Zoloft use has more than quadrupled since 1994, along with similar selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Women are twice as likely to use an SSRI antidepressant like Zoloft; in 1994, 3.2% of women used an antidepressant, compared to 14.8% currently. More than 20% of Americans have used an antidepressant recently, though only 9% of Americans at any given time are estimated to be clinically depressed.
Researchers have expressed concerns about Zoloft side effects and the overuse of SSRI antidepressants in America, particularly for children born to women who use Zoloft during pregnancy. The high number Zoloft birth defects have led doctors to reconsider prescribing Zoloft to pregnant women.
A 2007 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that children born to women who use Zoloft during pregnancy were twice as likely to have heart defects. Other Zoloft birth defects include omphalocele (organs protruding from the belly button), anencephaly (parts of the brain and skull missing), persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) and other congenital birth defects.