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Zoloft: An Overview

Zoloft is manufactured by Pfizer and was approved by the FDA in 1991. It is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant used to treat depression, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder (SAD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).


In July 2006, the FDA issued an alert stating that a life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome can occur when SSRIs, such as Zoloft, and medicines used to treat migraine headaches are taken together.

In addition, Zoloft users should not take monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or MAOIs. If you have been taking an MAOI, you must stop at least 14 days before you start taking Zoloft. A very serious reaction of even death could occur if Zoloft is taken with MAOI.

Some serious side effects of Zoloft may include the following:

  • Serotonin Syndrome
    • This is characterized by fever, fast heartbeat, diarrhea, coma, nausea, confusion, muscle rigidity, and cardiac, liver, or kidney problems.
  • Headache, nervousness, drowsiness, anxiety, tremor, dizziness, insomnia, vision changes, fatigue, and agitation
  • Nausea, diarrhea, dry mouth, decreased appetite
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Sweating
  • New or worsening depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Extreme worry
  • Agitation
  • Panic attacks
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Irritability
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Acting without thinking
  • Severe restlessness
  • Frenzied, abnormal excitement


Many antidepressants, including SSRIs, may harm your unborn child if you take them during pregnancy or while you are breast-feeding. In fact, FDA findings indicate increased birth defects in newborns including serious heart and lung defects associated with the use of the anti-depressant drug Zoloft during pregnancy.

If you are pregnant and taking Zoloft, consult your doctor before possible discontinuation since a fivefold risk of relapse in depression in pregnant women who stopped taking antidepressants was recently reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


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