Despite what many people think, depression and overwhelming anxiety are not simple matters that can be controlled by choice. For those who are lucky enough to have never experienced a panic attack or soul-sucking depressive episode, it’s easy to say, “Oh, just suck it up” or “just smile, it’s not that bad.”
The problem is, it is that bad.
Depression is a serious disease that affects over millions of people. In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 15.7 million adults aged 18 or older, or 6.7 percent of the adult U.S. population, had at least one major depressive episode in 2014 alone. If not treated, depressive episodes can severely affect brain function, mood, emotional response, physical activity (lack of motivation to do anything), and much more.
When a person suffers from a debilitating mental illness such as depression, physicians sometimes recommend that they take an antidepressant drug as a form of treatment. The most common antidepressants are known as SSRIs (selective serotonin rteuptake inhibitors), and the most commonly prescribed SSRI is Zoloft.
How They Work
SSRIs work by controlling and adjusting the serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter thought to affect mood, sleep, and learning. When serotonin levels are absorbed by the brain, the mood stabilizers cease to work. Since the signals stop, the brain reacts by instigating “lows” or feelings of depression and anxiety. SSRIs block the reabsorption of serotonin in the brain, to ensure that there will be enough serotonin available to stabilize mood.
Although extremely effective for depression, these types of drugs (especially Zoloft) have been known to be linked to potentially serious and life-threatening injuries.
Potential Side Effects
The typical side effects of SSRIs in general—and Zoloft in particular—include minor discomforts such as:
- Dizziness, drowsiness, and fatigue
- Diarrhea or loose stool
- Nausea and abdominal pain
- Decreased libido, delayed ejaculation, and ejaculation failure
Although these side effects can be annoying, most patients are willing to deal with the odd bout of diarrhea or the occasional headache when compared to the alternative of dealing with the effects of depression. However, over the past decade, Zoloft has been found to cause potential chemical imbalances in the brain. As a result, numerous users have reported the following effects:
- Birth defects. Zoloft and other SSRIs were associated with a 200 percent increased risk for pregnant patients to give birth to an autistic child. Other antidepressants had only an 87 percent overall increased risk.
- Serotonin syndrome. As the drug boosts the amount of serotonin in the brain, serotonin levels can quickly become too high. Too much serotonin an cause severe reactions including high blood pressure, hyperthermia (high body temperature), fevers, seizures, and increased heart rate that can lead to shock.
- Withdrawal symptoms. Zoloft has a half-life of about a day and can be completely out of the system within two days. However, once the brain has become dependent on the drug, serious withdrawal effects are likely if dosages are missed. The effects can include feelings of extreme anxiety, restlessness, agitation, aggressive behavior, and suicidal thoughts.
Are You Eligible to File a Claim After a Zoloft Injury?
If you or a loved one took Zoloft and suffered serious side effects as a result, you may be entitled to compensation. However, before filing your claim, make sure you have a strong case to pursue. Drug injury cases are difficult to win, and drug manufacturers have dozens of lawyers on retainer for just such incidences. Therefore, you must be sure that your claim is legitimate before you waste your time and money on a fragile case. Below are a few factors that can help you determine your eligibility.
- Did you take Zoloft to treat depression?
- Did you always take the drug as prescribed by your physician?
- Did you suffer severe side effects that are known to be a result of the drug?
- Did the side effects directly cause severe injury? Can you prove it?
- Did the manufacturer, pharmacy, doctor, or other party fail to provide you with adequate warnings or instructions regarding the use of the drug?
Depending upon your answers to the above questions, you may wish to consider pursuing a legal claim.
Pursuing Your Claim
Assessing whether a person has a claim for compensation after using a dangerous drug requires the guidance of an experienced legal professional. It’s important to act quickly, however, since strict time limitations may apply. Contact our office today at 888-526-7616 when you’re ready to learn more about this unpredictable drug and your legal rights following adverse effects.