Understanding Paxil Birth Defects

Ann Blake-Tracy says:

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After two decades of tracking mothers and babies exposed to SSRI
antidepressants during pregnancy I shutter to ever see a mother take one of
these drugs. If those adverse effects listed in this article are not bad enough
to consider exposing a baby to, we have yet to witness the full effects of these
drugs upon offspring. These babies brains will not be fully developed until they
are in their 20’s. The full negative effects upon that developing brain will not
be known until then. Knowing what I know after 20 years of researching these
drugs and tracking patients who have taken them, I DO NOT WANT TO SEE WHAT IS
COMING!!

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug
Awareness
http://www.drugawareness.org & http://www.ssristories.drugawareness.org

Understanding Paxil Birth Defects

In December 2005, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) posted its Paxil findings on its
website regarding pregnant women taking antidepressants. In this announcement,
GSK noted that it was revising its pregnancy precaution category from C to D.
This revision was based on recent studies that indicated positive evidence of
human fetal risk. In addition, GSK was placing this information in the WARNINGS
section of the Paxil label.
The FDA then advised pregnant women to switch from Paxil to another SSRI
drug, such as Prozac or Zoloft. This warning was based on the results of an
analysis of Sweden’s birth registry that showed women who took Paxil were 1.5 to
2 times more likely to give birth to a baby with heart defects than women who
took other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or no antidepressant
at all.
Studies also showed that complications were reported for babies born to
mothers who had taken antidepressants such as Paxil in the third month of
pregnancy. Such complications included breathing difficulties, turning blue,
seizures, changing body temperature, feeding problems, vomiting, low blood
sugar, stiffness, tremor, irritability or constant crying. In other words, just
like adults, newborn babies of mothers who have taken Paxil while pregnant,
experience similar withdrawal symptoms. Because of this, tube feeding, help with
breathing and longer hospitalization may be needed. Premature births in pregnant
women exposed to SSRIs such as Paxil have also been reported.
Based on such reports obstetricians went so far as to recommend that
women avoid Paxil and reconsider using any SSRI antidepressant during pregnancy.
Still, other physicians maintain that the benefits of mothers getting treatment
for their depression outweigh the risks to the fetus.
The most common birth defects caused by antidepressants have been found
to be holes or other malformations in the chambers of the heart. Often the

defects heal on their own, but more severe cases need surgical procedures. GSK
is investigating how Paxil could be causing such defects.
In addition, antidepressant drugs are known to imbalance blood sugar
metabolism thereby worsening gestational diabetes. However, it is doubtful that
this is explained to expectant mothers who are given such drugs.
Medical professionals in women’s mental health point out that it is
important to aptly gauge the timing of medications prescribed for women who are
pregnant. Paxil is currently one of the most popular antidepressants in the
world, and roughly 25 percent of its users are women of childbearing age —
between 18 and 45.

Nick Johnson serves as lead counsel with Johnson Law Group, with principal
offices located in Houston, Texas. Johnson represents plaintiffs with injury
cases involving Defective Drugs. Contact Nick Johnson at 1-888-311-5522 or visit
http://www.johnsonlawgroup.com

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PAXIL: Birth Defect Case: Test Case for Over 600 Lawsuit: USA- Pennsylvania

First two paragraphs read:  “GlaxoSmithKline P.L.C., the
world’s second-biggest drugmaker, begins a trial in Philadelphia next week in
what may be a test case for more than 600
lawsuits
over claims that the company’s antidepressant drug Paxil causes birth defects.”

“Patients and their parents say internal company documents
show Glaxo failed to warn consumers about the risks of Paxil until forced
to do so in 2005 by the Food and Drug Administration.
In the trial set
to start Monday, Michelle David blames the drug for causing life-threatening
heart defects in her son, Lyam Kilker, now age 3.”

