Q: What is Zoloft?
Zoloft (sertraline) is in a class of medicines called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). Zoloft is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and social anxiety disorder (SAD). Zoloft is made by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1991.
Q: Are there any special instructions for taking Zoloft?
When taking Zoloft oral concentrate, dilute it in only cup of water, ginger ale, lemon/lime soda, or orange juice. Take immediately after mixing. Tell your doctor if you are allergic to latex because the dropper used to measure Zoloft oral concentrate contains natural rubber.
Q: Has there been any recent news about Zoloft?
In July 2006, the FDA issued two alerts related to Zoloft. The first FDA alert announced the results of a study concerning the use of antidepressant medicines during pregnancy by mothers of babies born with a serious condition called persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). The second FDA alert states that a life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome can occur when SSRIs (such as Zoloft) and medicines used to treat migraine headaches known as 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor agonists (triptans), are taken together.
In recent years, the FDA has worked closely with the manufacturers of all marketed antidepressants (such as Zoloft) to fully evaluate the risk of suicidality in children, adolescents, and adults treated with these medications. Zoloft maker Pfizer Pharmaceuticals added a black box warning to Zoloft's prescribing information describing the increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children and adolescents taking antidepressants.
Q: Who should not take Zoloft?
You shouldn’t take Zoloft if you take another drug that treats depression, called a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI), or if you’ve stopped taking an MAOI in the last 14 days. Taking these two drugs close in time can result in serious (and sometimes fatal) reactions including high body temperature, coma, and seizures (convulsions). Also, never take Zoloft if you are taking Orap (pimozide), a drug used to treat Tourette's disorder. Doing so can result in serious heartbeat problems. Finally, never take Zoloft oral concentrate if you are taking Antabuse (disulfiram), a medicine used to treat alcoholism. Zoloft oral concentrate contains alcohol.
Q: Are there any serious health risks associated with Zoloft?
Harmful side effects may occur if you stop taking Zoloft suddenly. Your healthcare professional should slowly decrease your dose as necessary. Other risks of Zoloft use include an increased risk of having suicidal thoughts or actions, bleeding problems, mania, seizures, weight loss, and sexual problems. There are also increased risks if you take Zoloft while you are or may become pregnant.
Q: Are there any side effects associated with Zoloft?
Side effects associated with Zoloft use include nausea, diarrhea, difficulty sleeping, dry mouth, and sleepiness.
Q: What should I tell my healthcare professional before he or she prescribes Zoloft?
It is important to tell your healthcare professional about all known medical conditions, especially if you have liver or heart disease. Also, tell your healthcare professional if you breast-feed or plan to breast-feed your baby.
Q: Can other medicines or foods affect Zoloft?
It is important to tell your healthcare professional about all prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements that you take. Tell your healthcare professional about all medications you take that affect bleeding or that treat anxiety, mental illness, depression, or heart problems. Also, talk to your healthcare professional if you plan to drink alcohol while taking Zoloft.
Q: What should I do if I think I have been injured as a result of taking Zoloft?
If you or a loved one have experienced any of the serious injuries that have been linked to Zoloft use, such as birth injuries, you should first contact your doctor or other healthcare professional. Then, to best protect your rights, you may also want to have the facts of your situation reviewed for free by a product liability attorney. That way, your legal options will be covered and you can focus on your health and the health of your child.