Newborns may have Wellbutrin birth defects like congenital heart defects when the drug is taken by mothers during pregnancy. Other Wellbutrin side effects include suicidal behavior and seizures. We are working with some very experienced Wellbutrin lawyers, who can file a Wellbutrin lawsuit on your behalf. And, there are no legal fees until you receive a Wellbutrin settlement or award. Please contact us for a free consultation online or call us toll-free at 1-800-992-6878.
Wellbutrin (bupropion) is used to treat depression and seasonal affective disorder. It works by inhibiting norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake which in turns boosts the patient’s feeling of contentment. In December 1985, the FDA approved Wellbutrin for sale on the market by its manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Generic forms of Wellbutrin have been on the market for a number of years but the drug has still managed to earn impressive sales numbers for GSK. In 2005, Wellbutrin was one of the top five best-selling antidepressants with $1.5 billion in sales (i). More recently, sales have declined to just $67 million in U.S. sales and $127 million in global sales (ii). GSK manufactures and markets the drug bupropion in the following forms:
- Wellbutrin SR
- Wellbutrin XL
Wellbutrin Side Effects
Wellbutrin, like any drug, has the potential to cause both mild and serious side effects. In fact, the FDA has received over 12,000 adverse event reports where Wellbutrin was the primary suspect in causing the event (iii). Mild side effects of the drug include, but are not limited to, dizziness, headaches, diarrhea, nausea, and sexual side effects. However, medical studies have shown Wellbutrin has fewer sexual side effects than Lexapro, Prozac, and Zoloft (iv). Serious Wellbutrin side effects may include birth defects, suicidal behavior, and seizures. If you have received medical treatment due to taking Wellbutrin, you may want to talk to a lawyer about the possibility of a Wellbutrin lawsuit.
Wellbutrin Birth Defects
In recent years, a growing body of research has suggested a link between many types of antidepressants and birth defects. In April 2010, the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology published a study that recorded the health of more than 12,000 newborns over a seven year period. The researchers stated that “[w]e identified a positive association between early pregnancy bupropion [Wellbutrin] use and left outflow tract heart defects.” The primary heart defects reported were coarctation of the aorta, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and aortic stenosis (v). While heart defects were the focus of the previous study, other antidepressant studies have raised concerns about the use of these drugs and an increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns (PPHN).
- Abdominal birth defects
- Cleft lip or palate
- Down’s syndrome
- Hypoplastic Left/Right Heart Syndrome
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension (PPHN)
- Septal heart defects (atrial or ventricular)
- Spina bifida
- Or any other birth defects
Wellbutrin birth defects may include:
Wellbutrin Suicide Risks
Wellbutrin like all antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal behavior in certain patients. In fact, in October 2004, the FDA required all antidepressant manufacturers to include a black box warning about the increased risk of suicidal behavior in children and teenagers. This black box warning was later expanded because this increased suicide risk was also present in young adults up to the age of 24 (vi). Adverse Events, a group that standardizes FDA adverse event reports, found that 646 patients had completed suicide by October 2012. Completed suicides have made up 5% of all adverse event reports the FDA has received.
Wellbutrin is known to reduce a patient’s seizure threshold, and it has a seizure rate of about 1 in 1,000 patients. Therefore, doctors should not prescribe Wellbutrin to patients who have known seizure risks (vii). Additionally, convulsions were the second most common adverse event reported to the FDA by Wellbutrin patients. By 2012, the FDA had received more than 1,100 reports of such convulsions. Finally, the Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine has stated that “bupropion and other newer drugs, like tramadol and venlafaxine [Effexor], have emerged as common causes of drug-induced seizures (viii).”
GlaxoSmithKline and Wellbutrin Lawsuits
In July 2012, The New York Times reported that GSK reached a $3 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department. The company pleaded guilty to marketing drugs like Avandia, Paxil, and Wellbutrin for unapproved uses. GSK marketed Wellbutrin for sexual dysfunction and weight loss even though it was only approved for depression. The $3 billion settlement may seem large but it is small when compared to the profits GSK has been able earn from these drugs (ix). On the same day the $3 billion settlement was announced, a class action settlement was announced for a generic form of Wellbutrin called Budeprion. Budeprion is manufactured and marketed by Impax Laboratories and Teva Pharmaceuticals respectively. This generic form of Wellbutrin did not release the active ingredients of the drug in the same way Wellbutrin did which caused patients to suffer side effects. These side effects resulted in the class action lawsuit and in an FDA recall (x).
PLEASE TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE DISCONTINUING WELLBUTRIN OR ANY PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION.
Have You or a Loved One Suffered Adverse Events Related to Wellbutrin?
If you or a loved has suffered Wellbutrin birth defects or other serious side effects due to taking this drug, you may have a legal claim. You should find an experienced Wellbutrin lawyer to file a Wellbutrin lawsuit on your behalf because you may only have one chance at obtaining justice. Our law firm is currently working with some of the more experienced Wellbutrin attorneys in the country who will work towards getting you the Wellbutrin settlement or award you deserve.
Please contact at 1-800-992-6878 for more information or fill out a contact form for a free legal consultation.
- (i) USA Today, April 2007.
- (ii) GlaxoSmithKline 2012 Annual Report.
- (iii) Adverse Events, October 2012.
- (iv) Wellbutrin XL Webpage.
- (v) American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, April 2010.
- (vi) FDA Consumer Update, January 2009.
- (vii) Canadian Medical Association Journal, January 2002.
- (viii) Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine, March 2010.
- (ix) The New York Times, July 2012.
- (x) In Re: Budeprion XL Marketing & Sales Litigation, July 2012.