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About Zoloft

If you use Zoloft, please help others by sharing your experience with side effects. What would you tell your best friend about this product? Please remember that we do not give medical advice. That is for your local health care provider, who is familiar with your medical history.


Subj: Concerned about serotonin syndrome
Date: 4/22/2011
My daughter has severe OCD. She began taking zoloft two years ago. She worked her way up to 150 mg daily. The zoloft eventually helped with the physical violence of her ocd and made her rages cut down from literally hours of non stopping screaming to minutes of screaming and name calling but there are several episodes of these daily. However her unwanted thoughts occupy a large amount of her day. Her doctor has increased dose to 200 mg which she will begin tomorrow. (175 for a few weeks then up to 200). She also takes 30 mg of amitryptylline daily for migraine prevention (tried 3 meds before this one worked). She has migraines with auras. I am very concerned about serotonin syndrome. My daughter(16) is petite(5'1", 105 lbs). Does weight have a factor in this and is there a maximum dose of serotonin regulating drugs that should not be exceeded? Or is it different for each person? Thanks for any help.
Di

AskDocWeb: Yes, weight is a factor in determining dosage so to some extent the maximum dose varies with the individual. However, your concern is warranted because there is a major drug-drug interaction possible between amitriptyline and Zoloft (sertraline). Typically patients are monitored closely for signs of excessive serotonergic activity (CNS irritability, altered consciousness, confusion, rapidly alternating muscle contraction and relaxation, lack of coordination, abdominal cramping, high fever, shivering, dilated pupils, excessive perspiration, high blood pressure, and abnormally rapid heartbeat).

Serotonin syndrome is more likely to occur when the medicine is first started or dosage is increased. To be diagnosed with serotonin syndrome, the patient must have been taking a drug that changes the body's serotonin levels (serotonergic drug) and have at least 3 of the following symptoms:
  • Agitation
  • Diarrhea
  • Heavy sweating not due to activity
  • Fever
  • Mental status changes such as confusion
  • Muscle spasms
  • Overactive reflexes
  • Shivering
  • Tremor
  • Uncoordinated movements
All other possible causes of the above symptoms must be ruled out before serotonin syndrome is diagnosed, including intoxication, infections, drug withdrawal, metabolic and hormone problems. Some of the symptoms of serotonin syndrome can mimic those due to an overdose of MAOI, lithium, or even cocaine.


Subj: Hair loss and antidepressants
Date: 4/28/2011
My son has been taking Zoloft for 8 years. He started at the age of 10 for anxiety. I really didn't want to give my child daily medication, but he really was anxious about thinking he was sick all the time. He wouldn't go out of the house during summer break. He would sit on the couch and talk about how sick he was all the time and that he wanted to die so he wouldn't feel this way. This was so unusual for him because he is very active, social and healthy.

We went to countless medical doctors to try and find out if he was really sick. After many tests they told me that I needed to take him to a psychiatrist. After one meeting the doctor prescribed Zoloft. Zoloft really helped him. It was a miracle! It gave him his life back. He started with 25mg and over the years he has increased the dosage to 100mg. The problems he is facing are terrible cystic acne and some hair loss. The acne started 2 years ago and the doctors are baffled. It is extremely bad and medication and topicals do not help. The doctor wanted him to take Accutane, but it was out of the question because he is taking an antidepressant. The doc said that it would increase suicidal thoughts and he wouldn't take the chance.

We finally resorted to laser treatments which has helped, but now the cystic acne is traveling down his body and he has horrible scars from the acne. Also, within the past month he has been complaining about hair loss. I believe he is loosing his hair too! The doctor said he would like him to start taking zinc and selenium vitamins. I have researched this online and it seems like it will be just another problem in the mix. Do all antidepressants cause hair loss? Is there a natural remedy for anxiety? Will his hair grow back? I've heard that if you are genetically going to loose your hair later in life, antidepressants will speed it up. You will loose your hair sooner and it will be permanent. He is 18 and way too young to be loosing his hair. Could his body be telling him he doesn't need the meds anymore?
Jean

AskDocWeb: We agree that 18 is way too young to be losing a significant amount of hair. At that age the loss of hair can contribute to more depression leading to a vicious circle. Although it is not a common side effect, hair loss has been associated with essentially all of the drugs used in psychopharmacology. However, there is hope. Hair loss with one antidepressant will not necessarily reoccur with a different one, even one in the same class. In most cases the loss is completely reversible once the drug is discontinued or replaced by an appropriate alternative.

Hum, a natural remedy for anxiety? Most people would say there isn't one. However, a magnesium deficiency can cause anxiety. If the body doesn't get enough magnesium, a deficiency can result in a tense body and an anxious mind.

