Zoloft Side Effects

With each new drug put on the market, consumers’ exposure to potential side effects is always a possibility. Zoloft, a commonly prescribed antidepressant medication, has encountered considerable backlash due to the range of side effects attributed to the drug.

If you or someone you know has suffered as a result of taking Zoloft, it is important to seek the assistance of a Zoloft lawyer. Knowing the types of negative effects associated with Zoloft can help protect you from enduring further harm.

What is Zoloft?

The following is a basic overview of the medical properties and side-effects of this drug, which a Zoloft attorney can elaborate on, explaining how they may apply to your unique case.

Antidepressant drugs are divided into different classes based on the way each drug works to alleviate depression symptoms. Zoloft is classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

Serotonin is one of the brain chemicals responsible for regulating a person’s moods and overall emotional state. Zoloft’s mechanism of action works to prevent the brain’s serotonin receptors from reabsorbing the chemical too quickly, thus allowing larger amounts of the chemical to circulate.

Over the past decade, Zoloft has been found to have adverse effects on the brain’s chemical balance for numerous people who’ve taken the drug. Side effects have been reported at the start of treatment as well as when a person stops taking the drug. Some of the effects reported include:

  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Muscle spasms
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blurred vision

To date, thousands of lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer of Zoloft and against attending physicians due to the drug’s wide range of adverse effects. If you believe that your case has merit, call a Zoloft lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Withdrawal Effects

Because of the way Zoloft acts on the brain’s chemistry, the brain actually becomes dependent on the effects of the drug to function normally. Under these conditions, over time, a person will become addicted to the drug’s effects. Since Zoloft has a short half-life, the body can break down the drug or eliminate it from the system in a day’s time. It’s at this point another dose of the drug is needed to prevent withdrawal effects from starting.

If dosages are missed, or a person stops the drug abruptly, serious withdrawal effects are likely. Along with feelings of extreme anxiety, restlessness and agitation, persons may experience a condition known as akathisia. Symptoms of akathisia include aggressive behavior displays as well as suicidal tendencies.

These effects in particular have prompted multiple lawsuits against physicians for failing to properly wean patients off the drug and not advising patients on the potential for addiction.

Pregnancy Risks

As many women suffer from emotional distress when pregnant, doctors have prescribed Zoloft to treat depression symptoms during pregnancy. After years of reports involving abnormal behaviors in newborns, the federal Food and Drug Administration has issued multiple warnings on the harmful effects Zoloft can have on pregnant women.

As it turns out, the same withdrawal effects affecting adults who take the drug can also manifest in newborns. Reports repeatedly make mention of newborns experiencing sleep disturbances, problems with feeding, irritability and agitation.

Lawsuits filed against the drug’s manufacturer have included claims that the manufacturer withheld information regarding the harmful effects had during pregnancy. Many if not most of the suits filed also include medical malpractice claims regarding the doctors’ negligence in prescribing an SSRI drug during pregnancy.

Birth Injuries

In addition to the physical effects had on newborns, the chemical ingredients in Zoloft can potentially be toxic to developing fetuses. Toxic chemicals acting on a growing fetus can result in damage to vital organs. Some of the birth injuries associated with Zoloft taken during pregnancy include:

With persistent pulmonary hypertension, newborns experience reduced blood flow which deprives vital organs of needed oxygen supplies. In effect, this condition, in and of itself places newborns in life-threatening conditions. Doctors who’ve neglected to inform their patients of the potential risks involved can be sued for medical malpractice.