Did you know that the maternal use of certain prescription medications during pregnancy can increase the risk of birth defects like Down syndrome by up to 60%? Down syndrome is a severe chromosomal disorder characterized by intellectual disability, heart defects, and a variety of other serious health problems. If you took any of the drugs mentioned in this article while pregnant and your child was born with Down syndrome, you may be entitled to cash compensation.
Down Syndrome Lawsuit Review: If you or somebody you know has a child who has been diagnosed with Down syndrome after being exposed to a prescription medication 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 Down Syndrome?
In ancient times, birth defects were seen as warnings or punishments from the gods. Even until quite recently, it was believed that relatively minor events that occurred during pregnancy – such as being frightened unexpectedly – could lead to specific congenital abnormalities in the baby. Such folk beliefs still persist among a great many people. However, in actuality most birth defects can be traced to a variety of chemical factors, including drugs. The following prescription medications have been associated with Down syndrome if taken by expecting mothers in their first trimester of pregnancy:
- Paxil (paroxetine)
- Zoloft (sertraline)
- Celexa (citalopram)
- Prozac (fluoxetine)
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
- Symbyax (fluoxetine and olanzapine)
- Wellbutrin (bupropion)
- Effexor (venlafaxine)
- Depakote (Divalproex Sodium)
- Depakote CP
- Depakote ER
- Depakene (valproic acid)
- Depacon (valproate sodium injection)
- Topamax (topiramate)
- Clomid (clomiphene citrate)
Down Syndrome Overview
Down syndrome is a congenital birth defect characterized by severe delays in physical and intellectual development. The condition occurs in approximately one in every 700 live births, and is the most frequently occurring chromosomal disorder. Down syndrome has not been found to be related to race, religion, nationality, or socioeconomic status.
Generally speaking, Down syndrome is caused by extra genetic material from chromosome 21. Each person normally has 23 pairs of chromosomes, for a total of 46 in all. A baby inherits one chromosome per pair from the mother’s egg and one from the father’s sperm. When an egg and sperm join together, they normally form a fertilized egg with 46 chromosomes.
When Down syndrome occurs, something goes wrong before fertilization. A developing egg or sperm cell may divide incorrectly, resulting in an extra chromosome 21. When this happens, the resulting embryo has 47 chromosomes instead of 46. Down syndrome is called trisomy 21 because affected individuals have three 21 chromosomes instead of two. This type of error occurs in approximately 95% of the cases of Down syndrome.
In rare cases, a part of chromosome 21 breaks off during cell division and becomes attached to another chromosome in the egg or sperm cell. This results in two normal copies of chromosome 21, plus extra chromosome 21 material attached to another chromosome. The resulting fetus has what is referred to as translocation Down syndrome. An even rarer form of the disorder is known as mosaicism. This occurs after fertilization, with affected individuals having some cells with an extra chromosome 21 and others with the normal number.
Down Syndrome Symptoms
Down syndrome is characterized by a distinct set of physical attributes, health issues, and cognitive developments. Signs and symptoms of antidepressant-induced Down syndrome may include:
- eyes that have an upward slant, oblique fissures, epicanthic skin folds on the inner corner, and white spots on the iris
- low muscle tone
- small stature and short neck
- flat nasal bridge
- single, deep creases across the center of the palm
- protruding tongue
- large space between large and second toe
- a single flexion furrow of the fifth finger
People with Down syndrome have an increased risk of developing a number of medically significant complications including (but not limited to):
- respiratory infections
- gastrointestinal tract obstruction (blocked digestive tract)
- heart defects
- hearing loss
- eye abnormalities
Individuals with Down syndrome typically have cognitive development profiles characteristic of mild to moderate mental retardation. Additionally, children with Down syndrome often have troubles with verbal communication and require speech therapy to assist with expressive language. Fine motor skills are also commonly delayed and tend to lag behind gross motor skills, with many affected children not being able to walk until the age of four. However, although many with Down syndrome will experience developmental delays, they may still be able to attend school and become active, productive members of the community.
How do doctors diagnose Down syndrome?
The following tests may be used to check for Down syndrome during a woman’s pregnancy:
- screening tests: identify a mother who is likely carrying a baby with Down syndrome. The most common screening tests are the Triple Screen and the Alpha-Fetoprotein Plus, which are designed to measure levels of certain substances in the blood.
- ultrasound: uses sound waves to look inside the mother’s uterus to allow the doctor to examine the fetus for physical signs of Down syndrome.
- diagnostic tests: To confirm a positive result identified in a screening test, one of the following diagnostic tests may be performed: chorionic villus sampling (CVS), amniocentesis, and percutaneous umbilical blood sampling (PUBS). Each takes a sample from the placenta, amniotic fluid, or umbilical cord, respectively, to examine the baby’s chromosomes and determine if he or she has an extra chromosome 21.
Down syndrome Prognosis (Outlook)
The life expectancy for individuals with Down syndrome has increased significantly over the years. In the 1930’s, the average life span for a person with Down syndrome was only nine years. Nowadays, it is not uncommon for a person with the condition to live to age 50 and beyond.
In addition to living longer, people with Down syndrome are enjoying a much improved quality of life. Many people with Down syndrome are able to form meaningful relationships and even eventually marry. However, because it is a defect involving chromosomes, there is currently no cure for Down syndrome.
Is there a time limit in filing a Down syndrome lawsuit?
Although we encourage all our potential clients to take great care in selecting their Down syndrome 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 Down syndrome birth defects lawsuit and look forward to speaking with you.
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