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/business/20090912_Glaxo_trial_opens_here_Monday_in_what_could_be_Paxil_test_case.html

Posted on Sat, Sep. 12, 2009

Glaxo trial opens here Monday in what could be Paxil test
case

By Sophia Pearson and Margaret Cronin Fisk

Bloomberg News
GlaxoSmithKline P.L.C., the world’s second-biggest
drugmaker, begins a trial in Philadelphia next week in what may be a test case
for more than 600 lawsuits over claims that the company’s antidepressant drug

Paxil causes birth defects.

Patients and their parents say internal
company documents show Glaxo failed to warn consumers about the risks of Paxil
until forced to do so in 2005 by the Food and Drug Administration. In the trial
set to start Monday, Michelle David blames the drug for causing life-threatening
heart defects in her son, Lyam Kilker, now age 3.

The company, based in
London and with major operations in Philadelphia and its suburbs, faces two more
such trials each month from October through January in state court in
Philadelphia.

“The early cases set the parameters for any global
settlement negotiations,” said David Logan, dean and professor of law at Roger
Williams University in Bristol, R.I.

Paxil, approved by the FDA in 1992,
generated about $942 million in sales last year, 2.1 percent of the total for

the company.

Glaxo has settled other Paxil-related cases, including a
suit brought by the New York Attorney General’s Office accusing the company of
withholding safety data about the antidepressant.

The drugmaker isn’t
liable for Lyam Kilker’s heart defects, and it acted responsibly in testing
Paxil and updating safety information, Kevin Colgan, a Glaxo spokesman, said in
an e-mail.

“The scientific evidence simply does not establish that
exposure to Paxil during pregnancy caused Lyam Kilker’s condition,” Colgan said.
“Very unfortunately, birth defects occur in 3 to 5 percent of all live births,
whether or not the mother was taking medication during pregnancy.”

The
FDA said in an alert to doctors on Dec. 8, 2005, that preliminary studies
suggested Paxil might contribute to heart defects in infants when taken in the
first three months of pregnancy. The government asked the company to update the
label enclosed with the medicine, changing its birthdefect warning.

The
FDA’s action does not prove any connection between Paxil use and birth defects,
Glaxo said in court filings in July.

“GlaxoSmithKline will show it acted
properly and responsibly in conducting its clinical trial program for Paxil, in
marketing the medicine, in monitoring its safety once it was approved for use
and in updating pregnancy information in the medicine’s label as new information
became available,” Glaxo’s Colgan said.

Lawyers for patients say Glaxo
documents show the company had known since 1980 that Paxil could raise the risk
of birth defects.

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SSRI Birth Defects: Glaxo must pay $2.5M in Paxil case

The verdict is the first in 600 cases alleging that
London-based Glaxo knew Paxil caused birth defects and hid those risks to boost
profits.

The drug, approved for U.S. use in 1992, generated about $942
million in sales last year, 2.1 percent of Glaxo‘s total revenue.

Michelle David had claimed that her 3-year-old son Lyam Kilker
suffered life-threatening heart defects because she took Paxil while she was
pregnant with him.

Posted on Tue, Oct.
13, 2009

Glaxo must pay $2.5M in Paxil case

By Miriam Hill

INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

GlaxoSmithKline P.L.C. must pay $2.5 million to settle a
claim that its Paxil antidepressant caused severe heart defects in a
3-year-old Bensalem boy, a Philadelphia common pleas jury ruled
today.

The verdict is the first in 600 cases alleging that
London-based Glaxo knew Paxil caused birth defects and hid those risks to
boost profits.

The drug, approved for U.S. use in 1992, generated about $942
million in sales last year, 2.1 percent of Glaxo‘s total
revenue.

London-based Glaxo has major operations in the Philadelphia
region.

Michelle David had claimed that her 3-year-old son Lyam
Kilker suffered life-threatening heart defects because she took Paxil while
she was pregnant with him.

Glaxo issued a statement saying it disagrees with the verdict
and will appeal.

“While we sympathize with Lyam Kilker and his family, the
scientific evidence does not establish that exposure to Paxil during pregnancy
caused his condition. Very unfortunately, birth defects occur in three to five
percent of all live births, whether or not the mother was taking medication
during pregnancy,” the company’s statement said.

