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The Zoloft Drug Lawsuit

Zoloft (sertraline chloride) is an antidepressant manufactured by Pfizer, which generates billions of dollars in revenue each year. It is considered a safer alternative to other antidepressants such as Prozac, which was introduced to the market by Eli Lilly in 1987.

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What is Zoloft?

Zoloft is part of group of antidepressants categorized as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitora (SSRIs). Zoloft is used to treat patients who suffer from panic disorder, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) remain one of the most popular medications to treat the disorders listed above, but they are not without medical risks. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that there can be serious health risks by taking Zoloft.

What is Zoloft used for?

Zoloft is most often prescribed to treat major mental health conditions such as major depressive disorders (MDD), which currently affects an estimated 7% of the United States adult population. Zoloft has been successful in helping many depressed patients, who have up to a 20% increased risk of suicide if their major depression is left untreated. Zoloft can also be used to treat a variety of other conditions as mentioned above. Before taking Zoloft or any other antidepressant it is important to understand the severity of your condition as well as the associated risks of taking medication. Zoloft may help you if you suffer from depression. Depressed patients may experience the following severe health conditions:

  • Depression or extreme sadness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleep
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feelings of inadequacy
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Suicidal attempts
  • Mental agitation
  • Physical agitation
  • Loss of interest in normal activities

Zoloft Usage and Statistics

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates the rate of antidepressant use has skyrocketed nearly 400% in the United States since the late 1980s when the first SSRIs went on the market. In fact, the CDC estimates that as many as 11% of Americans over the age of 12 are on some type of antidepressant. Women are more likely to take antidepressants than men, and non-Hispanic whites are more likely to take antidepressants than minorities. What we do not know is why there has been such a substantial increase in antidepressant use. Some experts point to poor diet, lack of exercise, and obesity which they claim can all be contributing factors. Others argue it is much more likely that many people are simply taking their mental health more seriously, and the increased use in antidepressants, such as Zoloft, simply signifies that there is less stigma now for patients to seek proper mental health treatment.

How Zoloft Works

Sertaline, marketed with the brand name Zoloft, can be used to treat a variety of serious mental health conditions. This medication, through the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), helps restore the natural levels of serotonin in the brain which can improve a patient’s sleep, appetite, energy level, and mood. It does this by allowing certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to block receptors in the brain cells that reabsorb the chemical serotonin, amplifying or increasing the amount of chemicals available in the brain. This increase allows the brain to send messages more efficiently between the nerve cells.

Side Effects of Zoloft

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Headaches
  • Restlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Increased sweating
  • Weight loss
  • Weight gain
  • Insomnia
  • Drowsiness
  • Tremors
  • Suicidal thoughts

Zoloft Medical Studies

In 2007, the FDA required manufacturers of antidepressants, including Zoloft, to include warnings on the medication that it could increase the risk of suicide in younger users, especially in the initial stages of treatment. Woman who are pregnant or who expect to become pregnant have also been warned to avoid Zoloft, which is considered a category “C” medication (a “C” classification indicates animal studies have shown some harm to the fetus, but there have been no adequate studies in humans). Injuries to a fetus, however, are possible including birth defect such as anencephaly and facial malformations. Babies can also experience withdrawal symptoms. Finally, patients who suffer from liver or kidney disease, or those with other conditions such as seizures should talk to their doctors before taking Zoloft.

Zoloft Black Box Warnings

  • Black box warnings for Zoloft include an increased risk of suicidal behavior in children, young adults, and adolescents, specifically young adults under the age of 24. The FDA has suggested the decision to use Zoloft or any other antidepressants for a young adult should be weighed against this potential risk. If you are using Zoloft it is important to be under the care of a medical doctor who is monitoring your treatment and who is watching for increases in unusual behavior, including increased suicidal tendencies. Zoloft should not be used for pediatric patients except for the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD.

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