Prozac is probably one of the best-known prescription antidepressant meds throughout the entire world. In fact, it might be the most famous of any medication. This is due in large part to the fact that it’s been prescribed to patients for over a generation now. However, just because it is exceedingly popular doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe. In fact, it’s been the subject of countless lawsuits from all over the globe too.
What Is Prozac?
Prozac was approved by the FDA back in 1987. Initially, it was prescribed for depression, but that would eventually change. It didn’t take long for problems to emerge either. By 1990, the drug was linked to side-effects as dangerous as suicidal thoughts and even violent outbursts. However, more recently, the drug has triggered lawsuits because it may be responsible for birth defects.
Prozac is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, more commonly known as a SSRI. These types of drugs increase the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is one of the most important chemicals where mood and mental balance are concerned.
This is what makes Prozac so useful for treating conditions rooted in chemical imbalances. Depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and panic are just a few examples of this. Prozac has also been prescribed for some other conditions like premenstrual dysphoric disorder and eating disorders.
At the time of this writing, thousands upon thousands of people have filed lawsuits because of Prozac. Even though the drug has become extremely popular – and many people swear by it – plenty who have taken it for help with improving their well-being were victims of far worse symptoms.
The earliest cases focused on Prozac’s violent side effects. These claims targeted the manufacturer, Eli Lilly, for not properly warning doctors and consumers about these dangerous possibilities. When a patient who doesn’t have a chemical imbalance takes the drug, it seems to cause an imbalance. The result is an increased risk of extremely dangerous symptoms like violent behavior and suicidal thoughts.
During the 1990s, Eli Lilly took on widespread scrutiny because of Prozac. This was after several patients who took the drug went on to hurt themselves or others. Allegedly, before taking Prozac, this kind of behavior wasn’t like them at all.
Lawsuits became so common by 1992 that Prozac cases were moved to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana by a federal judicial panel. In the years leading up to 2000, Eli Lilly would pay out a reported sum of $50 million to settle Prozac lawsuits that numbered more than 30 and related to murders and suicides. Plenty more settlements would follow.
Prozac During Pregnancy Sparks More Cases
Eventually, it was discovered that taking Prozac during pregnancy could cause birth defects. Amongst these defects was anencephaly, which is fatal. Newborns could suffer from the following conditions because of their mother taking Prozac when pregnant:
- Damaged hearts
- Septal defects
- Cleft Palate or Lip
Even if the mother only took Prozac before the pregnancy, her baby could be born with persistent pulmonary hypertension, a condition where lung function is impaired and which can be life-threatening. Babies can also be born with cranial defects or congenital lung problems.
Despite all of these side effects and all of the lawsuits that followed – and settlements – Prozac is still on the market. Although the FDA requires that the medication is packaged with a black-box warning that describes the increased risk of suicidal thinking and other issues, doctors can still prescribe it.
Filing a Lawsuit Against Eli Lilly
As you may have recently taken Prozac and suffered some of its adverse consequences, it’s important that you understand what it will take to sue the manufacturer.
For one thing, always speak to a doctor if you believe the medication you’re taking is causing you harm. Only then should you proceed with contacting an attorney. Make sure it is one with experience working cases related to Prozac.
Lawsuits regarding birth defects related to the mother taking Prozac are currently being filed all across the country. This means that many of them may be consolidated into a class action lawsuit, which usually brings a better chance of settlements. Again, speaking with a qualified attorney will help.