The antidepressant Zoloft has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes in patients who took the drug over an extended period of time, according to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Researchers found that patients taking Zoloft or other antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for more than two years had an 84% increased risk of developing type II diabetes.
The observational study included more than 165,000 patients with no prior history of diabetes. Patients on a high dosage of an SSRI were at the greatest risk of developing diabetes compared to patients on a moderate dosage. Patients who developed diabetes also showed a marked weight gain.
Zoloft and other SSRIs have been linked to several side effects in addition to diabetes, including severe birth defects. Multiple studies have found that women who take Zoloft during pregnancy are twice as likely to give birth to a child with certain heart defects.