Wellbutrin Birth Defects

Wellbutrin Birth Defects Target the Left Side of the Heart

According to a new study, women who took the antidepressant Wellbutrin (bupropion hydrochloride) during the first trimester of pregnancy may have an increased risk of giving birth to a baby with heart birth defects. Unfortunately, most of these must be corrected with surgery, and may create long-term health problems for the children affected. This new study will likely be used to help support plaintiffs seeking compensation in a Wellbutrin lawsuit.

What is Wellbutrin?

Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1985, Wellbutrin (bupropion hydrochloride) is a particular type of antidepressant that, instead of increasing the amount of “feel-good” serotonin in the brain, as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) do, increases the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine. It often works for those who’ve had no success with other antidepressants, and has been used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and seasonal affective disorder. Bupropion is also sold under the brand name Zyban to help people stop smoking.

Wellbutrin Birth Defects

The FDA has categorized Wellbutrin as a “pregnancy category C,” which means the drug may cause injury to unborn and nursing infants. A recent study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (July 2010) found a positive association between the use of bupropion during early pregnancy and heart birth defects. In fact, mothers who took Wellbutrin were more than twice as likely to give birth to infants with heart birth defects.

The National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS), funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), brought this new research to light. Scientists reviewed information on more than 12,000 infants, nearly 7,000 of which were diagnosed with heart birth defects, and nearly 6,000 of which were not. Results showed a positive link between the use of Wellbutrin and Zyban in the first three months of pregnancy and heart birth defects, particularly for those babies born with left outflow heart birth defects.

What is a Left Outflow Heart Birth Defect?

The heart pumps blood in a two-part process involving both sides of the muscle. The right side receives “used” blood from the body and pumps it into the lungs. The left side receives that oxygen-rich blood from the lungs and sends it back out to the rest of the body.

When a child is born with a left outflow heart birth defect, the left side of the heart is somehow underdeveloped or abnormal and can’t effectively do its job. Several things may contribute to this problem. One of the most common Wellbutrin birth defects was a narrowed aorta, which restricts blood flow to the body and requires surgery to repair. Other left outflow heart birth defects include hypoplastic left heart syndrome and pulmonary stenosis.

A Wellbutrin Lawyer Can Help

If your newborn suffers from a left outflow heart birth defect and you took an antidepressant during your pregnancy, you may have a right to compensation. A Wellbutrin lawyer can help you evaluate your potential claim in a Wellbutrin lawsuit. Dedicated to upholding women’s rights, Chaffin Luhana LLP is happy to provide a confidential case evaluation at 1-888-480-1123