Prescriptions and use of antidepressants such as Zoloft, Paxil and Lexapro in rich countries is outpacing the rate of depression diagnoses, causing researchers to fear the drugs are being overprescribed. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are among the top-selling drugs in countries such as the U.S., Canada, Australia and the U.K.
More than 1 in 10 adults use Zoloft or other antidepressants, far more than the number of patients who have been clinically diagnosed with depression. A growing number of studies revealing antidepressant side effects has added to the concern among medical professionals about the prevalence of SSRI use.
Zoloft has been found to have several severe side effects, including an increased risk of birth defects among children born to women who use the antidepressant during pregnancy. Zoloft birth defects include omphalocele, anencephaly, cleft defects, brain defects and heart defects.