There are several foods that are rich in magnesium; coconut water, kelp, cashews, buckwheat, pumpkin seeds, molasses, brazil nuts, cocoa powder and rice bran. Magnesium is also available as a supplement but how much is enough, or too much? Most people find that 400-800 mg taken in divided doses (morning and evening) will ease their anxiety symptoms considerably. It is easy to know when too much magnesium is taken because it can cause loose stools. Magnesium citrate, magnesium chloride, and magnesium glycinate are among the most absorbable forms of magnesium. Epsom salts baths can also be used to boost magnesium levels.


Subj: Unpleasant dreams
Date: 4/30/2011
I am 17 years old and have been on Zoloft 50mg for a few months now to treat depression and anxiety. While it has helped with the depression, I have unpleasant dreams almost every night and, more recently, night sweats. I plan to switch prescriptions the next time I go to the doctor because this medication just isn't working for me.
Alex


Subj: Zoloft blocks out my negative emotions
Date: 5/6/2011
I recently started taking zoloft (the generic sertraline) at 100 mg that my friend gave me to try because i have been going through a really rough year, and i have suffered from anxiety/mild depression and OCD thoughts for years. Well i know the 100 mg dosage was a bit too high just to start, but i quickly noticed that it helped my mood and i had very little to no more anxiety... I used to over eat from anxiety as well, but have always been very thin because i did ballet and worked out everyday. I recently have not been so active for the past 8 months and started a new relationship so i gained about 10 lbs, but that was before the zoloft. I am considered to be thin still in my eyes, just a little fuller.

The zoloft has seemed to control my desire to over eat. I have noticed that i do experience bad dreams. Unfortunately, they are pretty vivid and scare the crap out of me, but as soon as i wake up it doesnt seem to bother me as much anymore, It pretty much blocks out my negative emotions..I use to be pretty aggressive, pushy, paranoid..etc. I do notice that in my dreams, i experience feelings of anger.

Also before taking this drug my sex drive was a little out of control. i wanted to have sex with my bf all the time, to the point of annoying him. Either way, zoloft does kill your sex drive, it kind of sucks. i tried having sex on it a few times and could barely climax, i also dried out pretty quickly. I think i will look into a new pill after the month is over because i miss my sex drive!!!, i feel like i dont even care anymore about sex!. but atleast it makes my bf more interested in me since i dont seem to be all over him like before. Lol

Anyway, i think this drug works differently with everyone, so you just have to experiment for a month or so, and if it becomes a pain in the ass, try asking your doctor about another alternative. I also drink occasionally on this pill (because i am a social drinker) and sometimes smoke *ahem*, i seem to be fine when doing so, i dont feel "more drunk" or weak ,or anything...good luck people.
Ala

AskDocWeb: We are concerned about the possibility of you getting in trouble because of using meds prescribed for someone else - In most places that is illegal.


Subj: How long does it take to see full effect?
Date: 5/14/2011
I've been taking zoloft for a few days now, less than a week, any idea on when it takes its full effect? On the first day I felt 'different', not quite sure how I felt, but I was energetic and happier, still I noticed I lost a bit of sex drive in the first 2 days, then I regained it, somewhat. How long will I see the desired effects? I'm taking 100mg, but I was told to take half only each day, also can zoloft be crushed and drinked? 'cause I can't swallow pills, my doctor said it could, not sure. Thanks.
Viktor

AskDocWeb: Zoloft must be taken regularly for 2 to 4 weeks for it to reach the full effect. Since you have a problem swallowing the pills you may want to ask your doctor about the liquid formulation of Zoloft. You might also keep this in mind for the future; many medications come in a liquid form.


Subj: Panic attack
Date: 5/26/2011
Today is my 3rd day on Zoloft. Yesterday when I took it I was fine during the day but once I got in my car to go home started to feel my chest tightening. It caused me to have a mini panic attack. Once I finally got home the tightness was still there and lasted for a few hours. Could it be that the zoloft is making me feel this way? I'm scared to take it again this morning.
Imelda

AskDocWeb: That is highly unlikely because it takes time for Zoloft to work. It usually takes two or three weeks to feel better but it could take up to eight weeks. Over time Zoloft helps to reduce anxiety and in many cases stops the panic attacks.


Subj: No one knows what happened to him
Date: 6/14/2011
My Son has post trauma, Stress and PTSD. The doctor put him on 50 mg of zoloft and resently raised the dose to 100 mg. He recently went to a doctor appointment with his father. He went for a walk there and could not be found. Some one found him and he was unresponsive and hat voiment inside. No one at the hospital knows what happened to him. Could this be side effects from the Zoloft??? He showed all the listed side effects.
Jackie

AskDocWeb: Hi Jackie. You will have to be a little more specific in your question in order for us to understand what you are asking. Vomiting is one of the possible side effects of Zoloft that indicates a problem that needs medical attention.

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This consumer advocate website is protected by copyright 2007-2010 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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