David and Kilker’s lawyers, Sean Tracey of Houston and Jamie
Sheller of the Philadelphia firm Sheller P.C., argued that Glaxo withheld
information from consumers and regulators about the risk of birth defects and
failed to properly test Paxil.

“The first win is always huge, especially when you get a jury
saying the drug caused the injury,” Sean Tracey, Kilker’s lawyer, told
Bloomberg in an interview after the jury reached its decision.

Glaxo‘s lawyer, Chilton Varner of King & Spalding in
Atlanta, countered that the company reported any sign of problems to federal
authorities. She had accused Tracey of cherry-picking sentences from
documents.

During the trial, she also noted that Kilker, who underwent
several surgeries to fix his heart problems today “has no cardiac symptoms . .
.. is at preschool and runs and walks like an [almost] 4-year-old
should.”

In its statement today, Glaxo said it “acted properly and
responsibly in conducting its clinical trial program for Paxil, including
sharing documentation and submitting results from studies on Paxil to
regulators.”

Kilker will require more surgeries as he
grows.

David was a former cheerleader for the Philadelphia
76ers.

The case was heard by Judge Stephen Levin in Common Pleas
Court.

The FDA initially classified Paxil as a drug with no known
connections to birth defects. In 2005, the agency reclassified it as a drug
with some evidence of human fetal risk but allowed doctors to continue
prescribing it to women of childbearing age if the benefits outweigh the
risks.


Contact staff writer Miriam Hill at 215-854-5520 or hillmb@phillynews.com.

This story contains information from Bloomberg
News.

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PAXIL: BIRTH DEFECTS – TEST CASE FOR OVER 600 MORE CASES – USA

First two paragraphs read:  “GlaxoSmithKline P.L.C., the
world’s second-biggest drugmaker, begins a trial in Philadelphia next week in
what may be a test case for more than 600

lawsuits over claims that the company’s antidepressant drug Paxil causes birth defects.”

“Patients and their parents say internal company documents
show Glaxo failed to warn consumers about the risks of Paxil until forced
to do so in 2005 by the Food and Drug Administration.
In the trial set
to start Monday, Michelle David blames the drug for causing life-threatening
heart defects in her son, Lyam Kilker, now age 3.”

Glaxo trial opens here Monday in what could be Paxil test case

By Sophia Pearson and Margaret Cronin Fisk

Bloomberg
News
GlaxoSmithKline P.L.C., the world’s second-biggest drugmaker, begins a
trial in Philadelphia next week in what may be a test case for more than 600

lawsuits over claims that the company’s antidepressant drug Paxil causes birth
defects.

Patients and their parents say internal company documents show
Glaxo failed to warn consumers about the risks of Paxil until forced to do so in
2005 by the Food and Drug Administration. In the trial set to start Monday,
Michelle David blames the drug for causing life-threatening heart defects in her
son, Lyam Kilker, now age 3.

The company, based in London and with major
operations in Philadelphia and its suburbs, faces two more such trials each
month from October through January in state court in Philadelphia.

“The
early cases set the parameters for any global settlement negotiations,” said
David Logan, dean and professor of law at Roger Williams University in Bristol,
R.I.

Paxil, approved by the FDA in 1992, generated about $942 million in
sales last year, 2.1 percent of the total for the company.

Glaxo has
settled other Paxil-related cases, including a suit brought by the New York
Attorney General’s Office accusing the company of withholding safety data about
the antidepressant.

The drugmaker isn’t liable for Lyam Kilker’s heart

defects, and it acted responsibly in testing Paxil and updating safety
information, Kevin Colgan, a Glaxo spokesman, said in an e-mail.

“The
scientific evidence simply does not establish that exposure to Paxil during
pregnancy caused Lyam Kilker’s condition,” Colgan said. “Very unfortunately,
birth defects occur in 3 to 5 percent of all live births, whether or not the
mother was taking medication during pregnancy.”

