Antidepressant medications which fall into the class of drugs known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) or SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) are frequently prescribed to treat depression and anxiety, as well as other mood disorders. Frequently these drugs are prescribed to women of child-bearing age.
The first SSRI drug to be introduced to the market was Prozac (1988), followed by Zoloft (1991), Paxil (1996) Celexa (1998), Effexor (1999), and Lexapro (2002).
Studies have shown that use of SSRIs or SNRIs during the first trimester of pregnancy is associated with increased risk of autism and congenital birth defects including cardiac defects, spina bifida, and neural tube defects as well as others.
In April 2012, Multi District Litigation (MDL) 2342 was created for Zoloft cases in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania before the Honorable Cynthia M. Rufe. Hundreds of cases against the various SSRI manufacturers are also pending throughout the country in a range of state court venues, including California.