Zoloft (sertraline) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant that is widely prescribed in the United States. As of 2013, over 40 million Americans were prescribed Zoloft. It is primarily prescribed for major depressive disorder but can also be used for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder, in both adults and children.
Compared to other SSRIs, sertraline tends to be associated with a higher rate of psychiatric side effects. Zoloft, like all antidepressants on the market, is required to have a black box warning stating that antidepressants may increase the risk of suicide in persons younger than 25. This is due to independent studies that have reported findings that the rates of suicidal ideation and suicide are signficantly higher in young people taking these medications.
This doesn't necessarily mean that antidepressants should never be prescribed to patients below a certain age, simply that patients and their parents, if applicable, need to be made fully aware of the risks of certain drugs. On the other hand, use of drugs such as Paxil, Zoloft and Effexor by children and teenagers is skyrocketing despite lack of concrete evidence that most antidepressants truly alleviate pediatric depression or the myriad other conditions for which they're prescribed.
Until the questions are settled, parents and doctors need to know to look out for symptoms of agitation, anxiety and hostility that might signal trouble in a subset of young patients who may be unusually vulnerable to the drugs. SSRIs and other antidepressants have long been used successfully by adults, but medicines can work differently in children. Overall, it is key that all parties involve be fully aware of the possible dangers, which may not always be the case.
If you or a loved one has taken Zoloft and experienced serious side effects, contact us today to determine if you may have a personal injury claim.