Drug Overview: Zoloft Side Effects and Claims

Zoloft, manufactured by Pfizer, Inc., is one of a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which increase levels of serotonin in the brain. The Zoloft claim is that these increased levels of serotonin are effective in treating a list of disorders. Zoloft has been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to treat patients over 18 years old for depression (MDD), social anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, premenstrual dyphoric disorder (PMDD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Zoloft is FDA approved to treat patients 6–17 years old for obsessive-compulsive disorder only.

Physicians often prescribe Zoloft to treat depression in children under 18 in spite of the lack of FDA approval and the lack of studies demonstrating the effectiveness of this treatment. The FDA has issued a number of alerts and warnings over the past few years in response to studies linking Zoloft to serious side effect, including life-threatening birth defects in infants whose mothers take Zoloft during pregnancy, and an increase in suicidal thinking and behaviors in adults, adolescents, and children.

The latest concerns have been raised by studies showing bone loss and reductions in bone density of both men and women who take SSRI antidepressants like Zoloft. Other Zoloft side effects continue to raise concerns among doctors, researchers, adult patients, parents of young patients, and the FDA.