The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning in July 2006 about the link between antidepressants such as Zoloft and a type of serious heart defect. According to the results of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, women who use antidepressants like Zoloft after the 20th week of pregnancy are six times more likely to give birth to a child with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), a serious and potentially fatal circulatory condition.
In response to the study, the FDA announced that it would update the warning labels of Zoloft and similar antidepressants to alert patients of the birth defects risk they may pose. The agency did not announce any plans to issue a Zoloft recall as a result of the study’s finding on heart defects.
The use of Zoloft during pregnancy may also increase the risk of a number of other serious heart defects or birth defects, including left hypoplastic heart syndrome, tetralogy of Fallot, patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) and other conditions. The FDA has announced that it is compiling additional data on the link between antidepressants like Zoloft and birth defects, and will release this information as it becomes available.