One out of every 33 babies in the United States is born with a birth defect.
Effexor (venlafaxine) is an antidepressant in a group of drugs known as selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSNRIs).The drug works on chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and as a result, cause depression.
When taken during pregnancy, Effexor has been linked to a variety of extremely severe birth defects and heart defects which are outlined in more detail below.
Effexor Birth Defects
Cleft lip and/or cleft palate – affects the upper lip and the roof of the mouth (palate). It happens when the tissue that forms in the roof of the mouth and upper lip don’t completely fuse together before birth.
Down syndrome – is a genetic condition in which a person has 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46. Symptoms vary from person to person and can display from mild to severe.
Hernia – Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is a birth defect of the diaphragm. Malformation of the diaphragm allows the abdominal organs to push into the proper lung formation.
Undescended testes in males – Testicles typically form within his abdomen and move down (descend) into the scrotum, shortly before birth. But in some cases, that move or descent doesn’t occur and the baby is born with a condition known as undescended testicles.
Effexor Heart Defects
Septal defects – referred to as a “hole in the heart” – is a type of congenital heart defect in which there is an abnormal opening in the dividing wall between the upper chambers of the heart (the atria). There is also Ventricular septal defect (VSD) which is a hole in the wall between the right and left ventricles of the heart.
Neural Tube Defects – birth defects of the brain and spinal cord such as spina bifida and Anencephaly (open cranium with the absence of a brain).
Spina bifida – is a birth defect that afflicts approximately 1 in every 1,000 children born in the United States each year. The condition is characterized by a malformation of one or more vertebrae that surround the spinal cord.
Clubfoot – a congenital deformity involving one foot or both.
If you're currently taking Effexor and are either pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you should talk with your doctor before making any decisions so they may help you assess your level of risk.
In February, one of the first Effexor Birth Defects Lawsuits was filed.