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About Zoloft

picture of Zoloft

What is Zoloft?

Zoloft is the brand name of the drug sertraline (pronounced SER tra leen). Zoloft is in the class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). Zoloft is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Zoloft may also be used for purposes other than those listed here.

How does Zoloft work?

Zoloft affects chemicals in your brain that may become unbalanced and cause depression, panic or anxiety, or obsessive or compulsive symptoms.

Zoloft is in the FDA pregnancy category C. This means that it is unknown whether it will harm an unborn baby. Do not take Zoloft without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant.

Update May 25, 2011: Attorneys are running TV ads looking for clients who have taken Zoloft while pregnant, which resulted in birth defects. Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Paxil, Effexor and other antidepressants are claimed to cause a number of birth defects:
  • Cleft Palate
  • Club foot
  • Heart and Lung defects
  • Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Spina Bifida
  • and other defects
It is not known whether Zoloft passes into breast milk. Do not take Zoloft without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

What are the symptoms of overdose?

Symptoms of a Zoloft overdose include nausea, vomiting, tremor, agitation, drowsiness, seizures, hyperactivity, and enlarged pupils. Seek emergency medical attention.

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking Zoloft and call your doctor immediately or seek emergency medical treatment:
  • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives)
  • an irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • low blood pressure (dizziness, weakness)
  • high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision)
  • chills or fever

Side Effects

If you experience any of the following, continue taking Zoloft and talk to your doctor:
  • headache
  • increased sweating, dizziness
  • tremor, nervousness, agitation or anxiety
  • nausea, diarrhea, dry mouth,
  • changes in appetite or weight loss
  • sleepiness or insomnia
  • decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having orgasm
  • abnormal vision, vomiting, dyspepsia

Most Frequent Side Effects

  • asthenia (abnormal loss of strength)
  • back pain
  • chest pain
  • dry mouth
  • fatigue
  • hypertonia (abnormally high muscle tension)
  • hypoesthesia (impairment of tactile sensitivity; decrease of sensitivity)
  • impotence
  • increased appetite
  • malaise (physical discomfort, uneasiness)
  • myalgia (pain in a muscle or group of muscles)
  • palpitations
  • rhinitis (inflammation of the mucous membrane lining the nose)
  • sexual dysfunction
  • tinnitus (a ringing or booming sensation in one or both ears)
  • weight gain
  • yawning

Infrequent Side Effects

  • abnormal accommodation
  • abnormal coordination
  • abnormal dreams
  • abnormal gait (walk)
  • acne
  • aggravated depression
  • aggressive reaction
  • alopecia (hair loss)
  • amenorrhea (absence or suppression of normal menstrual flow)
  • amnesia (partial or total loss of memory)
  • apathy
  • arthralgia (pain in a joint or joints)
  • arthrosis (inflammation of a joint)
  • ataxia (inability to coordinate voluntary muscle movements)
  • bronchospasm
  • cold clammy skin
  • confusion
  • conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye)
  • coughing
  • delusions
  • depression
  • dry skin
  • dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation)
  • dysphagia (condition in which swallowing is difficult or painful)
  • dyspnea (difficult or labored respiration)
  • dystonia
  • dysuria (painful or difficult urination)
  • earache
  • edema (swelling)
  • emotional lability
  • epistaxis (nose bleed)
  • eructation ( belching or burping)
  • erythematous rash (red skin rash)
  • esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus)
  • euphoria
  • eye pain
  • fever
  • flushing
  • gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines like stomach or intestinal flu)
  • hallucination
  • hyperesthesia
  • hyperkinesia
  • hypertension
  • hypokinesia
  • hypotension (abnormally low blood pressure)
  • increased saliva
  • intermenstrual bleeding
  • leg cramps
  • leukorrhea (discharge of white mucous material from the vagina)
  • maculopapular rash
  • menstrual disorder
  • memory loss
  • micturition frequency (the discharge of urine)
  • migraine
  • muscle cramps
  • muscle weakness
  • mydriasis (pupil dilation)
  • nocturia (excessive urination at night)
  • nystagmus (involuntary movements of the eyeballs)
  • paranoid reaction
  • photosensitivity reaction
  • polyuria ( production of large volumes of pale dilute urine)
  • postural dizziness
  • postural hypotension
  • pruritus (intense itching)
  • rigors (stiffness)
  • sinusitis (inflammation of one of the paranasal sinuses)
  • syncope (fainting)
  • tachycardia (abnormally rapid heartbeat (over 100 beats per minute))
  • teeth-grinding
  • thirst
  • tooth caries aggravated
  • twitching
  • upper respiratory tract infection
  • urinary incontinence
  • urinary retention
  • urticaria (an itchy skin eruption)
  • vaginal hemorrhage
  • vertigo (dizziness or lightheadedness)

