Why did Zoloft disappear and what should Petersburgers who are faced with an antidepressant shortage do? Explaining with a psychiatrist

On Friday, October 28, the manufacturer of Zoloft informed on the suspension of the supply of antidepressants to Russian pharmacies. Petersburgers diagnosed with depression have been unable to find the drug in pharmacies since the beginning of the month. “Paper” figured out why one of the most popular antidepressants disappears, and also talked to a psychiatrist and found out if Zoloft can be replaced.

Why did Zoloft disappear in Russia?

The supply of the drug to Russia was frozen due to “technical problems” associated with a “third-party manufacturer of the finished product” reported Russian representatives of the manufacturer of “Zoloft” – the American company Viatris. When exactly the deliveries were suspended is not specified. But readers “Paper” have been reporting antidepressant shortages since early October.

Difficulties in supply affected all variations of the drug: in packages of 28 and 14 tablets with dosages of 100 and 50 milligrams. Other packaging options are not available, should from the drug guide.

By October 31, on the Yandex Market ad site and in the Eapteka online store, where you could buy Zoloft before, the drug is no longer available, I was convinced “Paper”.

The delay in supplies “is not related to the quality, safety or efficacy of the finished product,” Viatris, the only company that produces the drug, says in a press release. When the supply of the antidepressant will resume, the manufacturer does not specify.

Roszdravnadzor denies Zoloft deficiency. In 2022, Russian pharmacies received nearly 959,000 packages of antidepressants, officials said, and the department itself received no complaints about the lack of the drug. What, in this case, caused the disappearance of Zoloft from the shelves of pharmacies, Roszdravnadzor did not explain.

Has this happened before? And how did it end?

Zoloft disappeared from Russian pharmacies more than once, but later returned.

First massive drug shortage noticed in 2020 due to increased demand for antidepressants during the pandemic coronavirus.

Russians encountered with a shortage of Zoloft and in March 2021. Then Viatris explained the problems with “supply difficulties”.

For the last time Russians en masse complained on the absence of Zoloft in pharmacies in January, February and March 2022. Then RBC figured outthat the antidepressant has not been supplied to the Russian Federation since October 2021. And the authors of wrotethat ads mentioning the drug were noticed on the darknet, where drugs are mainly sold.

In the first half of February 2022 at Roszdravnadzor assuredthat drug again will do to pharmacies in the second quarter. According to officials, the manufacturer has suspended supplies due to rising demand for the antidepressant in other countries. After March 2022, Zoloft really reappeared in pharmacies in Russian cities.

Why is it such an important drug?

“Zoloft” included on the list of essential drugs. His appoint people with depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic disorder, or social phobia.

In addition, the current shortage is superimposed on a sharp rise in antidepressant use due to the war. In the first nine months of 2022, Russians bought 8.4 million packs of antidepressants – 48% more than in the same period in 2021, the report said. “Paper” in national labeling system “Honest Mark”. Petersburg is the second city in terms of the number of antidepressants sold (about 1.2 thousand packages per 10 thousand people).

infographics “Paper”

In the summer of 2022, Zoloft ranked second in terms of the number of packages sold – its sales amounted to 11% of all purchased antidepressants, informed Forbes, citing DSM Group data. In the first six months of 2022, sales of the drug grew by almost 20%.

According to Chestny Znak data provided by “Paper”, in the first nine months of 2022, 568.5 thousand packs of antidepressants were bought in St. Petersburg – 68% more than in the same period in 2021. The amount of expenses for sedatives among Petersburgers increased by 87% and reached a value of 479.9 million rubles.

infographics “Paper”

What to do for those who are prescribed “Zoloft”?

In conversation with “Paper” psychiatrist Alexander Seisyan noted that St. Petersburg residents should not worry about the lack of an antidepressant in city pharmacies: “Zoloft is not insulin for diabetes. There are a lot of options to replace it.”

Seixian advised those who were prescribed to use Zoloft to contact their doctor and ask him to change the antidepressant to another one. The psychiatrist notes that Zoloft is not the only drug in its group of drugs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors).

The main substance of “Zoloft” – sertraline. Seixian told “Paper”that in St. Petersburg pharmacies they sell many variations of drugs that contain this substance – for example, “Serenade”, “Serlift”, “Serlift Stimulaton”, “Asentra”. Before you start taking it, you should consult a psychiatrist: these are prescription drugs, the use of which must be agreed with a specialist.

“The problem with the indispensability of Zoloft is very far-fetched. There are situations when there is no real analogue available, but this is not the case,” Seixian says.

Roszdravnadzor notesthat the number of drugs with sertraline in Russia has recently increased by almost 30%: if in 2021 there were more than 1.4 million such antidepressants on the shelves of pharmacies, then in 2022 there were about 2 million packages in circulation.

How are they looking for “Zoloft” with a shortage?

Reader “Paper” On October 31, she said that she faced a shortage of Zoloft about a month ago. Then the nearest pharmacy to her house said that the antidepressant was not on sale. The drug also disappeared from all pharmacies in the city center, followed from the data of the Ekmi inquiry service website. As a result, the girl was able to buy several packs of an antidepressant in a pharmacy on the outskirts of the city.

According to the stories of St. Petersburg residents, Zoloft does disappear from the shelves of pharmacies from time to time – as a rule, such episodes last from one to two months. Reader “Paper” found two cases: in February 2022 and in the winter of 2021, after which the drug was returned.

It is known that during the Zoloft shortage in the spring of 2022, Russians were looking for the drug on social networks. So, a subscriber of one of the residents of Moscow sent antidepressant with fellow travelers from France, and a resident of Novosibirsk changed “Zoloft” for other drugs in a special telegram chat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button