What Is Zoloft?

Zoloft is the brand name for sertraline, one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. It is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), meaning it increases the amount of serotonin in your brain.

Serotonin is one of the most important brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) for regulating mood and other vital bodily roles. Serotonin influences learning, memory, and happiness and regulates body temperature, sleep, sexual behavior, and hunger.

Lack of serotonin plays a role in anxiety, mania, and other mental health conditions. As a result, antidepressant medications that increase the amount of serotonin are commonly prescribed for depression as well as other mental health disorders.

Zoloft helps treat:

Zoloft is also prescribed to relieve symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, such as mood swings, bloating, irritability, and breast tenderness.

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How To Use Zoloft

Zoloft is taken by prescription only, and you should follow your physician’s instructions on dosage and frequency. Zoloft is usually prescribed in tablet form and is taken orally once a day in the morning or evening.

Zoloft Dosage

As with all SSRIs, the rule of thumb for Zoloft is “start slow and go slow,” meaning to start at the lowest dosage of 50mg and slowly increase the dosage if needed. It is normal to have mild side effects when beginning Zoloft, so it is essential to talk with your doctor about them and not discontinue Zoloft without their recommendation.

It usually takes 4-6 weeks to notice symptom relief after starting Zoloft, so patience is essential. If symptoms do not improve after 4-6 weeks, your doctor may increase the dose. In general, the dosage for Zoloft is no more than 200mg.

What If I Miss A Dose?

If you missed a dose of Zoloft, take it immediately unless it is almost time to take your next dose. For example, if you missed your Zoloft dose by a few hours, go ahead and take it, but if you missed your Zoloft medication by a day and it’s almost time for your next dose, do not take both doses close together or simultaneously.

If you miss multiple doses, you may be at risk of discontinuation syndrome, which is when SSRIs are stopped abruptly or dosage is abruptly reduced and unwanted symptoms appear. Discontinuation symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Tingling in extremities
  • Dizziness

If you have difficulty remembering to take your Zoloft, set an alarm every day on your phone or watch, and keep your medication in weekly pill organizers by your bed or on your bathroom counter, where you will always see them.

Side Effects Of Zoloft

Zoloft is generally considered safe for long-term use, with no inherent danger in taking it for months or even years. However, side effects can still occur.

Common side effects of Zoloft are often reversible and go away within time; they include the following:

  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness

Sexual side effects, including difficulties having an erection or an orgasm, often do not improve with time. Sexual side effects are a common reason why many people may want to stop taking Zoloft; this is a meaningful conversation to have with your doctor.

Warnings For Zoloft Use

If you consume alcohol, are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, are taking other medications, or have past or current mental health disorders, you should discuss this with your doctor before starting Zoloft. You should also talk to your doctor if you are having suicidal thoughts or if you are worried about any of the symptoms associated with Zoloft use.

Zoloft has a black box warning for children and adolescents, as short-term studies for Zoloft do show an increase in suicidal thoughts and behaviors in this age range.

Zoloft Interactions

In general, Zoloft is a safe medication. However, some medications should not be taken with Zoloft. These include monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), as there is a risk for serotonin syndrome when combined with Zoloft within two weeks. Zoloft should also not be used with Orap (pimozide).

Can You Overdose On Zoloft?

It is possible to overdose on Zoloft. An overdose occurs when someone takes too much of the medication. The milder and more common symptoms of an overdose include:

  • Agitation
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shaking and tremors
  • Tiredness

Although many symptoms of a Zoloft overdose are uncomfortable, it is not necessarily a life-threatening emergency. However, in severe cases, a Zoloft overdose can cause organ damage and may even turn fatal.

When someone suffers a severe Zoloft overdose, they may faint or experience delirium and hallucinations. The overdose could also damage a person’s heart and pancreas.

Serotonin Syndrome

A Zoloft overdose can turn into serotonin syndrome, which is the body’s reaction to an excess of serotonin. The syndrome is rare, but when it does occur, it usually begins within one day of taking too much of an SSRI. Serotonin syndrome is a medical emergency that causes fever, shivering, muscle tightness, confusion, and potentially lethal seizures. If you feel as though you are experiencing serotonin syndrome, seek medical treatment immediately to decrease serotonin levels and stabilize vital signs.

Get Help Today

Those taking Zoloft to treat depression and other mental and mood disorders can benefit from online therapy, which provides psychotherapy options to help address and treat a variety of mental health conditions. If you are interested in exploring the options available to you, visit our online therapy directory today.