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FDA issues antidepressant heart problems warning

March 14th, 2012

The Food and Drug Administration is adding information to its recent warning on Celexa, an antidepressant in a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which also includes Zoloft and Paxil. The FDA will add dosage suggestions to the recently-added warning of abnormal and potentially fatal heart electrical activity and rhythms tied to Celexa.

The warning was first added to the antidepressant after independent SSRI studies linked the drug to a potentially deadly arrhythmia called Torsada de Pointes. The agency has since included a recommendation of smaller doses and for anyone with prior heart complications to avoid the drug.

SSRIs have been the subject of several studies over the past decade aimed at determining the risks of possible side effects. Separate research conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine and the British Medical Journal found SSRIs such as Zoloft increase the risk of severe birth defects, including persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN).

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