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Princeton Study Shows Zoloft Doesn’t Just Affect Serotonin Levels

By Scott Hardy


Zoloft sertraline logoA new study from Princeton University is showing what many scientists have long suspected. First, that Zoloft, and other SSRI drugs, don’t just effect the levels of serotonin in patients. Second, depression may not just be due to low levels of serotonin in the body but could be due to “diminished secretions of brain-derived neurotrophic factor(BDNF), a protein which regulates brain-cell growth.”
Zoloft class action lawsuits around the country are alleging that Zoloft, and other SSRI drugs, have severe side effects and are responsible for birth defects if Zoloft was taken during pregnancy. The Princeton University study was performed on organisms lacking serotonin and found that once Zoloft was introduced some very interesting changes took place within the cells of the organism.
This study centered on introducing Zoloft (sertraline) into baker’s yeast cells. Obviously many people would argue that what affects baker’s yeast has no connection to a human’s reaction to Zoloft and its connection to birth defects. What must be considered is that even though it’s just baker’s humans share some of the same traits as the cellular level. Specifically, the chief researcher in the study Ethan Perlstein stated “Despite it being a simple, single-cell organism, the basic cellular ‘plumbing’ of yeast has been preserved by evolution in more complex organisms, including humans.”
What did the study find? They found that Zoloft’s interaction at the cellular level had an impact on the basic building blocks of nerve cells which may point to Zoloft’s affecting the way our brains create new brain cells. The study infers that Zoloft’s impact on the human body may involve rewiring or repairing neurons which are in the human body (and brain specifically.) The study also showed that Zoloft caused the cells to accumulate sertraline which caused swelling and sharp curvatures within the organisms and was due to the cells reacting in a protective way after being introduced to sertraline. It will be interesting to see, once further studies are released, if they can connect Zoloft and other SSRI drugs to the birth defects that have been alleged to be caused by it. Zoloft lawsuits allege that Pfizer knew, or should have known, that mothers who had taken SSRI drugs like Zoloft are at a greater risk of having a baby born with congenital birth defects like Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension (PPHN), Atrial Septal Defects (ASD), ventricular septal defects (VSD), abdominal birth defects (omphalocele), cranial birth defects (craniosynotosis), aorta coarctation, hypoplastic right or left heart syndrome, transposition of the great arteries (TGA), tetralogy of fallot (TOF), spina bifida or other birth defects. Zoloft is in a class of drugs called serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRI and Paxil, another SSRI drug, has much stronger warning labels when compared to Zoloft. The FDA may add the same label to Zoloft within the next year.
The Zoloft birth defect lawsuits allege that Pfizer’s Zoloft fails to adequately warn prescribing physicians and patients of the risks that the unborn baby faces from exposure to Zoloft when taken by the mother during pregnancy. In 2006 Pfizer changed the warning label for Zoloft (and other antidepressants) so mothers would informed of the risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), a potentially fatal lung disease. The Zoloft lawsuits allege that the warning labels don’t state enough and that Zoloft and other antidepressants also may cause birth defects other than PPHN.
To read more about the Princeton University study you can read all of the results at Princeton University’s website. The researchers hope that further studies will give them greater insights into physiological reasons behind depression and how to treat it. The initial results show that treatment focusing on more than just serotonin levels will be necessary to help patients suffering from depression.
If you would like more information about filing a Zoloft birth defect class action lawsuit or a Zoloft birth defect personal injury lawsuit just go to the Zoloft Birth Defect Class Action Lawsuit Investigation page. There you can submit your information to attorneys who are actively investigating all claims regarding birth defects like Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension (PPHN), Atrial Septal Defects (ASD), ventricular septal defects (VSD),abdominal birth defects (omphalocele), cranial birth defects (craniosynotosis), aorta coarctation, hypoplastic right or left heart syndrome, transposition of the great arteries (TGA), tetralogy of fallot (TOF), spina bifida and other problems which may be attributed to Zoloft or another anti-depressant (SSRI) drug taken while pregnant.  


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Updated April 26th, 2012


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  • mary campbell March 5, 2013

    I took that for four year

  • Lisa Constantino-Wel April 26, 2013

    I would like to see the health community look further into NOT ONLY for birth defects but, the health problems it may have had on the ADULT that is using the zoloft ….I know I took it for years and at the age of 46 I started having extremely HIGH bloob pressure and HEART RATE…and had a EKG done and my doctor wanted me to have further checking out after what they saw from the EKG..but do to no insurance at the time I couldn’t and still haven’t…which worries me…they said I have a enlargement of one side of my heart and a value that leaks on the other side…they did take me off the Zoloft though

  • Joyce Terry April 26, 2013

    When my son was FORCE-FED an SSRI against my wishes and without my permission for about 2 years, he lost consciousness in school and developed hand tremors. Though the hand tremors still exist to a lesser degree, they still are problematic well over 15 years later. It’s time to look into children and adults who suffered and still suffer due to this drug class!!!

  • Hannah Terry May 13, 2013

    Owas was on zoloft for a couple ofyears. I now havehigh bloodpressure a brain tumor. loss of vision in one eye The Drs do not Know why 4 cranial. nerves and. NO Idea whyunwhy

  • jane wagner May 20, 2014

    Try losing your entire family, as you were upped from 7mg to 75mg in a period of 12 months. I was so HIGH I cheated on my husband, told him, and was acting like a 16 year old slut. Thank you ZOLOFT, for ruining MY LIFE! I have not seen my children for 14 years thanks to this monster medication. the withdrawals were horrific. How did this get clinically passed with the FDA???? I am Bi-polar, not diagnosed then, oh my god what a combination Zoloft with Bi-polar. Steven King might like the story!

  • Lynn Yoch May 20, 2015

    I have taken Zoloft for years and hadn’t realized that it wasn’t working. I am bi-polar. Only if I had known years ago maybe I wouldn’t have been downsized 7 times from various jobs.

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