These items are out-of-date. For current information on sertraline hydrochloride, see Sertraline (marketed as Zoloft) Information.
Previous FDA Alert: Suicidal Thoughts or Actions in Children and Adults [issued 7/2005]
7/2006 update: The issues described below have been addressed in product labeling.
All patients being treated with any type of antidepressant for any indication should be observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy, or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases. For pediatric patients, such observation would generally include at least weekly face-to-face contact with patients or their family members or caregivers during the first 4 weeks of treatment, then every other week visits for the next 4 weeks, then at 12 weeks, and as clinically indicated beyond 12 weeks. Additional contact by telephone may be appropriate between face-to-face visits. Adults whose symptoms worsen while being treated with antidepressant medications, including an increase in suicidal thinking or behavior, should be evaluated by their healthcare professional.
Consideration should be given to changing the therapeutic regimen, including possibly discontinuing the medication, in patients whose depression is persistently worse, or who are experiencing emergent suicidality or symptoms that might be precursors to worsening depression or suicidality, especially if these symptoms are severe, abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient’s presenting symptoms.
Pooled analyses of short-term (4 to 16 weeks) placebo-controlled trials of 9 antidepressant drugs (SSRIs and others) in children and adolescents with MDD, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or other psychiatric disorders (a total of 24 trials involving over 4400 patients) have revealed a greater risk of adverse events representing suicidal thinking or behavior (suicidality) during the first few months of treatment in those receiving antidepressants. The average risk of such events in patients receiving antidepressants was 4 percent, twice the placebo risk of 2 percent. No suicides occurred in these trials; however, the duration of treatment was limited. Spontaneous post-marketing reports of suicide-related events associated with the use of SSRIs, including suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, self-mutilation and completed suicide have been received. Because these events may also be related to underlying psychiatric illness, definitive evaluation of the effects of SSRIs on suicide related events from post-marketing reports alone is not possible, and the data from controlled clinical trials is more informative.
Although there are no similar comprehensive data linking the use of antidepressant medications and an increased risk of suicidality in adults, FDA has initiated a complete review of all available data. FDA has asked the manufacturers of all marketed antidepressants to identify all placebo-controlled clinical trials conducted in adults in their development programs for their antidepressant products, regardless of the indication studied, and to provide information from these trials to FDA. Manufacturers are being asked to use a similar approach to assembling this information as was used in evaluating the risk of suicidality in placebo-controlled trials in pediatric patients treated with antidepressant medications.
This information reflects FDA’s preliminary analysis of data concerning this drug. FDA is considering, but has not reached a final conclusion about, this information. FDA intends to update this sheet when additional information or analyses become available.
- Sertraline hydrochloride is marketed under these names:
- sertraline hydrochloride
- Regulatory History of Sertraline from Drugs@FDA
- Antidepressant Use in Children, Adolescents, and Adults
To report any serious adverse events associated with the use of this drug, please contact the FDA MedWatch program using the contact information at the bottom of this sheet.