Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman changed its name to Wisner Baum in January 2023.

Neural Tube Defects

Antidepressants and Neural Tube Defects

Neural Tube DefectsWhat are neural tube defects?

Neural tube defects (NTDs) are birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. During the third and fourth week of pregnancy the embryonic neural tube develops and begins to close, forming what will become the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). When the neural tube of an embryo fails to close completely, an NTD occurs.

There are different types of neural tube defects that occur at different stages of neural tube development. Spina bifida and anencephaly are two examples of NTDs.

Celexa Birth Defects | Lexapro Birth Defects

Spina bifida forms, symptoms and complications

Spina bifida occurs when the tube that forms the spinal cord and spine fails to properly fuse and the bones of the spine (vertebrae) do not completely close around the spinal cord. Spina bifida may be closed (covered by skin) or open (the skin does not cover the defect). There are different types of spina bifida with different complications ranging from mild back pain to severe physical and mental disabilities.

  • Spina bifida occulta: Also called hidden spina bifida, spina bifida occulta is a less severe form of spina bifida. In occulta spina bifida, there is a very small split in the vertebrae that protect the spinal cord.This congenital defect is not harmless however, since studies suggest it can lead to severe back pain and can affects normal bowel or urinary function. Symptoms also include a dimple in the skin, a lipoma or a birthmark at the site of the lesion.
  • Meningocele: This type of spina bifida occurs when the membranes that protect the spinal cord (meninges) protrude through the vertebral column. This cerebrospinal fluid may collect within a sac that may be visible as a bulge on the lower back. Meningocele is considered a moderate form of spina bifida. Some infants born with meningocele may be asymptomatic while others may suffer from incomplete paralysis and urinary/bowel dysfunction. Treatment for meningocele may involve surgery, especially if the defect is not covered by skin.
  • Myelomeningocele: Also known as cleft spine, myelomeningocele is the most severe type of spina bifida. This defect occurs when the spinal cord protrudes through an opening in the spine, leaving the spinal cord and meninges (protective coating of the spinal cord) vulnerable to damage. Myelomeningocele can lead to paralysis in parts of the body underneath the opening. This type of spina bifida can also lead to bowel and urinary dysfunction, meningitis (a life threatening infection), hydrocephalus (extra fluid in the brain) and tethered cord syndrome. Although surgery cannot correct the defect, surgical treatment is usually required to close the opening in the back and prevent infection to an infant’s spinal cord. Physical and psychological therapy may be needed to help a child deal with the physical and emotional hardships associated with myelomeningocele.


Anencephaly is a neural tube defect that occurs when the head end of the neural tube does not form properly. The incomplete closure of the “cephalic” or head end of the neural tube prevents a large portion of the brain from developing, particularly the forebrain and cerebrum. Anencephaly is a fatal congenital defect with affected infants being either stillborn or dying shortly after birth.

There is no treatment and no cure for fetal anencephaly.

Causes of neural tube defects

Research has shown that taking antidepressants during pregnancy can affect the developing fetus in many negative ways. A 2007 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found a link between the use of certain antidepressants during pregnancy and a higher risk of the NTD anencephaly.

Contact Us Today

No Fees Unless We Win
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • +1
    Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please enter your city.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.
  • Pharmaceutical Settlement $105 Million Settlement

    Wisner Baum obtained $105 million on behalf of multiple clients involved in a pharmaceutical negligence case.

  • Paxil Pediatric Class Action $63 Million Settlement

    $63 million pediatric class action re false promotion of Paxil. Judge approves final terms of improved national pediatric paxil class action settlement – consumers get a better deal.

  • Third-Party Payer Class Action $40 Million Settlement

    $40 million third-party payer class action re off-label promotion of Paxil. Judge approves $40 million settlement in the second phase of national pediatric paxil class action – insurance companies to be reimbursed.

  • Defective Drug Class Action $28 Million Settlement

    $28 million Paxil defective drug class action. A class action has been brought in the US territory of Puerto Rico against UK-based drug major GlaxoSmithKline.

  • Celexa-Lexapro Pediatric Class Action $10 Million Settlement

    $10 million pediatric class action re false promotion of Celexa and Lexapro. Babies born to women who have used Lexapro and other similar medications such as Zoloft, Celexa, Prozac, Paxil, and Symbyax are at an increased risk for birth defects.

  • Drug Injury $9 Million Settlement

    Wisner Baum obtained a $9 million settlement on behalf of an individual who was injured by a drug.

  • Best Law Firms 2023
    Best Law Firms 2023

    A ranking in The U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” is widely regarded by both client and legal professionals as a significant honor. It is considered the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals anywhere.

