Zoloft (sertraline) is a new-age psychiatric drug classified within a group of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), as was cited by medical journals. As an antidepressant, it primarily functions by alleviating certain psychiatric disorders by regulating serotonin levels in the brain altering chemical imbalances, which in turn improves a patient’s depressive state. However, as its efficacy has been highly esteemed by some medical experts in depression treatment, Zoloft has also been linked to controversies involving the adverse effects associated with the use of the antidepressant.
Findings from an early study by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reportedly revealed the possible link that ties SSRI antidepressants including Zoloft to an increased risk of suicidal ideation (thoughts or planning to commit suicide) in children, and adolescents affected by major depressive disorder (MDD). Following a detailed review of data from a number of controlled clinical trials of more than 2,000 children, the FDA revealed a doubled risk of suicidal thinking or behavior, including actual suicide attempts in participants who took SSRIs, compared to patients who were given sugar pills as placebo.
With supporting scientific evidence indicating that Zoloft and other brands of antidepressants may pose a substantial risk of serious or even life-threatening adverse effects, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) adopted a “black box” warning in February 2005 — the most serious type of warning in prescription drug labeling – highlighting how SSRI antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in some children, and adolescents with MDD.
Within a decade following its introduction into the retail market, Pfizer, the drug maker of Zoloft, has been reportedly at the receiving end of several lawsuits allegedly claiming injuries caused by the inadvertent effects of the antidepressant. Nevertheless, mental health expert discourage younger patients from ceasing the use of their antidepressant especially if they have benefited from the therapy, with careful supervision by a medical professional.