Pharmaceutical Litigation Attorneys


Pharmaceutical Litigation for Effexor Injuries

Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC is currently investigating claims on behalf of patients who have experienced serious side effects from Effexor. One of the specific claims our attorneys are investigating involve women who took Effexor while pregnant and had children born with birth defects. If you took Effexor while pregnant, and your child was born with a congenital heart defect, craniosynostosis, abdominal wall defects or another birth defect, now is the time to schedule a free consultation with a legal professional at our firm. You may have grounds for a lawsuit against manufacturer Pfizer or another potentially at-fault party. Our pharmaceutical litigation attorneys handle individual and class action lawsuits involving defective and dangerous prescription drugs and can offer insight regarding your particular options.  

What is Effexor?

Effexor (venlafaxine) is a prescription antidepressant that was introduced by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in 1993. Since 2009, it has been marketed by Pfizer, which purchased Wyeth. Effexor is currently approved by the FDA to treat depression and the following anxiety disorders in adults: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and social anxiety disorder. In 2007, venlafaxine was the sixth most prescribed antidepressant in the U.S., with more than 17 million prescriptions. Effexor is meant to work by leveling out imbalances in norepinephrine and serotonin. Those are the naturally-occurring chemicals in the brain believed to impact mood. It is included in a class of drugs called selective serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Like most antidepressant medications, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists Effexor in the pregnancy-related Category C drug list. Category C drugs have caused negative side effects on test animals during laboratory trials. Since ethical restrictions are in place that prevent drug testing on human infants, any negative effects of Effexor on babies can only be measured by direct medical observations and the incidence of birth defects or other injuries.  

Birth Defects and Other Effexor Side Effects

Since its introduction on the U.S. market, Effexor has been under scrutiny for serious side effects experienced by some patients. Various international studies have been conducted to evaluate the link between birth defects in newborns of mothers who took Effexor during pregnancy. The drug currently carries a black box warning citing an increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, teens, and young adults. Effexor has been the subject of litigation, including numerous lawsuits alleging adverse effects such as suicidal tendencies, violent behavior and birth defects. Some birth defects that may be linked to Effexor include:
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Neural tube defects
  • Abdominal wall defects
  • Anal atresia
  • Cleft lip
  • Cleft palate
  • Club foot
  • Craniosynostosis
The results of several studies have been published, addressing the potential link between Effexor and birth problems/defects. This includes a May 2010 study by researchers at the University of Montreal, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The study suggested that women who took antidepressants during the first trimester of pregnancy were 68% more likely to suffer a miscarriage than women who do not take antidepressants. Effexor in particular was found to carry one of the highest risks of miscarriage. Two other studies, conducted in 2009 and 2010 and published in the British Medical Journal and Pediatrics, addressed the link between antidepressants and birth defects. The 2009 study found an increased risk of heart defects in infants born to mothers who took antidepressants (including Effexor) during the first trimester of their pregnancies. The 2010 study uncovered a potential link between antidepressants and developmental delays in the children of mothers who took the drugs late in their pregnancies.  

Call a Lawyer at Napoli Shkolnik

If your child experienced birth defects, and you think it may be related to Effexor side effects, call us. It can be difficult to know whether you have grounds for an Effexor lawsuit. Allow a skilled lawyer at our firm the opportunity to review your case, and you can find out what can be done. We are prepared to investigate cases of birth defects linked to Effexor on behalf of clients across the United States. With more than 150 years of combined experience and an unwavering commitment to client service, we fight for the injured. Call today.
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