Zoloft Has Lawyers Looking At The Dark Side Of Antidepressants

The long lists of potential side effects pharmaceutical companies are required to disclose can provoke horror, astonishment and sometimes humor. It seems these days you can take a medicine designed to cure a runny nose and end up in a coma. A coma might even be far down on the list of side effects for various chemicals, tucked right in there between going bald and going blind.

Consider the case of Zoloft. A recent search of reasons why more than 1,000 lawsuits had been filed against Pfizer due to concerns about the blockbuster antidepressant turned up a list of side effects that all looked like lawsuits waiting to happen.

The list of conditions that has sparked the lawsuits by women who took Zoloft while pregnant is indeed horrific. They include birth defects of the heart that could be fatal, skull deformities and a condition in which the liver, intestines and other organs develop in a sack outside the abdomen, protruding through the infants navel when they are born.

The complete list of Zoloft side effects that have been documented and peer reviewed is stunning. While some side effects can be reversible simply by halting the prescription and taking a different antidepressant, for patients who do not stop taking the drug in time, physical or emotional trouble could snowball.

The cardinal rule in medical communities, it is often said, is first do no harm. If that were so, we'd live in a world with no negative side effects whatsoever. However those with the power of writing prescriptions write scripts by the millions each day that have the potential to do harm. They simply hope the odds are in their favor that the drug will be effective and the side effects tolerable or nonexistent.

The side effects associated with Zoloft are a laundry list of issues, many of them, as you would expect, having to do with the brain and with moods or emotions. These side effects include:

Anxiety and Agitation: SSRI compounds frequently trigger anxiety, jittery feelings and increased agitation and impatience. If this occurs, patients are advised to contact their physicians. Often switching to a different antidepressant is the answer.

Hallucinations or Delusional Thinking: Hallucinations and delusional or psychotic thinking is far more dangerous than it might sound. It can be frightening and result in poor decision making. Obviously, risks go up exponentially for anyone using machinery in such a condition.

Mania: Mania is a condition in which a person feels hyper-alert with racing thoughts that result in the potential for very bad decision making. Mania is associated with psychosis and also with feelings of extra strength and superiority.

Homicidal and Suicidal Thoughts: Many people have concluded that the suicide of Oscar-winning comedian and actor Robin Williams was due, in part, to an antidepressant he was taking before he died.

And then there is a list of problems associated with Zoloft that are not about moods, emotions or thoughts. These are defined as physical reactions.

Miscarriages: A potential side effect for that should concern who are pregnant or anticipate becoming pregnant.

Birth Defects: While some birth defects are more life-threatening than others, for many people the appearance of birth defects on the list of side effects is the absolute deal breaker for a medication.

Death: Another deal breaker? In fact, there are hundreds of thousands of medications sold every day that are absolutely lethal through overdose, allergic reaction or if taken improperly.

Some day I expect to see an anti-depressant put on the market in which one of the side effects is acute depression. The cure for that: Stop taking the drug.

Ashley Andrews is a San Diego-based freelance writer who blogs on a wide range of green living, business, health and technology topics.

See also:
5 Over-the-Counter Meds You Likely Use That Just Don't Work
EarthTalk: Pharmacy In Our Drinking Water