and 2011. She says the manufacturers were:

“…involved in developing, labeling, marketing, monitoring, performing regulatory compliance and reporting, performing and/or participating in clinical trials, performing drug surveillance, researching and testing of pharmaceuticals for distribution, sale, and use by the general public, including the drug Lexapro.”

The judge rejected claims that New Jersey law applies in the case, but he did not rule whether the statute of limitations will disqualify the case from moving forward. Atkinson filed the case within two years of her child’s death but the summons did not include sufficient information.

There are currently over 500 lawsuits involving antidepressants and birth defects pending in federal court. Most of the cases involve Zoloft (sertraline), an antidepressant in the selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class.

Like Zoloft, Lexapro and Celexa are SSRIs that have been linked to higher rates of heart defects in numerous studies. However, a causal relationship between antidepressants and birth defects has not been established.

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