Author Karen Sharpe has written a new book on what she calls the pervasiveness of antidepressants such as Zoloft in American culture. Sharpe’s book, Coming Of Age On Zoloft: How Antidepressants Cheered Us Up, Let Us Down, And Changed Who We Are, includes research on the drug’s effects, as well as personal accounts from her nine-year use of the drug.
Zoloft and other antidepressants in its class, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are among the most-prescribed drugs in the United States. The widespread use of the drugs have led to increased research into their possible side effects, particularly for young adults and pregnant women.
Since being introduced by Pfizer in 1991, Zoloft has been linked to an increased risk of severe birth defects among women who use the drug during pregnancy. A 2011 study in the British Medical Journal reinforced the connection between Zoloft and an increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). In 2012, a study of more than 230,000 Tennessee women linked the drug to an increased risk of preterm birth and seizures among infants.