Zoloft is an anti-depressant that may induce suicidal behavior in some patients. Zoloft is used to treat depression, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder as well as OCD in children and adolescents. It is manufactured by the drug maker Pfizer.
Zoloft is in a class of drugs, that also includes Paxil and Prozac, and is known as an SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). SSRIs are designed to correct a chemical imbalance in the brain and work by preventing the re-uptake of serotonin between neural connections so that more serotonin is left over to transmit neural electrical messages.
The unproven facts that the SSRI manufacturers assume is that 1) all depression is the result of a chemical imbalance and 2) all depression is the result of decreased serotonin levels. To avoid liability on this point, each SSRI manufacturer discretely mentions in their advertisements that depression “may be” rather than “is” the result of “chemical imbalances”.
The deeper question, however, is whether or not the chemical imbalance seen in many types of depression is the origin of the depression or a reaction to some external (non-chemical) origin of depression. Many things have changed drastically in the last fifty years; social pressures, family life, the availability and acceptability of drugs/sex for teenagers, pressures of pop culture; all of which have been found to contribute to depression. The result is that in the last twenty years the rate of suicide attempts in the united states has tripled among teenagers.
Is medication always the answer, as Pfizer and other drug makers would like you to believe? Many respected psychiatrists have long argued that the SSRIs in general are nothing more than a way for drug makers to earn huge profits by selling mind altering drugs that have been legalized for “medicinal” purposes. Some of the same psychiatrists have also argued the notion that psychological depression is biochemical is purely a myth created by the marketing campaigns of big drug companies. Unfortunately, unlike the drug makers, these voices have not had the benefit of well funded marketing campaigns.
Now that numerous reports have emerged linking SSRIs to suicide the legitimacy of SSRIs becomes even more questionable. Already over 200 law suits have been filed against the three SSRI manufacturers: Pfizer, Eli Lilly and GlaxoKlineSmith and though these drug companies have remained adamant in their insistence that their drugs do not induce suicidal behavior in some people, the evidence demonstrating the contrary is overwhelming. Recently some key court victories have been won that will hopefully pave the way to just compensation for everyone who has been victimized by the terrible side effects of SSRIs like Zoloft…
Zoloft Suicide Lawsuits
Recently some key court victories have been won that will hopefully pave the way to just compensation for everyone who has been victimized by the terrible side effects of SSRIs like Zoloft….
Zoloft has many side effects. The most dire is its potential to cause suicidal thoughts in some people. Akathisia (inner feelings of restlessness) is also another severe potential side effect that occurs in 3-5% of its users and many doctors believe may lead to suicidal behavior. All drug makers are required by law to list the potential adverse side effects that may be caused by using their drug. Nevertheless akathisia nor suicidality are listed on the Zoloft’s warning label.
The reason for this is that Pfizer, Zoloft’s manufacturer, have made a concerted effort to conceal and minimize the possible harmful effects of its drug. In fact, the three major drug companies, Pfizer, Glaxo Kline Smith, Eli Lilly have worked together to determine which side effects they will omit from their labeling, which they will minimize and which they will include. Through, the careful use of language and through advertising that enthusiastically describes the many benefits of their drug, Pfizer has consistently sought to obfuscate the true effect of their drug. Below are some of the possible side effects of Zoloft.
Zoloft can cause hostility and aggression in some users. Pfizer minimizes this side effect in their labeling by couching it in skeptical language that suggests that no solid link has been made between aggressive behavior and Zoloft use. A perusal of the Zoloft and Suicide section of this website will show you that this is in fact not the case: Zoloft has not only been linked to hostility and aggression, but to suicidal and homicidal behavior.