Rare Side Effects

  • abnormal hepatic function (liver function)
  • abnormal lacrimation (shedding tears, crying)
  • acute female mastitis (breast inflammation)
  • aggravated hypertension
  • allergic reaction
  • allergy
  • anemia
  • anterior chamber eye hemorrhage
  • aphthous stomatitis
  • apnea
  • atrophic vaginitis
  • balanoposthitis (inflammation of both the head of the penis and the foreskin)
  • bradypnea
  • breast enlargement
  • bronchitis
  • bullous eruption
  • cerebrovascular disorder
  • choreoathetosis
  • colitis (inflammation of the colon)
  • coma
  • contact dermatitis
  • cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder and ureters)
  • dermatitis (inflammation of the skin; becomes itchy and may develop blisters)
  • diplopia (visual impairment in which an object is seen as two objects)
  • diverticulitis (inflammation of a diverticulum in the digestive tract (especially the colon); characterized by painful abdominal cramping and fever and constipation)
  • dyskinesia (abnormality in performing voluntary muscle movements)
  • dysphonia (speech disorder)
  • eczema
  • exophthalmos (protrusion of the eyeball from the socket)
  • face edema
  • fecal incontinence
  • female breast pain
  • follicular rash (inflammation of hair root)
  • gastritis
  • glaucoma (increased pressure in the eyeball)
  • glossitis (inflammation of the tongue)
  • gum hyperplasia
  • gynecomastia (excessive development of the breasts in males, man boobs)
  • hematuria (the presence of blood in the urine)
  • hemoptysis (coughing up blood from the respiratory tract)
  • hemorrhagic peptic ulcer
  • hiccup
  • hyperacusis (abnormal acuteness of hearing due to increased irritability of the sensory neural mechanism; characterized by intolerance for ordinary sound levels)
  • hypertrichosis
  • hyperventilation
  • hypoglycemia
  • hypoglycemia reaction
  • hyporeflexia
  • hypotonia (lacking normal muscle tone or tension)
  • hypoventilation
  • illusion
  • labyrinthine disorder (inner ear)
  • laryngismus (spasm caused by the sudden contraction of laryngeal muscles)
  • laryngitis
  • libido increased
  • melena (abnormally dark tarry feces containing blood)
  • menorrhagia (abnormally heavy or prolonged menstruation)
  • myocardial infarction
  • oliguria (production of an abnormally small amount of urine)
  • pallor
  • photophobia
  • precordial chest pain (in front of the heart)
  • priapism (condition in which the penis is continually erect; usually painful and seldom with sexual arousal)
  • proctitis (inflammation of the rectum; marked by bloody stools and a frequent urge to defecate)
  • ptosis (drooping of the upper eyelid)
  • pustular rash
  • pyelonephritis (inflammation of the kidney and its pelvis)
  • rectum hemorrhage (anal bleeding)
  • renal pain (pain in kidney area)
  • scotoma (an isolated area of diminished vision within the visual field)
  • skin discoloration
  • somnambulism (sleep walking)
  • stomatitis (inflammation of the mucous membrane of the mouth)
  • strangury
  • stridor (a whistling sound when breathing)
  • substernal chest pain
  • suicide ideation
  • tenesmus (painful spasm of the anal sphincter along with an urgent desire to defecate without significant production of feces)
  • tongue edema (swelling)
  • tongue ulceration.
  • ulcerative stomatitis (inflammation of the mucous membrane of the mouth)
  • vasodilation (dilation of blood vessels)
  • visual field defect
  • withdrawal syndrome
  • xerophthalmia (abnormal dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea of the eyes)
Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

Storing Zoloft

Store Zoloft at room temperature away from moisture, heat and children.

Conditions you should tell your Doctor about before taking Zoloft:

Liver disease
Kidney disease
Seizures
Mania or having suicidal thoughts.

You may not be able to take Zoloft, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the above conditions.

Tell Your Doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:

Do not take Zoloft if you have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) during the last 2 weeks, such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), pimozide or tranylcypromine (Parnate). Serious, and sometimes fatal, reactions have occurred when these medicines have been used together.

Things to avoid while taking Zoloft

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities until you know how Zoloft effects you. Zoloft may cause dizziness or drowsiness. If you experience dizziness or drowsiness, avoid these activities.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take your missed dose as soon as you remember, unless it is almost time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and take the next one as directed. Never take a double dose of this medication unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

General Notes on Zoloft

Take each tablet with water.

Try to take Zoloft at the same time each day.

Zoloft may be taken with or without food.

It may take 4 weeks or more for you to start feeling better.

Do not stop taking Zoloft without first talking to your doctor. You may experience unpleasant side effects if you stop taking Zoloft suddenly.

Alcohol may increase drowsiness or dizziness while you are taking Zoloft, use cautiously.

Zoloft Feedback

You can read feedback by others or add your comments below.

Most recent post: August 14, 2016


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This consumer advocate website is protected by copyright 2010-2016 Askdocweb, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This is a layman's report on Zoloft and is not intended to replace discussions with a health care provider. Do not use the information on this forum as a substitute for your doctor's advice. Always consult your doctor before taking any drug and follow your doctor's directions. Source material: Food and Drug Administration, Medline, Physician's Desk Reference, and the largest community of people in the world, those who are concerned about side effects and healthcare.
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