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Zoloft (Sertraline)

Zoloft (sertraline) is part of a group of medications called selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Zoloft is used most often to control the symptoms that accompany depression, anxiety, or panic attacks in adults, young adults, and teens. Zoloft can also be used in some cases to control obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and posttraumatic stress (PTSD) symptoms. Zoloft can help control the behavior that accompanies certain mental health conditions, but it will not cure those conditions. Other treatments, such as psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes may also be necessary to help improve your condition.

 

Zoloft comes in both tablet and concentrated liquid form and is usually taken once per day. The liquid version of the drug is a concentrate that must be added to water, ginger ale, orange juice, lemon lime soda, or lemonade. It may take several weeks of taking the medication before a person begins to feel the full effects, and it is important to continue taking Zoloft as prescribed even when one feels well.

Important Information Before Use

Before taking any psychotropic medication, including Zoloft, it is important to discuss your current health conditions, symptoms, and substance use with your doctor. If you have or have ever had a heart attack, heart disease, seizures, or liver disease, you should discuss this with your doctor before taking Zoloft. You should also mention any serious reactions you have had to other similar medications. If you use alcohol regularly, talk to your doctor about how alcohol and this drug will interact.

 

Zoloft may interact with other medications or supplements, including but not limited to:

  • Antabuse (disulfiram)
  • antihistamines
  • anticoagulants
  • antidepressants
  • antifungals
  • sleeping pills
  • St. John's Wort
  • pain relievers
  • high blood pressure medications
  • migraine medications

If you are taking any other prescription drugs or supplements, you should check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking Zoloft.

Important Information During Use

  • If you are pregnant or become pregnant while taking Zoloft, you should talk to your doctor about alternative treatments for your condition. Zoloft can cause problems in newborns if taken during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
  • Zoloft can make you extremely drowsy; using alcohol with Zoloft can worsen this side effect.
  • Zoloft overdose can be fatal, and symptoms of overdose include vomiting, dizziness, seizures, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, hallucinations, breathing difficulties, fainting, and coma.

Zoloft Side Effects

If you experience serious or severe side effects from Zoloft, you should call your doctor immediately. Serious side effects from this medication may include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Seizures
  • Irregular or fast heartbeat
  • Abnormal bleeding, bruising, or blistering
  • Hallucinations
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Fever or sweating

Less serious side effects of taking Zoloft may include:

  • Drowsiness or dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Restlessness, nervousness, or agitation
  • Stomach upset, gas, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation
  • Headache
  • Pain or tingling in feet or hands
  • Change in sex drive or ability
  • Uncontrollable tremors or shaking
  • Sore throat

Withdrawing from Zoloft

People who are taking Zoloft should not stop taking the medication abruptly; see your doctor before reducing or discontinuing this medication. You can reduce the symptoms you feel during withdrawal by slowly tapering off of this medication. Possible symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Insomnia
  • Agitation, anxiety, or irritability
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Tiredness or dizziness

Communicate with your doctor about any negative symptoms that you experience when you stop using this medication.

 

References:

  1. Zoloft. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-35-8095/zoloft-oral/sertraline-oral/details#
  2. Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride). (2014, May). Retrieved from http://labeling.pfizer.com/ShowLabeling.aspx?id=517

 

Last Update: 12-15-2014

 

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