As occurs with other powerful Pharma logical stimulants, some times people using Zoloft will get in trouble with the law for committing crimes “under the influence”. When authorities observe the agitation caused by the drug in some one they’ve arrested and than learn that the person is taking Zoloft, they will often contact Pfizer for an explanation. Pfizer responds by denying that Zoloft causes aggressive behavior and then sends a confidential manual called the “Prosecutors manual” a confidential document designed to dissuade further inquiry. In many instances, Pfizer, in an effort to vindicate itself, has worked with prosecutors to maximize the jail sentences of persons agitated into criminal states by their drug. Currently there are thousands of people serving jail sentences as a result of Pfizer’s efforts to falsely vindicate themselves.
Dependency is a common side effect of SSRIs. People using Zoloft, Prozac or Paxil may all suffer adverse physical and psychological effects if they go too long between dosages. The addictiveness of an SSRI is determined by its “half life”: the period it can remain active in the system with out deteriorating. The longer the “half life”, the less severe it withdrawal symptoms. The dependency created by Prozac is the mildest of the three SSRIs because its half life is the longest (almost six days), however, there is a steep drop off with Zoloft and Prozac. Zoloft’s half life is roughly a day, and Paxil’s even less. At the end of the “half life” period many people taking SSRIs become fidgety, dizzy, irritable, depressed; develop flu symptoms, nausea, insomnia, aggression, nightmares, seizures and in some cases experience jolting electric “zaps”. Withdrawal effects have been so intense that some SSRI users have committed suicide as a result. Nevertheless, Pfizer and the other SSRI companies insist that their drugs are not addictive and have gone to pains to minimize the severity of these withdrawal attacks in their labeling. In fact, Glaxo Kline Smith, the makers of Paxil, recently won an important lawsuit that allows them to describe Paxil as possibly causing “discontinuation syndrome”, rather than “dependency” a term that most consumers understand.
The American Psychiatric Association’s “Diagnostic Statistical Manual” of Mental Disorders, the most widely accepted source for diagnosing mental disorders, reports that SSRIs “may produce akathisia.” Akathisia, sometimes called hyperkinesia, can be described as extreme agitation often accompanied by motor restlessness. Patients who have experienced it are unable to sit still, and often described it as “a desire to jump out of their skin”. Suicide ideation and violent behavior is not uncommon when a patient experiences akathisia and many doctors believe that akathisia is usually the condition proceeding suicide attempts induced by SSRIs. Dr. Roger Lane, one of Pfizer’s own scientists, postulated in a 1998 report that the suicidality caused by SSRI-Induced akathisia may not be so much a function of specific suicide fantasies, but could rather be a reaction to the sheer intolerableness of akathisia making “death a welcome result”. (SSRI-Induced extrapyramidal side-effects and akathisia. 1998.)
Pzifer’s own scientists have written reports describing the potential for Zoloft to cause akathisia and expert witnesses that have been employed to defend SSRIs companies in the multiple lawsuits they have faced have also admitted that SSRIs may cause akathisia. Nevertheless, Pfizer does not mention this very dangerous side effect on their warning label. The reason they don not is because if people knew about the possibility of this severe side effect most would not buy their product.
It is critical for the patient who experiences SSRI induced akathisia to continue treatment with the SSRI unless instructed by a doctor to do otherwise. The dependency withdrawal effects, discussed above, may result from an abrupt discontinuation of the drug, and may exacerbate the potential for sucicidality. It is also important that if a person taking SSRI experiences akathisia, or if akathisia symptoms are observed in a person known to be taking an SSRI that a doctor be contacted as soon as possible. Often the person experiencing akathisia is not fully aware of the condition and his or her condition can be more easily recognized by a second party.
General Side Effects
Zoloft may induce a number of less severe side effects, some of which are included on their warning label, some of which are not. A general rule of thumb for patients taking Zoloft is that if side effects seem particularly severe, a doctor should be contacted immediately. The general symptoms include: dizziness, dry mouth, headache, nervousness, drowsiness, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, decreased appetite, vision changes, agitation, nausea, diarrhea, sexual dysfunction and sweating.
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Report all psychiatric abuses to Commissions on Human Rights at http://www.cchr.org
Learn how to get off psychiatric drugs safely: http://www.theroadback.org/workbook.htm.
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