Effexor Multidistrict Litigation: What You Need to Know

Due to multiple Effexor personal injury lawsuits being filed with common allegations, the suits have now been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has ordered that Effexor lawsuits concerning birth defects be consolidated, and the case has been assigned to Judge Cynthia M. Rufe in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Judge Rufe was chosen to preside over the effexor multidistrict litigation due to her experience with similar cases.

Plaintiffs allege that Effexor (active ingredient venlafaxine), a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) anti-depressant, caused severe cardiac birth defects while taken during pregnancy and that the warnings currently given for this drug are inadequate. The first lawsuit was filed in 2012 and more followed.

Though Effexor has been on the market since 1993, it became substantially more successful once it’s original manufacturer, Wyeth, was purchased by Pfizer in 2009. In 2011 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a bulletin regarding the dangers of SSRI use during pregnancy:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is updating the public on the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants by women during pregnancy and the potential risk of a rare heart and lung condition known as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). The initialPublic Health Advisory in July 2006 on this potential risk was based on a single published study. Since then, there have been conflicting findings from new studies evaluating this potential risk, making it unclear whether use of SSRIs during pregnancy can cause PPHN. http://www.fda.gov/drugs/drugsafety/ucm283375.htm

While Effexor has a slightly different chemical makeup, it is used by the body is essentially the same way as it’s SSRI predecessors and the agency has placed the same warnings on SNRI drugs (and also the closely related NDRIs) as SSRIs. This is also not the first time Effexor’s manufacturer has been admonished regarding the drug; in 2007 the FDA released a statement about misleading Effexor advertisements, specifically that risks were minimized and benefits overstated.

Scott Levensten has been helping victims secure compensation for injuries caused by defective drugs for nearly 20 years. If you’ve been harmed by Effexor contact us to schedule a consultation.