Effexor Lawsuit

Effexor is an SNRI type antidepressant that may cause a number of serious side effects and may cause birth defects. Drug maker Pfizer has faced multiple Effexor lawsuits filed by patients or loved ones of those who took Effexor and experienced serious injury, birth defects or death.

Quick Summary
Effexor Lawsuits

Effexor (venlafaxine) and Effexor XR is an antidepressant medication which is used to treat major depression and anxiety disorders. It was the first serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, or SNRI and works by increasing activity of serotonin and norepinephrine in certain areas of the brain.

A number of pregnant Effexor users have experienced severe birth defects as a result of taking Effexor during pregnancy. Some of these women and families whose children were born with birth defects have filed Effexor lawsuits against Pfizer and other lawsuit have been filed for suicidal thoughts behaviors and other serious injuries which may have been caused by Effexor.

Effexor Lawsuit Claims

Most Effexor lawsuits have been filed by women or couples whose children were born with birth defects as a result of Effexor use by the mother during pregnancy. Common birth defects that may be caused by Effexor include:

  • Heart defects and malformations
  • Physical defects such as cleft lip and palate
  • Respiratory distress
  • Anencephaly, or the absence of parts of the brain and skull
  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, or PPHN
  • Craniosynostosis, which causes abnormal skull and brain growth
  • Omphalocele, or an abdominal defect that causes organs to protrude from the belly button

Effexor Lawsuit Information

Effexor (venlafaxine) and Effexor XR is an antidepressant medication which is approved only to treat major depression and anxiety disorders. Effexor was the first serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, or SNRI and works by increasing activity of serotonin and norepinephrine in certain areas of the brain. It was launched in 1993 by drug manufacturer Wyeth, which was acquired by pharma giant, Pfizer.

Effexor treatment is highly discouraged in pregnant women. A number of pregnant Effexor users have experienced severe birth defects as a result of taking Effexor during pregnancy. As a result, Effexor lawsuit claims are arising against Pfizer for children born with debilitating birth defects. Other Effexor users have filed lawsuits for suicidal thoughts behaviors and other serious injuries

Effexor Birth Defects

Effexor use has been associated with a number of birth defects when the drug is taken during pregnancy. The FDA has given Effexor a pregnancy category of C. This “grade” signifies that Effexor has caused harm to animals during testing. However, there is no sufficient evidence to prove harm to humans, due to the fact that human testing is unethical.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal published a study in 2010 on venlafaxine, the active ingredient in Effexor. The study indicated that the risk of miscarriage was double in women who took the drug during pregnancy.

Documented Effexor birth defects include:

  • Heart defects and malformations
  • Physical defects such as cleft lip and palate
  • Respiratory distress
  • Anencephaly, or the absence of parts of the brain and skull
  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, or PPHN
  • Craniosynostosis, which causes abnormal skull and brain growth
  • Omphalocele, or an abdominal defect that causes organs to protrude from the belly button

Effexor is also associated with serious side effects which may result in permanent injury or death including:

  • Increased suicide risk
  • Withdrawal syndrome
  • Cardiac effects
  • Serotonin syndrome

Wyeth Misconduct

On December 10, 2007, the FDA released a statement discussing Effexor’s misleading advertising efforts by manufacturer Wyeth. The FDA stated that a specific ad minimized the risks of taking Effexor. The effectiveness of the drug was also overstated.

The ad argued that the drug prevented depressive episodes in 92 percent of cases as opposed to 55 percent with a placebo. According to the letter, the FDA stated that this claim was based on an inadequate study. Additionally, Wyeth claimed that 20 million people were treated with Effexor. This was also deemed misleading, as doctors and patients may associate these numbers with quality.

Effexor Lawsuit Claims

In the first Effexor lawsuit filed in 2012, a family claimed their daughter Adelaide was born with severe heart defects. Adelaide suffered a malformed mitral valve and aorta. These fatal malformations led to her death hours after she was born. Other notable claims have included:

  • Lisa Rooney and Wayne Halvorsen also filed an Effexor lawsuit for their daughter’s birth defects which began at the time of her birth in 2009. The birth defects required that their daughter undergo a number of surgeries. She was also expected to undergo a number of future surgeries to continue treatment for her heart condition.
  • In September 2012, an Illinois couple claimed that Effexor caused their daughter to be born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome in 2004. This rare condition left her with a severely underdeveloped left heart ventricle. The Adamczyk’s family alleges that Wyeth did not clearly warn consumers of the dangers of birth defects from Effexor treatment.
  • A Minnesota couple filed an Effexor lawsuit in January of 2014, claiming that their son was born with a number of birth defects which required multiple surgeries and was expected to require additional surgeries in the future. The couple claimed that the mother would not have taken Effexor if they had known of the risks.
  • In December 2014, an Effexor lawsuit was filed by Missouri parents of a son who weas born with serious heart defects in 2010. The family expected that the child would need ongoing medical treatments and future surgeries.

Filing a Effexor Lawsuit

Most Effexor lawsuits have not been settled and some users may still be at risk or have not had their legal claims addressed. Effexor patients who believe that Effexor has caused harm may be eligible to receive a settlement from Pfizer and should seek legal advice.

Notwithstanding claims relating to this product, the drug/medical device remains approved by the U.S. FDA.