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Zoloft Side Effects and Lawsuits

Have you failed to receive any benefit from taking Zoloft for your depression? Does your child have birth defects because you took Zoloft while you were pregnant? If so, a wise decision may be to see a personal injury attorney and let him or her review and evaluate your case.

Zoloft (generic: sertraline hydrochloride) is one of the newer anti-depressant medications that are called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). In 1991, Pfizer launched Zoloft with some catchy but simple ads that used a bouncing ball to represent sadness.

Zoloft is intended for people with depression. It is a prescription medication that is supposed to relieve signs and symptoms of depression without the side effects that many people experienced with older tricyclic antidepressants and MAO inhibitors.

It was not long before Zoloft became one of the most popular antidepressants in the United States. Since its release in 1991, Zoloft has generated over $30 billion in revenue for Pfizer. Zoloft’s annual sales before its patent expiration in 2007 were over $3 billion. After the patent expiration, a proliferation of less expensive generic versions of the drug came on the scene. However, since Zoloft’s patent expired, it has continued to generate more that $500 million in revenue, annually. At the present time, more than 20 million prescriptions of Zoloft and generic sertraline are filled every year.


The problem is that allegations have been made that Zoloft’s effectiveness is, at best, virtually indistinguishable from that of a sugar pill. In fact, most of the early Zoloft efficacy studies proved to be failed, negative or neutral. In the majority of efficacy studies, there was no significant difference between Zoloft and placebo in relieving depression. Placebo actually outperformed Zoloft in treating depression in some of the studies.

As a result, lawsuits have been filed against Pfizer in regard to Zoloft. These lawsuits usually allege:

  • Failure to disclose study results to the public, the medical community or the FDA
  • Willful misrepresentation that Zoloft was safe for pregnant women to take
  • Sale and promotion of Zoloft to pregnant women, even when Pfizer had knowledge of the drug’s birth defects
  • Sale and marketing of a dangerous drug
  • Negligently failing to warn the public, the medical community or the FDA of the link between Zoloft and birth defects
  • Failure to conduct post-marketing reviews related to the ongoing safety of using Zoloft, and that the company failed to report any risk information to the public
  • Failing to act in the best interest of the public, choosing profit over patient safety.

Possible Side Effects from Zoloft

In addition to congenital birth defects, there are other side effects of Zoloft. These include:

  • Hallucinations, agitation, tremors, overactive reflexes
  • Trouble concentrating, headache, seizure, shallow breathing, breathing that stops, memory problems, fainting, weakness
  • Very stiff, rigid muscles, confusion, high fever, sweating, feeling like you might pass out, uneven or fast heartbeats
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, nausea
  • Tired feeling, dizziness, drowsiness
  • Changes in weight or appetite
  • Insomnia (sleep problems)
  • Impotence, decreased sex drive or difficulty having an orgasm.

Again, if you have received no benefit from taking Zoloft or your child has birth defects as a result of you taking the medication during pregnancy, see a personal injury attorney.