  • The Truck Safety Coalition
    The Truck Safety Coalition

    Wisner Baum is proud to be a sponsor of The Truck Safety Coalition, a a group of caring individuals dedicated to reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by truck-related crashes. Our support enables them to help families and save lives.

  • California Powerhouse
    California Powerhouse

    Law360 recognizes law firms that have a strong regional presence, working on important matters within their home state. “[Wisner Baum] possesses a David v. Goliath-sized slingshot while seeking justice for everyday citizens it believes were harmed or killed through corporate wrongdoing.”

  • Elite Trial Lawyers
    Elite Trial Lawyers

    NLJ and American Lawyer Media honor law firms and attorneys as Elite Trial Lawyers for their cutting-edge legal work on behalf of plaintiffs in practice areas ranging from mass torts to securities litigation.

  • Listed in Best Lawyers
    Listed in Best Lawyers

    Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. A listing in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers.

  • AV Top Ranked Law Firm
    AV Top Ranked Law Firm

    Less than one-half of one percent of firms across the nation have achieved this ranking. A firm must have a high percentage of lawyers who have achieved the prestigious AV® Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell®.

  • Verdicts Hall of Fame
    Verdicts Hall of Fame

    The National Law Journal inducted Wisner Baum into the Verdicts Hall of Fame for obtaining the $2 billion landmark verdict in the Roundup cancer case of Pilliod et al. v. Monsanto. The verdict was #1 in California and #2 in the U.S. in 2019 and is #9 in American history.

  • Super Lawyers
    Super Lawyers

    Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

  • National Trial Lawyers Top 100
    National Trial Lawyers Top 100

    The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 recognized the law firms of Wisner Baum, the Miller Firm and Audet & Partners with the 2019 Trial Team of the Year award (in the Mass Torts category) for their work in the groundbreaking case of Dewayne “Lee” Johnson v. Monsanto Company.

  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated
    AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated

    An AV® rating reflects an attorney who has reached the heights of professional excellence. The rating signifies the highest legal ability, and very high adherence to professional standards of conduct, ethics, reliability, and diligence.

  • Avvo 10.0 Rating
    Avvo 10.0 Rating

    Wisner Baum is proud to have all of its lawyers listed in Avvo, a legal directory connecting people in need of legal services with lawyers and connecting lawyers to lawyers. Eight of our attorneys have earned a 10.0 perfect rating with Avvo.

  • Top Jury Verdict in <br> CA and USA
    Top Jury Verdict in
    CA and USA ranks our $2 billion verdict in Pilliod et al. v. Monsanto as the biggest verdict in California and the second largest verdict in the U.S. in 2019. It is the ninth largest verdict in U.S. history.

  • Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers
    Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers

    Published annually, the Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers list recognizes the “best of the best” in this area of the law through nominations, research, and review by a board of their peers.

  • Product Liability Practice Group of the Year
    Product Liability Practice Group of the Year

    In 2020, Law360 honored the law firms ”behind the litigation wins and major deals that resonated throughout the legal industry.” It recognized our success in several landmark cases.

  • Top Personal Injury Jury Verdict in California
    Top Personal Injury Jury Verdict in California

    In 2018, our $289 million Johnson v. Monsanto verdict was the largest personal injury verdict in California. also ranked it #2 among all verdicts in California and #10 in the nation.

  • Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers
    Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers

    The Bar Register is the definitive guide to the most distinguished law firms in America. It includes only those select law practices that have earned the highest rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory and have been designated by their colleagues as preeminent in their field.


Firm Reviews

What Our Clients Are Saying
  • I Can’t Imagine a Better Law Firm

    “Multiple lawyers recommended Wisner Baum to me and I have been consistently impressed with the quality of their work.”

    - Best Law Firms Survey
  • They Are About Changing the Systems...

    “Wisner Baum are not only amazing attorneys but more importantly, they are activists. They are about changing the systems which got us into trouble in the first place. They understand their role in the process of making change.”

    - Kim Witczak
  • Top Legal Minds in the Country

    “The Wisner Baum firm has some of the top legal minds in the country; they are driven, determined, trustworthy, ethical and passionate.”

    - From Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms
  • Diligent & Professional Representation

    “Thanks to your efforts I was able to recover from a tragic experience and turn my life around for the best.”

    - W.T.
  • Our Best Interest Was Always Number One on Your List

    “A special thank you to your Spanish-speaking staff for the extra effort put into this case. The language barrier was never a problem, and we are so very thankful to them. Your name holds much respect in our family.”

    - G.C. & C.C