Turning Frowns Greenly Upside Down
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The Redesign of the Sertraline Process
Jennifer Evans
University of New Hampshire at Manchester

Drawn with Marvin Sketch by Jennifer Evans (1)

What is Sertraline?

Sertraline hydrochloride is a white crystalline power that is slightly soluble in water and sparingly soluble in ethanol (1). Sertraline is used as a pharmaceutical selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) indicated for oral administration for the treatment of major depressive disorder. It is also used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, social anxiety disorder and panic disorders. Sertraline works by increasing the naturally occurring chemical serotonin in the brain to maintain a healthy mental balance (2).

Who Makes Sertraline?

Pfizer Incorporated manufactures sertraline as the active ingredient under the brand name Zoloft (4). Various pharmaceutical companies are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to manufacture sertraline as a generic of its brand name Zoloft marketed by Pfizer. Brand Zoloft and its generics are supplied as scored, marked tablets with corresponding amounts of sertraline in 25mg, 50mg and 100mg in addition to an oral concentrate that is 20mg/ml (1). The tablets and oral concentrate contain inactive ingredients that may vary with pharmaceutical company however some generics are found identical to the brand name. One example of this case is seen with the company Greenstone Limited. Greenstone Limited became completely owned by Pfizer in 2003 and manufactures sertraline tablets and oral concentrate that are identical to Pfizer’s brand name Zoloft (3).

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Pfizer and Green Chemistry

With increasing awareness of green chemistry, pharmaceuticals are prime candidates for being greened. In 2001, Pfizer began its green chemistry initiative (GCI). Shortly after, in 2002, Pfizer won the Green Synthetic Pathways Award of the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their redesign of the sertraline process (5).

Page 2: The Redesign of the Sertraline Process

1. "Medication Guide." Sertraline Hydrochloride. Peapack, NJ: Greenstone LLC, 2009. Print. 28 Nov 2010.
2. "Sertraline." PubMed Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Mar 2009. Web. 2 Dec 2010. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001017.
3. "Products: Health Care Professionals." Pfizer. Pfizer, n.d. Web. 2 Dec 2010. http://www.pfizer.com/products/hcp/greenstone_authorized_distributors.jsp#undefined.
4. United States Environmental Protection Agency. 2002 Greener Synthetic Pathways Award. 2010. Web. 5 Dec 2010. http://www.epa.gov/gcc/pubs/pgcc/winners/gspa02.html.
5. Boswell, Clay. "Pfizer Greens Chemistry." ICIS. Reed Business Information Limited, 4 Dec 2008. Web. 2 Dec 2010. http://www.icis.com/Articles/2008/12/08/9176733/pfizer-has-spent-time-developing-green-solutions.html