What Is Zoloft?
Zoloft, also known as Sertraline, is a antidepressant. It is in the group of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors also known as SSRIs. This medication affects the chemicals in the brain. Brain chemicals can become unbalanced which can cause obsessive compulsive symptoms, anxiety, panic or depression.
Setraline is used to treat these disorders and is also used in the treatment of post traumatic stress disorders and in some cases even severe pre menstrual symptoms. There are some situations where your doctor may use Sertraline for other purposes.
Information You Should Know About Zoloft
There are several things that you should know before you take Zoloft.
- Some people especially those that are younger, have experienced suicidal thoughts, especially in younger people. Your doctor will need to monitor you closely and so will your family and friends while taking this drug.
- If you have taken a MAO inhibitor within the past 2 weeks you cannot take Zoloft. If you do a serious drug interaction may happen. MAO inhibitors include tranylcypromine, linezolid, phenelzine, rasgaline, selegiline, and isocarboazid.
- If you have been treated with a methylene blue injection you should not take Zoloft.
- If you take pimozide, you should not take Zoloft.
- If you have symptoms you should report them to your doctor especially if they are new or worsening. Symptoms like hurting yourself, more depressed, extreme hyperness, and aggressiveness should all be reported to your doctor as soon as possible.
- Zoloft has not been tested in children for depression. It has been approved for children with obsessive compulsive disorder.
Discussing Zoloft with Your Doctor
There are many things that you will want to discuss with your doctor before taking Zoloft. Here are the things that you will want to talk with your doctor about.
- Tell your doctor if you take pimozide, or you have been given a methylene blue injection. You will not be able to use Zoloft.
- Tell your doctor if you are taking a MAO inhibitor as it can cause a fatal drug interaction.
- Tell your doctor if you have had an allergy related to Zoloft in the past even if it was a small allergy like a rash.
- Tell your doctor is you have seizures or epilepsy.
- Liver disease.
- Kidney disease.
- Blood clotting disorder or excessive bleeding.
- Drug abuse.
- Manic depression.
- Bipolar disorder.
- Suicidal thoughts.
Younger people such as teenagers may be more susceptible to the side effects of Zoloft and may have some thoughts of suicide. Be sure that you monitor the teen closely and the doctor monitors as well.
Zoloft is in the pregnancy category C. This means that it can cause serious problems for an unborn fetus including lung problems and some other complications. If you become pregnant while taking Zoloft you should immediately contact your doctor. Do not stop taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
If you have not started taking the medication, do not start if you find out that you are pregnant. If you are nursing, it is not known whether or not Zoloft is passed on through the breast milk so you will need to speak with your doctor to see if it is safe to breastfeed your child.
Side Effects of Zoloft
A severe allergic reaction to Zoloft would include a skin rash or hives, swelling of your throat, tongue, face or lips, and difficulty breathing. If you experience these symptoms you should seek medical attention immediately by going to your local emergency room or calling 911.
Call your doctor immediately if you experience the following:
- Overactive reflexes.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Fast or uneven heartbeats.
- Feeling like you might pass out.
- Loss of appetite.
- Shallow breathing.
- Loss of coordination.
- Any type of mental changes including thoughts of suicide.
Common side effects are:
- Mild nausea.
- Dry mouth.
- Upset stomach.
- Stomach pain.
- Changes in appetite.
- Changes in weight.
- Decreased sex drive.
- Difficulty having orgasms.
- Feeling tired all the time.
There may be other side effects that you experience. If you should experience a different side effect, you should call and report it to your doctor. In addition you should call the FDA hotline at 1-800-FDA-1088 to report the side effect.
There are many drugs out there that may interact with Zoloft. These medications can slow your breathing or cause problems with the medication working correctly. Report to your doctor if you are taking any of the following medications:
- Pain medications. These medications can cause breathing problems and include medications like morphine and tramadol.
- Any other antidepressant.
- Cough medicine that has dextromethorphan.
- Heart medications.
- Blood pressure medications.
- Warfarin, Coumadin.
- Migraine headache medication.
- Seizure medications.
There may also be other medications that might interact with Zoloft so you will need to make sure that you give your doctor a complete list of medications that you are taking both prescription and over the counter.
What to Avoid While Taking Zoloft
There are several things that you should avoid while taking the medication Zoloft.
Ask your doctor before taking aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen or any other drug in the NSAID or non steroidal anti inflammatory drug. If you take this while taking Zoloft you could have trouble with bleeding. You could bleed freely and bruise easily.
Stay away from alcohol while taking Zoloft. It can increase the side effects as well as cause other problems so it is best not to consume alcohol when taking Zoloft.
If you take disulfiram also known as Antabuse, do not take the liquid form of Zoloft. This form may contain alcohol which can cause a severe reaction to the Antabuse causing you many problems.
Zoloft has a tendency to make you less alert than normal so do not drive or try anything that you need to be alert for.
How to Take Zoloft
Your doctor will tell you how to take Zoloft and you can also read on the pill bottle. If you have any questions your doctor and your pharmacist can answer any of your questions. In some cases you doctor may change your medication dosage to make sure that the medication is working for you.
Do not take this medication outside of the way it is prescribed. Taking too much or too little can cause you serious problems and can cause a setback in your symptoms or more severely death if you were to overdose. Always follow your instructions well to ensure that you are getting the correct dose of the medication.
Zoloft can cause you to fail a drug screening test. If you go in for drug testing you will need to inform the nurse that you are taking Zoloft. They may ask to speak with your doctor or see your prescription bottle to confirm that you are taking Zoloft.
Do not expect immediate relief from your symptoms. It can take up to a month for your symptoms to start easing off and the medication to start working.
Store this medication at room temperature and avoid moisture and heat to ensure that the medication does not become damaged.
If you are taking the liquid form of Zoloft you will need to make sure that you get the correct amount of liquid. The medication will come with the dropper provider. You can use lemonade, lemon lime soda, orange juice, ginger ale, or water to mix the medication up with. Do not use any other liquid. If you have some left in your glass, take a small amount of water and rinse the cup, and swallow. Do not let this medication sit. Take it immediately.
This medication can be taken with food or without. Make sure that you take Zoloft at the same time every day if possible.
Do not quit taking Zoloft suddenly as this can cause severe withdrawal symptoms. If you do not want to take Zoloft you can contact your doctor and he or she will tell you how to safely withdrawal from the medication.
If you suspect an overdose of Zoloft you should seek emergency medical attention by getting to your nearest emergency room or calling your local emergency service.
Missing A Dose
If you miss a dose of Zoloft take the missed dose as soon as possible. If it is near the time when you are supposed to take your normal dose, skip the one that you missed. Do not take extra medication as this can cause overdose problems.