What is Zoloft?

Zoloft is a medication known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. The mediation is used to treat major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.


When did the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approve the medication?

Zoloft was first approved by the FDA in 1991.


Is there a generic version of Zoloft?

Yes, the generic version of Zoloft is known as sertraline and is sold in the U.S.


Are there any major differences between Zoloft and other mental health medications?

Zoloft is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed type of antidepressants, and they work by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. They are also sometimes prescribed to treat anxiety and other conditions. If you have bipolar disorder and take an SSRI, you may be at risk for triggering a manic episode if you are not also taking a mood stabilizer. Talk to your doctor about your specific symptoms, other health concerns, and other medications you take so they can make the best recommendation for your condition and symptoms.

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Can children take Zoloft?

The safety and efficacy of the medication has only been established to treat children ages 6 to 17 specifically for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Talk to your child’s doctor about the risks of the medication.


Are there potential interaction issues for people taking Zoloft and any other drugs?

There are hundreds of drugs which are known to interact with Zoloft in major, moderate, or mild ways, so let your doctor know what other medications you are taking before you begin taking the medication. Talk to your doctor if you take MAO inhibitors, pimozide, or disulfiram.


Are there any other medical conditions that would make someone ineligible for Zoloft therapy?

Talk to your doctor about other medical conditions before you take Zoloft, such as heart attack, heart disease, liver disease, and low sodium levels. If you’re allergic to latex tell your doctor before you take the liquid concentrate version of the medication.


What is the typical dose that would be prescribed to someone taking Zoloft?

Dosage will vary depending on the condition being treated. The maximum recommended dosage is 200 mg per day.


What do I do if I miss a dose?

Take the dose of Zoloft when you remember, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. You should never take extra doses of the medication to make up for missed doses.


How long does it take for Zoloft to reach full efficacy?

It may take several weeks or longer for the medication to be fully effective and for initial side effects to decrease.


What side effects can Zoloft cause?

Common side effects can include:
• constipation
• nausea
• diarrhea
• sleep problems
• heartburn
• dizziness
• sweating
• dry mouth
• loss of appetite
• fatigue
• headache
• uncontrollable shaking
• changes in sex drive

It also is recommended that you wait to drive or operate machinery until you know how the medication affects you. It is also recommended that people avoid alcohol and illegal drugs while on the medication, as they can worsen adverse effects. Report side effects to your doctor immediately. Serious side effects can include seizures, bleeding or bruising, swelling, hives, rash, trouble breathing, agitation, fever, fast heartbeat, vomiting, muscle stiffness, loss of coordination, or hallucinations. You can also report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or online.


What are the potential psychological side effects of taking Zoloft?

Zoloft may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors particularly in children, teens, and young adults who take the medication. Seek medical help if you or your child experience these thoughts or other changes in behavior or mood.


What are the potential long-term effects of taking Zoloft?

Zoloft may cause weight loss in children. It can also cause angle-closure glaucoma, so talk to your doctor about the risks.


Is it safe for a woman who is pregnant, about to become pregnant, or nursing to take Zoloft?

Birth defects and fetal harm are possible when Zoloft is taken during pregnancy, but the risk is very low. The drug may be transferred via breast milk. Therefore, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are nursing before you take Zoloft.


Can symptoms occur if Zoloft is discontinued?

It’s important not to discontinue use of the drug before talking with your doctor. Withdrawal symptoms of Zoloft can include anxiety, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, flu-like symptoms, nausea, and the return of depressive symptoms.


What should I do if I overdose on Zoloft?

An overdose of Zoloft could be fatal, so seek immediate help or call the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222 if you overdose. Overdose symptoms can include fatigue, drowsiness, agitation, dizziness, fever, vomiting, fast heartbeat, sweating, shivering, confusion, muscle stiffness, nausea, loss of coordination, diarrhea, seizures hallucinations, mania, or loss of consciousness.


Is Zoloft habit-forming?

Zoloft is not habit-forming, but it is not recommended that you discontinue use of the drug before talking with your doctor, as withdrawal symptoms can occur.


How much does Zoloft cost?

According to goodrx.com, 30 tablets of 100 mg generic sertraline cost approximately $36. 30 tablets of 100 mg Zoloft cost approximately $325.


Are there any disadvantages to Zoloft?

The biggest disadvantages of Zoloft are the potential side effects. Talk to your doctor about what medication is best for you.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained herein should NOT be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other healthcare providers. This article mentions drugs that were FDA-approved and available at the time of publication and may not include all possible drug interactions or all FDA warnings or alerts. The author of this page explicitly does not endorse this drug or any specific treatment method. If you have health questions or concerns about interactions, please check with your physician or go to the FDA site for a comprehensive list of warnings.

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Last Updated: Feb 21, 2018