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Attorney Rick Piliponis - Heart Birth Defects Link to Wellbutrin

Kacy Hagerty: Well, if your child was born with a heart defect and you took Wellbutrin, we’ve got some interesting information for you today. I recently talked to Attorney Rick Piliponis at The Higgins Firm to learn more.

Rick, thanks for joining us today.

Rick Piliponis: Thanks for having me.

Kacy Hagerty: All right. We’re going to talk about a medical issue right now. So this is when mothers have had a child who has a heart defect and they have been taking Wellbutrin. Tell us more about this and how they are related and how it could turn into a lawsuit.

Rick Piliponis: Well, there are some studies that have linked – that are linking the early taking of Wellbutrin or Zyban or some of the other antidepressants in the early stages of pregnancy with heart defects in kids that are born to those mothers. So it can – it can cause some sort of defect, and if it does then that’s where a lawsuit comes.

Kacy Hagerty: Right. So what types of defects were you talking about?

Rick Piliponis: Well, we’re talking – there are a couple of specific heart defects that they focus on. One is – the main one is a narrowing of the main artery, the big artery from the heart, and that’s the primary defect that they’ve – studies have kind of – they have shown it’s related to or can be related to taking of those antidepressants.

Kacy Hagerty: And really the first thing mothers need to do is contact their doctor right away, right?

Rick Piliponis: Absolutely. Anytime you have any kind of health problems or anything that you need – you need a doctor to look at the child and have a doctor go in and examine – you know, see what the prognosis is for the child because I think as we discussed before, you have certain defects – you know, kids are born with some nominal defects all the time. And when they are, a lot of times they’ll just grow out of that defect, that it may be something that doesn’t cause any real future problems, it doesn’t cause any real future treatment.

Kacy Hagerty: Right.

Rick Piliponis: But some of these – these types of defects, if there’s a significant narrowing, if there are significant problems then you’re going to have – you’re going to have to have some further treatment.

Kacy Hagerty: Exactly. Now, secondly, you say, make sure to keep any prescription records you have. How is that – how is that going to help later on?

Rick Piliponis: Keep your prescription records, keep all of your medical records. You know, as best you can organize them it’s good to keep those because that will give – ultimately, that will give a doctor something better to review everything. That’s probably good advice for everybody, but specifically when you’re dealing with something who’s got some injuries or some defect that you have to look at.

Kacy Hagerty: And next step, of course, contact a lawyer.

Rick Piliponis: Sure. I mean that’s – you know, the only way to do it. And you have – you know, as a child, if you get hurt, you don’t have to bring any kind of lawsuit till you’re an adult, however, parents are responsible for children’s medical expenses early on in their life until they’re adults. In order to preserve those rights, you’ve got to bring that within a year, within the statute that we have in Tennessee.

Kacy Hagerty: Right. And talk more about time limits, of course, the sooner the better.

Rick Piliponis: The sooner the better. The sooner we can get something, the sooner we can get – you know, we can get a doctor to look at it, we can have someone analyze what’s going on and see if we can – if we can help or if there’s something we need to help.

Kacy Hagerty: Wonderful. Well, great advice, thanks so much.

Rick Piliponis: Thanks for having me.

Kacy Hagerty: The Higgins Firm is serving Tennessee. Give them a call at 615-353-0930. For more information and a link to their website,, go at

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