The FDA said in an alert
to doctors on Dec. 8, 2005, that preliminary studies suggested Paxil might
contribute to heart defects in infants when taken in the first three months of
pregnancy. The government asked the company to update the label enclosed with
the medicine, changing its birth-defect warning.

The FDA’s action does
not prove any connection between Paxil use and birth defects, Glaxo said in
court filings in July.

“GlaxoSmithKline will show it acted properly and
responsibly in conducting its clinical trial program for Paxil, in marketing the
medicine, in monitoring its safety once it was approved for use and in updating
pregnancy information in the medicine’s label as new information became
available,” Glaxo’s Colgan said.

Lawyers for patients say Glaxo
documents show the company had known since 1980 that Paxil could raise the risk
of birth defects.

Buzz
up!
Buzz this story.

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SSRI: 100-500% Increased Risk of Heart Birth Defects If Taken In Early Pregnancy

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org): This new study SHOULD stop the Mother’s Act dead in its tracks! The Mother’s Act is designed to medicate pregnant and nursing mothers for depression and we know what they medicate them with – these drugs that they have just shown amazingly damaging effects upon the heart of the fetus!

ANY YOUNG WOMAN WHO INTENDS TO HAVE A FAMILY SHOULD BE WARNED OF THIS POSSIBILITY OF SERIOUS LIFE THREATING BIRTH DEFECTS IN HER OFFSPRING BEFORE EVER BEING STARTED ON AN SSRI ANTIDEPRESSANT!! Marketing these drugs to this age group should be considered criminal when you look at what this study shows to be the risks to the children born to these mothers.

And if you think this does not affect you, think again. You need to see what these children go through (if they survived their mother’s use of these drugs) throughout their lives due to their mother’s use of these drugs! Who do you think ends up paying the bills for the numerous reconstructive surgeries, the lifetime of medications and medical treatment? We do. All of us in higher insurance rates, disability payments, etc., etc., etc.

PLEASE CAREFULLY EXAMINE THE FOLLOWING RESULTS OF THIS STUDY AND SHARE IT WITH EVERYONE YOU KNOW!!! Doing so may spare at least one baby from this horror.

Here is just one small example: http://bigpharmavictim.blogspot.com Manie’s mother was given Paxil and assured it would be okay as so many mothers are told. Her infant son, Manie, was born with Transposition of the Great Arteries and had to have open heart surgery when he was only 8 days old. The surgery lasted 12 hours.
___________________________

Paragraph one reads: “If you take antidepressants such as fluoxetine (marketed as Prozac) early in your pregnancy, you may be doubling the risk that your newborn will be born with a heart defect, according to a new study.”

Paragraph four reads: “Along with fluoxetine, sertraline (marketed as Zoloft) and citalopram (marketed as Celexa) seemed to increase the risk more than others, as did using more than one antidepressant at a time, according to the report in the September 25th Online First issue of BMJ.”

Paragraph six reads: “Sertraline [Zoloft] more than tripled the risk, while citalopram [Celexa] more than doubled it. Using more than one SSRI nearly quintupled the risk of the heart defect.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE58O39F20090925

Antidepressants in pregnancy up heart defect risk
Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:58am EDT Email | Print | Share| Reprints | Single Page[-] Text [+]

By Anthony J. Brown, MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – If you take antidepressants such as fluoxetine (marketed as Prozac) early in your pregnancy, you may be doubling the risk that your newborn will be born with a heart defect, according to a new study.

However, the vast majority of children born to women who take such antidepressants – known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – do not have such defects, the researchers are quick to note.

Earlier studies have tied SSRIs during pregnancy to heart defects, but also to even more serious birth defects. According to the new study of nearly half a million children born in Denmark between 1996 and 2003, however, only heart defects are likely to be associated with the antidepressants, note co-author Dr. Lars Henning Pedersen, from Aarhus University, Denmark, and colleagues.

