What is Zoloft?
Zoloft is an antidepressant medication used to treat major depressive disorder and anxiety. It decreases brain levels of serotonin (a natural substance that can affect mood). Zoloft is also used as a treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder for people who are not helped by other medications.
What do I need to know before taking Zoloft?
Do not drink alcohol while on Zoloft. Alcohol can increase the risk of seizures, severe bleeding, or liver damage. Certain medicines interact with Zoloft and should either not be taken or only under close supervision from your healthcare provider. These include certain antidepressants (e.g., selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors - SSRIs), antipsychotics (e.g. haloperidol), or certain medications for epilepsy (e.g., phenytoin). These medicines can have significant interactions with Zoloft and other antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), and citalopram (Celexa). Some of these medicines are also used to treat other conditions, so check with your healthcare provider before taking any of these drugs.
What if I forget to take a dose?
It is important for patients to remember that if they miss a Zoloft dose that it should be taken as soon as possible, unless otherwise directed by their healthcare provider.
What if I take too much Zoloft?
If you take more Zoloft than prescribed by your healthcare provider, call your healthcare provider for instructions. Overdose symptoms include a tremor (shaking), dizziness, confusion, seizure (convulsions) and coma (loss of consciousness). Some of these symptoms are usually mild and go away after treatment.
What should I avoid while taking Zoloft?
Zoloft can cause an increased risk of suicidal thoughts or actions in persons under age 24. Close supervision is required when administering Zoloft to children and adolescents because they can develop suicidal ideation and behavior [ADVERSE REACTIONS].
What are the side effects of Zoloft?
Zoloft can cause serious side effects, including:
Suicidal thoughts or actions: In children and adolescents, Zoloft can cause suicidal ideation and behavior. All patients taking antidepressants should be watched closely for these behaviors or symptoms. A decision should be made whether to discontinue treatment with Zoloft. When discontinuing treatment all patients should gradually reduce their dose over a 2-4 week period to avoid these symptoms. Prescribe only as needed, and at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible duration.
Abnormal bleeding: Zoloft can increase the risk of bleeding in the head or intestines and in the stomach, bowels, bladder, or genitals. The risk of bleeding may be greater if Zoloft is taken along with aspirin or NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen). These medicines should not be taken while you are taking Zoloft unless directed by your healthcare provider.
Allergic reactions: In rare cases, medications can cause serious allergic reactions that may affect a patient's lungs, skin, kidneys, and/or liver. These types of skin reactions can happen if you are allergic to sertraline hydrochloride (the active ingredient contained in Zoloft). Ask your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about Zoloft and how to manage any possible side effects.
Seizures: All patients taking antidepressants should be watched closely for a possible increase in seizures, especially at the beginning of treatment. A decision should be made whether to discontinue treatment with Zoloft. When discontinuing treatment all patients should gradually reduce their dose over a 2-4 week period to avoid these symptoms. Prescribe only as needed, and at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible duration.
Dry mouth: All patients taking antidepressants should be on regular oral hydration and salt intake (to maintain proper fluid balance). If you are on a Zoloft dose of more than 60 mg daily, it may be necessary to adjust the amount of fluid and/or salt in your diet.
High blood pressure: Zoloft may cause an increase in the blood pressure, especially if you have pre-existing hypertension.
Anxiety: Zoloft is thought to increase anxiety. Patients should be closely monitored for any changes in their anxiety level or behavior while taking this medicine. If anxiety occurs, your healthcare provider may decrease your dose or stop the medicine completely. Do not take any more than directed by your healthcare provider without checking first with him or her first. If you notice worsening mood or behavior, contact your healthcare provider right away.
Digestive system: Zoloft can sometimes cause nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, and weight loss. These symptoms are usually mild and go away on their own. Digestive side effects can occur if you are sensitive to sertraline hydrochloride (the active ingredient contained in Zoloft). Ask your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about Zoloft and how to manage any possible side effects.
Dizziness: Dizziness is most likely to occur when a patient first starts taking Zoloft, when dosage is changed, or when the dosage is increased. This symptom may decrease over time.
Weight gain: Zoloft may cause weight gain or decrease weight loss in some patients. This is more likely to occur in women who are very overweight. If you are gaining weight, contact your healthcare provider.
Serotonin syndrome: This can occur with unusual changes in behavior and if you are taking another medication that affects serotonin levels such as other antidepressants (SSRIs), serotonin-containing St. John's wort, tryptophan supplements, or certain pain medicines. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include agitation, hallucinations, coma, tremor and stiffness.
Pregnancy: Zoloft should be used during pregnancy only when the benefits outweigh the risks. If you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant while taking Zoloft, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Social situations: Zoloft may cause difficulty in social situations (such as parties and trips) where alcohol is present. It may create anxiety-producing side effects (such as restlessness and insomnia), so patients should avoid alcohol and other drugs that make them feel high while taking Zoloft.
Zoloft is a prescription medication taken daily. This information is used to discuss Zoloft with you, and not to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is important that you share this information with your healthcare provider. DO NOT DISCUSS THIS MEDICATION WITH OTHERS .
Do not take Zoloft if you have taken an MAO inhibitor such as furazolidone (Furoxone), linezolid (Zyvox), phenelzine (Nardil), and tranylcypromine (Parnate) in the past 14 days. A very serious allergic reaction has happened with this combination in the past.
Before starting Zoloft, tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements.
Zoloft can cause serious side effects including:
Serotonin Syndrome. This can occur with unusual changes in behavior and if you are taking another medication that affects serotonin levels such as other antidepressants (SSRIs), serotonin-containing St. John's wort, tryptophan supplements, or certain pain medicines. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include agitation, hallucinations, coma, tremor and stiffness.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.