Zoloft (sertraline) is a serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) antidepressant. Like other SSRIs, it is prescribed to treat many conditions besides depression. Zoloft can cause serious birth defects in the babies of women who take the drug during pregnancy.

Zoloft Uses

Zoloft is referred to as an antidepressant, but it is used to treat many conditions, including some which are off-label. Zoloft is prescribed for:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Other types of depression
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Symptoms of menopause
  • Eating disorders
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Migraines
  • Sexual problems
  • Alcohol dependence

Zoloft Birth Defects

SSRIs, including Zoloft, have been linked to many serious birth defects including:

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Skull defect
  • Neural tube defects
  • Club foot
  • Abdominal defect
  • Oral cleft
  • Anal atresia
  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN)

The risk of PPHN is greatest when women take Zoloft during the last half of pregnancy. PPHN is a condition in which high blood pressure in the lungs prevents oxygen from entering the bloodstream. Pulmonary hypertension is the normal state for fetuses because they get their oxygen through the umbilical cord. Once the baby is born blood pressure in the lungs should normalize so that they baby can get adequate oxygen from normal breathing. About 10% to 20% of babies with PPHN die from the condition.

Other Side Effects

Zoloft can make depression and other mood problems worse. It is known to increase the risk of suicide in children, teenagers, and young adults under 24 years old. Zoloft can also cause mood problems in adults including hostility and aggression, worsened depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and more.

Zoloft Withdrawal

Zoloft must be stepped down under the care of a doctor. Discontinuing Zoloft can have serious side effects. Babies born to women who took Zoloft during pregnancy may experience Zoloft withdrawal when they are born, but stopping Zoloft use during pregnancy can cause problems in the mother, especially postpartum.

If you or your child has been injured by Zoloft, please find a local Zoloft attorney and schedule a consultation right away.