Along with fluoxetine, sertraline (marketed as Zoloft) and citalopram (marketed as Celexa) seemed to increase the risk more than others, as did using more than one antidepressant at a time, according to the report in the September 25th Online First issue of BMJ.

Overall, SSRI use in early pregnancy, defined as 28 days before to 112 days after conception, doubled the risk of a particular kind of heart defect involving a piece of tissue that separates parts of the heart.

Sertraline more than tripled the risk, while citalopram more than doubled it. Using more than one SSRI nearly quintupled the risk of the heart defect.

However, the number of children born with such defects was still quite small: For about every 250 pregnant women who did not take SSRIs, one infant was born with the defect, while about two were born with the defect for every 250 women who took one SSRI, and four for every 200 mothers who took more than one.

Pedersen told Reuters Health that the results surprised the team.

Still, in an accompanying editorial, Dr. Christina Chambers, from the University of California, San Diego, comments that doctors and patients “need to balance the small risks associated with SSRIs against those associated with undertreatment or no treatment.”

SOURCE: BMJ, online September 25, 2009.

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PAXIL TRIAL: Glaxo Executive’s Memo Suggested Burying Drug Studies (Update4)

An executive of GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the world’s second-biggest drugmaker, talked about burying negative studies linking its antidepressant drug Paxil to birth defects, according to a company memo introduced at a trial.
“If neg, results can bury,” Glaxo executive Bonnie Rossello wrote in a 1997 memo on what the company would do if forced to conduct animal studies on the drug. The memo was read during opening statements in the trial of a lawsuit brought by the family of a child born with heart defects.

The Philadelphia trial is the first of more than 600 cases alleging that London-based Glaxo knew Paxil caused birth defects and hid those risks to pump up profits.

NOTE BY Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org): In my small church congregation in Utah (maybe 100 families) there were two cases of SSRIs birth defects that I was aware of. In one case the mother was on Paxil and the other was a mother on Prozac. Both babies had to have heart surgery at birth or not long after. Because of that the number of 600 cases that have been filed is no surprise to me at all other than the number seems small in comparrison.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20670001&sid=ae8Ie3hNoafw

Glaxo Executive’s Memo Suggested Burying Drug Studies (Update4)
Share | Email | Print | A A A

By Jef Feeley and Margaret Cronin Fisk

Sept. 15 (Bloomberg) — An executive of GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the world’s second-biggest drugmaker, talked about burying negative studies linking its antidepressant drug Paxil to birth defects, according to a company memo introduced at a trial.

“If neg, results can bury,” Glaxo executive Bonnie Rossello wrote in a 1997 memo on what the company would do if forced to conduct animal studies on the drug. The memo was read during opening statements in the trial of a lawsuit brought by the family of a child born with heart defects.

The Philadelphia trial is the first of more than 600 cases alleging that London-based Glaxo knew Paxil caused birth defects and hid those risks to pump up profits. The drug, approved for U.S. use in 1992, generated about $942 million in sales last year, 2.1 percent of Glaxo’s total revenue.

The family of Lyam Kilker claims Glaxo withheld information from consumers and regulators about the risk of birth defects and failed to properly test Paxil. Kilker’s mother, Michelle David, blames Paxil for causing life-threatening heart defects in her 3-year-old son.

Glaxo officials urged scientists to withhold information about Paxil’s risks from a paper laying out the company’s “core safety philosophy” for the drug, said Sean Tracey, a lawyer for Kilker and David, in his opening statement in the trial.

“They said if there’s any doubt, take it out,” Tracey told jurors. “They do not want to scare anybody. It’s a very competitive marketplace. It’s a multibillion-dollar industry.”

‘Rare Thing’

Glaxo executives contend that the boy’s heart defect wasn’t caused by Paxil, Chilton Varner, one of the company’s lawyers, told jurors today in her opening statement. In court filings, Glaxo has said it appropriately tested and marketed the antidepressant drug.

“When Lyam Kilker was born in 2005, GSK had not received notice” of his specific type of heart defect in connection with Paxil use, Varner said. “The numbers will tell you the defect is a rare thing.”

