Zoloft Side Effects | Zoloft Lawyer Consultation

New Research Shows Zoloft May Help Prevent Fungal Infections

Shay Morrigan | August 7th, 2012

New research from Texas A&M University shows that Zoloft, a popular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant, may be capable of inhibiting deadly fungal infections.

The FDA approved Zoloft for the treatment of depression in 1991, but later studies linked the medication with birth defects, including Zoloft heart defects. Pregnant women who were unaware of the risks may benefit from a consultation with a Zoloft lawyer.

Zoloft may combat fungal infection

Researchers at Texas A&M conducted a two-year investigation into Zoloft (sertraline) and its effects on Cryptococcus neoformans, the major cause of fungal meningitis. An infection of the coverings of the brain and spinal cord, fungal meningitis typically attacks patients with a weakened immune system, such as those with AIDS or taking immunosuppressant drugs. The disease can cause fever and headache, neck stiffness and pain, drowsiness, stupor, hallucinations, personality changes, and coma.

Treatment involves antifungal medications and sometimes hospitalization, though the condition can lead to significant neurological impairment and death.

According to the research, published in the June 2012 issue of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Zoloft was similarly effective in combating the fungal infection as “fluconazole,” an antifungal drug used commonly since the 1990s. In addition, a combination of Zoloft and fluconazole proved to work more efficiently than the drug alone. Researchers added that the promise of Zoloft lies in its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier to treat affected brain tissue.

Zoloft side effects still a concern

Whether or not Zoloft becomes used as a treatment for fungal meningitis, its main use is still as an antidepressant. Unfortunately, many mothers who gave birth to babies with Zoloft heart defects were not aware of the risks when they were taking the drug during pregnancy. It wasn’t until 2005 that the FDA issued a public health advisory warning that the use of some SSRI antidepressants, particularly in the first trimester, could increase the risk of Zoloft heart defects.

The most common heart defects linked with the drug’s use during pregnancy include atrial septal defects and ventricle septal defects. Also described as “holes in the heart,” these defects occur when the wall between either the upper two chambers of the heart (the atria) or the lower two chambers (the ventricles) fails to develop properly.

Recovering damages from Zoloft heart defects

Parents of children who suffer from Zoloft side effects may benefit from a consultation with a Zoloft lawyer. A successful Zoloft lawsuit can help recover damages and help pay for skyrocketing medical costs. As many victims of Zoloft heart defects can experience lasting heart and lung damage requiring continued follow-up care, and sometimes numerous surgeries, families can face the increasing financial burden of covering these costs.

On April 17, 2012, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated all federal Zoloft lawsuits to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.