Spina Bifida/Neural Tube Defects Birth Defects

Spina Bifida/Neural Tube Defects Birth Defects

The leading law firm of Alonso Krangle LLP is investigating potential lawsuits on behalf of families whose child may have been born with spina bifida and other neural tube birth defects because of their mother’s use of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant during pregnancy. A growing body of research has linked the use of SSRI antidepressants to birth defects, including neural tube defects like spina bifida.

SSRIs that may be associated with the occurrence of neural tube defects include:

  • Celexa
  • Lexapro
  • Paxil
  • Prozac
  • Zoloft

The birth defect lawyers at Alonso Krangle LLP are leaders in defective drug litigation, and understand the difficult road families of children with spina bifida and other neural tube birth defects must travel. If your child’s suffering was caused by an SSRI antidepressant taken during pregnancy, your family deserves compensation from the maker of that drug. Filing a SSRI birth defect lawsuit could enable you to obtain money damages for your child’s current and future medical needs, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. The birth defect lawyers at Alonso Krangle LLP are currently offering free lawsuit consultations in all 50 states to any family who believes an SSRI caused their baby to suffer from spina bifida and other neural tube birth defects. To learn more about obtaining justice for your baby, please contact the SSRI birth defect lawyers at Alonso Krangle LLP today.

Spina Bifida and other Neural Tube Birth Defects

A neural tube defect is an opening in the spinal cord or brain. In the U.S., neural tube defects are fairly common with an estimated one in every one thousand live births.

Spina bifida and other neural tube defects occur early in fetal development, sometimes so soon that a woman is not aware that she is even pregnant yet.

The two most common neural tube defects are spina bifida and anencephaly. In spina bifida, the fetal spinal column doesn’t close completely during the first month of pregnancy. There is usually nerve damage that causes at least some paralysis of the legs.

Spina bifida is the most common neural tube defect. Spina bifida occurs at the end of the first month of pregnancy when the two sides of the embryo’s spine fail to join together, leaving an open area. In some cases, the spinal cord or other membranes may push through this opening in the back. There are four types of spina bifida:

  • Spina bifida occulta is the mildest form of spina bifida. Children with this form of spina bifida usually don’t have any health problems.
  • Closed neural tube defects: These are a diverse group of spinal defects in which the spinal cord is marked by a malformation of fat, bone, or membranes. Some babies with severe closed neural tube defects prevent few or no symptoms; in others the malformation causes partial paralysis with urinary and bowel dysfunction.
  • Meningocele: This occurs when spinal fluid and the meninges protrude through an abnormal vertebral opening. There are no exposed spinal cored or neural elements. Some individuals with meningocele may have few or no symptoms while others may experience symptoms similar to closed neural tube defects.
  • Myelomeningocele: The most severe form of spina bifida, myleomenigocele occurs when the spinal cord/neural elements are exposed through the opening in the spine. This may result in partial or complete motor paralysis and sensory deficits within the parts of the body below the spinal opening. Children born with myleomenigocele may be unable to walk and may have problems with their urinary and bowel functions.

The exact cause of neural tube defects like spina bifida is not known. Recent research has suggested that a deficiency of the B vitamin, folic acid, may play a role in their development. Other genetic and environmental factors may be associated with the condition. Some research has indicated that a mother’s use of SSRI antidepressants may be one risk factor for neural tube birth defect. For example, a 2007 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that use of SSRIs during the first trimester of pregnancy was associated with roughly twice the risk of birth defects. Individual SSRIs were also associated with an increased risk of cleft lip, cleft palate, pyloric stenosis, neural tube defects and other birth defects. A second study published that year, known as the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, found that pregnant women who took SSRIs were more than twice as likely to give birth to children with certain types of birth defects as women who did not take SSRIs.

There is no cure for spina bifida, and treatment will depend on the severity of the condition. Generally, children with the mild form need no treatment, although some may require surgery as they grow. Typically, a child born with spina bifida will have surgery to close the defect and prevent infection or further trauma within the first few days of life. Doctors have recently begun performing fetal surgery for treatment of myleomeningocele. However, this treatment is experimental and there are risks to the fetus as well as to the mother.

Learn more about Filing an SSRI Spina Bifida/Neural Tube Defect Lawsuit

If your child was born with spina bifida or another neural tube defect, and you believe an SSRI, including Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, or Zoloft, might be to blame, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the manufacturers of these medications. To learn more about the legal options available to you, please contact the SSRI birth defect lawyers at Alonso Krangle LLP by filling out our online form or calling 1-800-403-6191