Dangers Associated with Antidepressant Medication
Amidst the pressures of day-to-day life, all of us occasionally get a case of the blues. The change in seasons and the weather is known to have a definite effect on people’s moods. Oftentimes a loss of some sort, such as a job loss, relationship breakup, or a death in the family, will precipitate a period of depression, where your outlook is bleak and your energy levels are low. Symptoms of general depression can interfere with everyday life, and a visit to the doctor will often find you leaving their office with a prescription for an antidepressant. While medication has helped many people recover from depression, there are dangerous side effects associated with the antidepressant medication, particularly with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). As these types of medicines are prescribed more and more, it is important to be aware of the potential harmful effects these drugs may have on your overall health.
Side Effects Associated with SSRIs
According to a study by the Harvard medical School, the rates for antidepressant use in the United States have skyrocketed over the last 20 years. Approximately one in every 10 Americans is currently on some form of antidepressant, and antidepressants are the third most common type of medicine prescribed to patients. While many doctors credit SSRIs with treating a condition that all too often went undiagnosed and untreated in the past, there are still concerns over the potentially dangerous side effects of these types of medication. Side effects associated with antidepressants include the following:
- Headaches, nausea, skin rashes, and joint and muscle pain
- Dizziness and feeling faint
- Abnormal blood clotting, and increased risk for stomach and uterine bleeding
- Tics, trembling in the arms or legs, muscle spasms, and loss of motor skills
- Sexual problems
- Drug interactions resulting in serotonin syndrome, causing dizziness, fever, and delirium
In addition to the above, there has long been controversy and concern over the increased risk of violence and suicidal behavior among people taking SSRIs, especially among young people. The FDA began using ‘Black Box’ warnings on all common antidepressants in October 2004 after studies showed the risk of suicidal thinking doubled in both children and adults taking antidepressants.
Risks to Pregnant Mothers
The effects of antidepressants on pregnant women and their children has also long been a cause for concern. A June 2015 news report about the link between birth defects and antidepressant medicines concerns pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. and indicates that reports from the company show scientists had previously warned Pfizer about the dangers of one its best selling medications, the antidepressant drug Zoloft. The report indicates that executives knew about the potential for birth defects caused by Zoloft, in particular that there was the chance it could cause heart abnormalities in the infants of women who had used the drug. Pfizer is currently the target of over 1,000 lawsuits by parents seeking damages for medical expenses as the result of the harm to their newborns.
Let Us Assist You Today
If you or someone you care about has suffered the adverse effects of antidepressant medication, contact our experienced South Carolina medical malpractice attorneys right away. At Anastopoulo Law Firm we can help you get the compensation you deserve for the damages you have suffered. With offices in Charleston and throughout South Carolina, we’ll fight for your rights, and hold responsible parties accountable. Call us today for a free consultation.