Researchers Issue New Zoloft Warning

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According to a new study, only people with certain brain wave patterns respond to this widely-prescribed antidepressant.

This study is part of a decades-long effort to establish reliable and specific biologically-based metrics for drug use. Currently, doctors use a trial-and-error approach in this area. “It often takes many steps for a patient with depression to get better,” explained Madhukar Trivedi, professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas-Southwestern. Researchers discovered that only people with certain brain wave patterns effectively responded to serotonin enhancement.

Scientists from the Netherlands Research Institute, Harvard Medical School, South China University of Technology, the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University, and the Netherlands neuroCare Group also contributed to the report.

Sertraline’s Serious Side Effects

The working principle behind Zoloft is deceptively simple. Like other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) antidepressants, Sertraline inhibits certain bodily functions in order to boost serotonin levels. This substance often gives people a sense of well-being. So, it counteracts many anxiety and depression symptoms.

However, the body is a delicate balance of chemicals. If something goes up, like serotonin levels, something else must go down. As a result, Zoloft has a number of serious side effects. Suicidal thoughts and birth defects are the two biggest ones.

Due to persistent issues with suicidal thoughts and tendencies, the Food and Drug Administration recently added a Black Box warning to Zoloft. This side-effect is rather common among antidepressants in general, especially for young people or patients with pre-existing conditions. But other SSRIs do not have Black Box warnings. Only Zoloft is dangerous enough to merit such action.

Suicidal thought might be a fairly common antidepressant side effect, but the risk of birth defects is unique to SSRIs in general, and Sertraline in particular. According to the Centers for Disease Control, pregnant women who take Zoloft have a 300 percent greater chance of giving birth to children with heart defects. The most common issues, ventricular septal defects (VSD) and atrial septal defects (ASD), are commonly known as a hole in the heart.

Symptoms include insufficient appetite, inadequate growth, heart murmur, chronic fatigue, breathing problems, and poor lung health.

Expert Testimony and Dangerous Drug Liability

Compelling medical testimony is essential in dangerous drug claims. Drug companies always summon experts to the stand who testify that the drug is as safe as mother’s milk. Victim/plaintiffs must have solid evidence to support their claims. And, the physicians must be more than smart. They must be able to communicate well with jurors.

Before experts can testify, the judge must determine their qualifications. Missouri courts use a lower evaluation standard than some other jurisdictions. In the Show Me State, the relevant testimony need only be “relevant and reliable and proffered by a qualified expert.”

As a result, victim/plaintiffs have more choices in this area. That makes it easier to establish liability for damages.

Even when used properly, Zoloft can cause permanent injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced dangerous drug attorney in St. Louis, contact Schultz & Myers, Personal Injury Lawyers. After-hours visits are available.

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