Zoloft side effects may include birth defects like persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns (PPHN) or septal heart defects. Our law firm works with some of the more experienced Zoloft lawyers across the country, who can file a Zoloft lawsuit for you and charge no legal fees unless you receive a settlement or award. Contact us for a free consultation online or call us toll free at 1-800-992-6878.
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Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant used to treat conditions like anxiety disorders, major depressive disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. SSRIs work by increasing serotonin levels, which then boost the brain’s ability to send and receive signals, and in turn improve the patient’s mood. In 1991, the FDA approved this medication for sale on the market by its manufacturer, Pfizer. It was one of the first SSRI antidepressants introduced and has earned Pfizer impressive sales numbers. In 2011, it was the third bestselling psychiatric drug with over 37 million prescriptions (i).
Zoloft Side Effects
This antidepressant has been linked to a range of side effects, and has been identified in more than 26,000 adverse event reports submitted to the FDA as the primary suspect of the adverse event (ii). Some of the more common side effects of this drug were drowsiness, nausea, allergic reactions causing swelling, and decreased sex drive. Additionally, serious side effects like birth defects and suicidal thinking have been linked to the use of the prescription drug.
Zoloft Birth Defects
One of the most common concerns with all antidepressants, but especially SSRIs such as this one, is birth defects. In fact, in 2006 the FDA issued a warning that this medication and other similar drugs had been linked to an increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns (PPHN). The FDA relied on a study of more than 1,000 pregnancies which found that women who took SSRIs like this drug during pregnancy were six times more likely to give birth to a newborn with PPHN (iii). Almost a year after this warning, the New England Medical Journal published a study which found that SSRI drugs were also linked to three other birth defects including: anencephaly (malformation of the skull), craniosynostosis (abnormal skull development), and omphalocele (growth of intestines or other organs outside of the body) (iv).
Other types of potential birth defects may include:
- 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
Zoloft Suicide Risk
It is suspected that this antidepressant has contributed to over 700 cases of suicidal thinking and over 500 completed suicides (v). The FDA has warned about this link between antidepressant use and suicidal thinking on several occasions. First, in 2004, the FDA required all antidepressant manufacturers to include a black box warning on their drugs stating that antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal thinking in children and teenagers. Upon further review of relevant research, the FDA warning was expanded in 2007 to indicate that the increased risk of suicidal thinking continued until age 24 (vi). Depression is a very serious condition and it is important that patients weigh both the benefits and the risks of taking antidepressants.
Pfizer and Zoloft Lawsuits
When this SSRI was first introduced to the market it was a blockbuster drug, but recently, it has proved to be a liability for Pfizer. In fact, in Pfizer’s 2012 Annual Report the company acknowledged that many related birth defect lawsuits had been filed against the company in both state and federal court (vii). In April 2012, more than 250 of these lawsuits were consolidated through the process of multidistrict litigation. These lawsuits will be heard in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (viii).
Contact the Law Offices of d’Oliveira & Associates
If you or a loved has suffered serious Zoloft side effects, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer. d’Oliveira & Associates is working with qualified dangerous drug lawyers nationwide, who have experience handling these types of cases. A Zoloft lawsuit can be filed on your behalf and there are no legal fees until you receive a settlement or award.
Feel free to contact d’Oliveira & Associates at 1-800-992-6878 or fill out an online contact form for your free legal consultation.
- (i) American Chemical Society, August 2012.
- (ii) Adverse Events, August 2012.
- (iii) FDA Public Health Advisory, July 2006.
- (iv) New England Journal of Medicine, June 2007.
- (v) Adverse Events, August 2012.
- (vi) FDA Drug Safety Information, May 2007.
- (vii) Pfizer 2012 Annual Report.
- (viii) United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.