Congenital clubfoot is a severe birth defect in which the foot is turned inward and downward, and the calf muscles of the affected foot are often underdeveloped. Although the cause of clubfoot is still not clearly understood by the medical community, there have been studies that have linked clubfoot to the maternal use of certain SSRI antidepressant medications during pregnancy. Drugs in the SSRI class include Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, Wellbutrin and Celexa.
Clubfoot Suit Review: If you or somebody you know has a child who was born with clubfoot after being exposed to an antidepressant drug in the womb, you should contact our lawyers immediately. Consultations are always free. Please use our confidential email contact form or call toll free 24 hrs/day by dialing (866) 588-0600.
Which drugs have been linked to clubfoot?
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants are the most widely prescribed medications to treat depression and other serious psychological disorders in the United States. The first SSRI that was approved for sale on the U.S. market was Prozac in 1987. Since then, a number of other brands of SSRIs have been introduced into the market.
Unfortunately, SSRI-related birth defects have been established by a number of clinical studies conducted over the past several years. Among the reported birth defects is a debilitating condition known as congenital clubfoot. The following SSRI antidepressants have been linked to the development of clubfoot in babies born to mothers who took the drugs during pregnancy (particularly in the first trimester, a time when many women are still unaware they are pregnant):
- Paxil (paroxetine)
- Zoloft (sertraline)
- Celexa (citalopram)
- Prozac (fluoxetine)
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
- Symbyax (fluoxetine and olanzapine)
- Wellbutrin (bupropion)
- Effexor (venlafaxine)
Congenital clubfoot (talipes equinovarus) describes a range of birth defects in which an infant’s foot is twisted out of shape or position. The term ‘clubfoot’ refers to the way the foot is positioned at a sharp angle to the ankle, shaped much like the head of a golf club. Clubfoot is a relatively common congenital abnormality, and babies born with this defect are usually otherwise relatively healthy. Clubfoot birth defects can range from mild to severe, and may affect one or both feet.
Congenital abnormalities involving the foot fall into two separate and distinct categories: positional deformitiesand malformations. Positional deformities are considered ‘packaging defects’ of the foot, while malformations are ‘manufacturing defects’ in which the parts are incorrectly formed. Congenital clubfoot in considered a malformation – the bones, joints, and blood vessels of the limb are fundamentally abnormal.
Clubfoot is not typically painful to the affected child, and it doesn’t bother the baby until he or she begins to stand and walk. If left untreated, the ankle remains twisted, and the foot is unable to move up and down as it normally would. If both feet are affected (which occurs in about half the cases), the child walks on the sides or even the top part of the feet instead of on the soles. The surface area walked on may become infected and develop large, hard callouses. Painful arthritic side effects may also accompany the condition.
How common is clubfoot?
Although the exact number of babies born with clubfoot is unknown, the defect is estimated to occur in approximately 1 in 1,000 live births in the United States. Incidences of clubfoot vary dramatically from culture to culture. For example, it occurs in approximately 75 out of every 1,000 live births in the Polynesian islands, particularly in Tonga.
The male-to-female ratio for congenital clubfoot is approximately 2:1. Bilateral involvement is found in 30-50% of cases. There is about a 10% chance that a subsequent baby will be born with clubfoot if the parents already have a child with the condition.
Signs & Symptoms of Clubfoot
- top of the foot twisting downward and inward
- upside down appearance of the foot
- underdeveloped calf muscles
- affected foot shorter than the other
- foot cannot be brought to normal position
How is clubfoot diagnosed?
Congenital clubfoot is usually easily recognizable during the newborn’s initial examination. The defect can be positively diagnosed with a physical examination alone, though in some cases the doctor may recommend additional tests, such as X-rays. Clubfoot is sometimes diagnosed before birth during an ultrasound procedure. Though the defect cannot be treated while the baby is still in the womb, parents have the opportunity to locate an orthopedic specialist to learn about treatment options.
Treatment & Outlook
Treatment for clubfoot is typically initiated shortly after birth, and involves an orthopedic specialist moving the foot into the correct position and using a cast to keep it in place. Gentle stretching and recasting are done progressively to improve the position of the foot. After the child’s feet have finally reached the correct position, a special brace is worn nearly all the time for three full months, and at night and during naps for up to three years after that.
A small number of severe cases of clubfoot will require surgical intervention if other courses of treatment fail, or if the problem returns. Children born with clubfoot are typically monitored on a routine basis until the feet are fully grown. If treatment is successful, the outcome is usually very good and patients are able to lead healthy, productive lives.
Is there a time limit in filing a clubfoot lawsuit?
Although we encourage all our potential clients to take great care in selecting their clubfoot lawyer, it is important that you understand that time is of the essence. The applicable statute of limitations in your state may time bar your claim. Furthermore, we are unable to provide you with legal advice without first evaluating your potential case. Accordingly, please take the time now to contact us by using the confidential email contact form below or by calling us toll free 24 hrs/day by dialing (866) 588-0600.
We hope we will be able to assist you with your potential antidepressant-induced clubfoot birth defects lawsuit and look forward to speaking with you.
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