The Paxil label at that time reported about animal studies, “including the rate of deaths,” she said.

Glaxo didn’t target pregnant women and its sales force didn’t use strong-arm tactics to push prescriptions, Varner said. “Whatever the marketing was, it played no role in Ms. David’s doctors’ decision to prescribe Paxil or Ms. David’s decision” to take the drug, she said.

Rat Studies

Glaxo officials purchased the compound sold as Paxil from a Danish company that had done animal studies showing young rats died after taking low doses of the drug, Tracey said in his opening statement.

One of the company’s scientists noted in internal documents in 1980 that information in the rat studies suggested Paxil “could be” a cause of birth defects, Tracey said. Still, the drugmaker refused for almost 20 years to do studies on why the young rats died, he added.

Tracey told jurors they would see documents in the trial that the company hadn’t turned over to regulators or congressional investigators. “You are going to see docs that have never seen light of day before,” he said.

For example, Tracey pointed to a 1998 internal review by Glaxo of all reports of side effects tied to Paxil and officials found “an alarmingly high number” of birth-defect reports. Even with those concerns, the report was never turned over to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and “the alarming language” was deleted from it, the lawyer said.

In 2001, the company received a letter from a woman who used Paxil during her pregnancy and decided to abort her fetus after tests showed it had birth defects, Tracey said.

Internal Report

In analyzing the woman’s case, Glaxo officials concluded in an internal report that it was “almost certain” the fetus’s birth defects were caused by his mother’s Paxil use, the family’s lawyer added. Still, the company didn’t turn over its analysis to the FDA or beef up the drug’s warning label, Tracey said.

It wasn’t until after the FDA ordered Glaxo and other makers of antidepressants in 2003 to do more safety studies on their products that Glaxo officials publicly acknowledged that Paxil increased the risk of birth defects, Tracey said.

The lawyer for David, a college nursing student who was a former cheerleader for the National Basketball Association’s Philadelphia 76ers, told jurors that Glaxo hid Paxil’s problems to protect its profits.

Paxil is “the No. 1 asset to this day this company has ever owned,” the attorney said.

‘Quite Different’

Varner said she will present “quite different” evidence on animal tests tied to Paxil.

“The animal testing did not suggest Paxil caused birth defects,” Varner said. The FDA considered the tests when it approved the drug for use by U.S. consumers in 1992, she said.

When Glaxo officials considered offering Paxil for sale in Japan, internal records show executives worried in 1994 they might have to do more safety testing on the antidepressant, said Dr. David Healy, an Irish psychiatrist testifying as an expert for Kilker’s family in the case.

It may be the “type of study we wish to avoid,” Jenny Greenhorn, an official in Glaxo’s international regulatory affairs unit, said in a memo.

Glaxo also is fighting suits in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. over claims that Paxil, also known by the generic name paroxetine, causes homicidal and suicidal behavior. The company has settled some suicide claims, though terms of the settlements haven’t been released.

New York Settlement

In 2004, the drugmaker agreed to pay the state of New York $2.5 million to resolve claims that officials suppressed research showing Paxil may increase suicide risk in young people. The settlement also required Glaxo to publicly disclose the studies.

The company’s provision for legal and other non-tax disputes as of June 30 was 1.7 billion pounds ($2.8 billion), the company said in a July 22 regulatory filing that didn’t mention the Paxil litigation.

“We do not disclose our legal reserves for any specific litigation matter,” Glaxo spokesman Kevin Colgan said earlier this month.

Glaxo American depositary receipts, each representing two ordinary shares, fell 68 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $38.76 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading today. Glaxo fell 14 pence, or 1.2 percent, to 1,175.5 pence in London.

The case is Kilker v. SmithKline Beecham Corp. dba GlaxoSmithKline, 2007-001813, Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jef Feeley in Philadelphia jfeeley@bloomberg.net; Margaret Cronin Fisk in Southfield, Michigan, at mcfisk@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: September 15, 2009 17:03 EDT

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