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Paxil Side Effects and Lawsuits

As a result of taking Paxil while you were pregnant, did your baby have serious birth defects?

Have you suffered other serious side effects from taking Paxil. If this is the case, it would be a good idea to let a personal injury attorney review your case. Paxil is the trade name for a drug that is known as paroxetine. Paroxetine is an antidepressant drug that is of the type SSRI (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor). Paxil is one of the most selective and potent of the SSRI type of drugs.

What is Paxil used for?

Paxil is used in the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders and some personality disorders. Some of the conditions that Paxil is used to treat include:

  • Posttraumatic stress syndrome
  • Panic disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Social anxiety
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (psychological and physical signs and symptoms that take place prior to the beginning of a woman’s menstrual period)
  • Bipolar disorder (in conjunction with other medications)
  • Tingling in the feet and hands due to diabetes
  • Chronic headaches

History of Paxil

Paxil works by keeping receptors in your brain from reabsorbing serotonin that has already been released. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that is looked at as helping you to maintain feelings of well-being. In so doing, Paxil helps you sustain an optimistic equilibrium as it lessens negative feelings.

Paxil first came on the market in 1992. It was marketed by SmithKline Beecham, which was a British pharmaceuticals company. The company is now GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) after a series of corporate mergers.

Paxil was also approved in 1992 for sale and use in the United States by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). By 2007, Paxil had over 18 million yearly prescriptions and was the fifth-most prescribed antidepressant medication in the United States.

Side Effects of Paxil

Unfortunately, as with several other SSRI drugs, Paxil may cause several side effects. In addition to side effects that are thought of as being minor, there are several, serious, possible side effects that may result from the use of Paxil. These include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Allergic reaction
  • Fainting
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty with coordination or balance
  • Racing or abnormal heart rate
  • Suicidal thoughts

Paxil and pregnancy risks

In addition, for women who are pregnant, there is the risk of complications that include increased thoughts of suicide and serious birth defects in their child. Some of these possible birth defects, especially if Paxil is taken during the first trimester of pregnancy include:

  • Miscarriage
  • Premature birth
  • Cleft palate or cleft lip
  • Club feet
  • Delayed development
  • Omphalocele (birth defect in which the child’s intestine or other abdominal organs stick out of their navel)
  • Septal heart defects
  • Spina Bifida
  • Hypoplastic Left/Right Heart Syndrome (HLHS)

Written prescription information from GlaxoSmithKline states, "If a patient becomes pregnant while taking paroxetine, she should be advised of the potential harm to the fetus. Unless the benefits of paroxetine to the mother justify continuing treatment, consideration should be given to either discontinuing paroxetine therapy or switching to another antidepressant."

Once again, if you believe that you or your child has suffered serious side effects as a result of you taking the drug while you were pregnant, it is a good idea to discuss your case with a personal injury attorney.