Wellbutrin, Zyban and Birth Defects

The drug bupropion is sold under the brand names Wellbutrin, an antidepressant medication commonly used to treat severe depression and seasonal affective disorder, and Zyban, a smoking cessation medication used to help people stop smoking by reducing nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Bupropion is one of the most widely-prescribed antidepressant drugs available in the United States, and while it is known for its effectiveness in treating major depression and as a smoking cessation aid, research has shown that women who take Wellbutrin or Zyban during pregnancy may have an increased risk of giving birth to babies with heart birth defects, namely left outflow tract defects, which can restrict the flow of blood from the left side of the heart to the rest of the body.

In a study by American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, involving data from 12,700 children born in the United States between 1997 and 2004, researchers concluded that infants exposed to bupropion during the first trimester of pregnancy were more than twice as likely to develop a congenital heart defect.

Heart Malformations & Birth Defects Linked to Bupropion Use in Pregnancy

  • Pulmonary stenosis
  • Aortic stenosis
  • Coarctation of the aorta
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
  • Ventricular septal defects
  • Atrial septal defects
  • Tetralogy of Fallot (a combination of four heart defects present at birth)
  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN)
  • Clubbed foot
  • Cleft lip or palate
  • Gastroschisis
  • Enlarged heart
  • Macroencephaly
  • Neural tube birth defects
  • Spina bifida
  • Craniosynostosis
  • Delayed development
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Wellbutrin and Zyban Lawsuit Information

Wellbutrin and Zyban have been marketed by GlaxoSmithKline as safe and effective medications for the treatment of depression, and as a smoking cessation aid, respectively, but what many people don’t know is that their shared active ingredient, bupropion, has been linked to an increased risk of birth defects in infants exposed to the drug in utero. Unfortunately, because roughly 14-23% of pregnant women experience some form of depression during pregnancy, and because women who smoke typically try to quit when they become pregnant, many pregnant women have been prescribed Wellbutrin and Zyban, unaware that the drugs have the potential to cause serious harm to a developing fetus. As a result, product liability lawyers across the country are investigating claims on behalf of families who allege that GlaxoSmithKline knew about the risk of heart birth defects from Wellbutrin and Zyban, but failed to issue adequate warnings to patients and the medical community.

Reasons to File a Wellbutrin or Zyban Lawsuit

Women who took bupropion during pregnancy and gave birth to babies with serious birth defects may file Wellbutrin and Zyban lawsuits against GlaxoSmithKline, alleging that the drug maker:

  • Designed a defective medication
  • Knew about the risk of birth defects from bupropion
  • Failed to issue adequate warnings about the bupropion birth defect risk
  • Overstated the benefits of Wellbutrin and Zyban, while downplaying their risks
  • Put company profits ahead of patient safety

Financial compensation from a Wellbutrin or Zyban lawsuit can help with:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of income
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Permanent disability
  • Funeral costs

Studies Linking Bupropion to Birth Defects

Wellbutrin and Zyban have a troubled history, plagued by adverse event reports, FDA warnings, defective drug lawsuits and side effect studies. In one early study published in the British Medical Journal in 2009, it was reported that women who took an antidepressant drug in the first trimester of pregnancy had double the risk of giving birth to babies with septal heart defects, compared to women who didn’t take an antidepressant while pregnant, and women who took more than one antidepressant had quadruple the risk. In another study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology in 2010, an increased risk of congenital heart defects was discovered in infants exposed to bupropion during the early stages of pregnancy. In the study, which involved data from 12,700 children born in the United States between 1997 and 2004, researchers concluded that infants exposed to bupropion during the first trimester of pregnancy were more than twice as likely to develop a congenital heart defect.