When does zoloft work

How Long Does it Take for Zoloft to Work?

If you’re taking Zoloft (sertraline) for depression or anxiety, you are probably wondering how long it takes to work.

The timeline can all depend on the severity of your condition, how long you’ve been taking Zoloft, and the daily dosage prescribed by your healthcare provider. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the standard dosage for Zoloft,how it works, what to do if you miss your daily dose or think you’ve overdosed, and the common side effects of Zoloft.

What is Zoloft?

Sertraline, known under its brand name, Zoloft, is a commonly prescribed antidepressant. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1991, and in 2017 was prescribed over 38 million times for a variety of mental health disorders. 

Zoloft has been known to have a great effect on patients for improving their mental health conditions.

Zoloft uses

Zoloft is prescribed for many different types of depression and anxiety disorders.

It is one of the most commonly prescribed SSRIs for major depressive disorders. Other SSRIs include escitalopram (Lexapro), citalopram (Celexa), and fluoxetine (Prozac). 

Zoloft treats the following conditions: 

  • Major depressive disorder in adults and children 10 years of age and olderSocial anxiety
  • Panic disorder 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder in adults, children aged 6-17 years  

How Zoloft works

Zoloft works in the brain by increasing the availability of serotonin. Serotonin is one of the brain’s neurotransmitters, sending signals between neurons that affect your mood.

Since the neurons in the brain like to absorb serotonin quickly, those with depression and anxiety disorders may not have enough serotonin. 

Zoloft works as an inhibitor to the brain’s fast absorption of serotonin.

By slowing down the neuron’s absorption of serotonin, this allows your brain to transmit more messages, effectively increasing the levels of the neurotransmitter in the brain.

As a result, many patients with depression and other mental health conditions experience an improvement in mood.

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How Quickly Does Zoloft Work?

Zoloft does not work overnight, so a little patience is required.

Similar to other antidepressants, Zoloft slowly increases the amount of serotonin available in the brain. 

You cannot expect your brain chemistry to change overnight, but the good news is that you may notice a change within a couple of weeks.

Many patients report an improvement in their symptoms within the first two weeks, however, most do not report a complete difference until at least four to six weeks. 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, many patients first report an improvement in their energy levels, sleep, and appetite. These improvements eventually lead to a reduction in the symptoms of anxiety and depression.  

Those with more severe depression may not notice a significant change until six weeks or longer.

You should remain hopeful that Zoloft will work, but if you notice little change after six weeks, then you should speak to your healthcare provider.

Standard Dosage for Zoloft

The standard dosage for Zoloft depends on your mental health condition.

Zoloft is generally available in tablet form in dosage strengths of 25 mg, 50 mg, or 100 mg. It’s also available as an oral solution. 

Your healthcare provider will prescribe the dose that is appropriate for you but it is helpful to know the average dosage of Zoloft. 

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), here are the standard dosages for these common mood disorders: 

  • Major depressive disorder (adult): 50-200 mg daily
  • PTSD: 50-200 mg daily 
  • Social anxiety disorder: 50-200mg daily 
  • OCD (adult): 50-200mg mg daily 
  • PMDD: 50-100 mg per day during the luteal phase 

Missed dose

Nobody is perfect. At one point or another, we all forget to take our daily medication.

If you miss a single dose of Zoloft, you can relax knowing it is not the end of the world. However, it is still important to take your medication regularly as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

If you miss a dose of Zoloft and it is less than 8 hours late, you should take your medication as soon as you remember. If the medication dose was due over 8 hours ago, simply take your next dose at your regularly scheduled time. Discard the missed dose. 

Do not take an extra dose to make up for the one you missed. 

If you miss doses or abruptly stop your medication, you may be susceptible to withdrawal symptoms.

This is known as antidepressant discontinuation syndrome and occurs in 20% of Zoloft patients who suddenly stop taking the drug.

With discontinuation syndrome, you may experience cold or flu-like symptoms, such as nausea, excessive tiredness, body aches, insomnia, and dizziness.  

If your discontinuation symptoms are due to missed doses, the symptoms should go away once you start taking Zoloft consistently again.

If your symptoms are due to abruptly stopping the medication, contact your healthcare provider for further recommendations.

If at any time your symptoms are severe or you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, excessive sleepiness, or uncontrollable vomiting, go to the nearest healthcare facility.

Zoloft overdose

Taking more than your scheduled dosage can lead to serious health issues. Whether done on purpose or accidentally, taking more than your prescribed dose of Zoloft could cause the following symptoms: 

  • Nausea 
  • Fever
  • Rapid heartbeat 
  • Fainting 
  • Dizziness 
  • Vomiting 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Changes in blood pressure 
  • Tremors 
  • Seizures 

In rare cases, taking more Zoloft than your prescribed dosage can result in extremely high levels of serotonin. This is known as serotonin syndrome.

If you have too much serotonin in the brain, you may experience diarrhea, confusion, or headaches. In severe cases, you could experience hallucinations, seizures, or end up in a coma. 

If you think you have overdosed on Zoloft, or are experiencing any off the aforementioned symptoms, call the Poison Control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or seek medical attention immediately. The hotline is free and confidential to use. 

Common Side Effects of Zoloft

Some common side effects of taking Zoloft include nausea, weight gain, insomnia, headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, or loss of appetite. 

Zoloft has been known to cause a low libido in some patients, or make it difficult to orgasm. The good news is that this side effect usually improves after a few weeks of taking the medication. 

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When to See a Medical Provider

You should see a healthcare provider if you experience any serious side effects such as hallucinations, confusion, vomiting, seizures, or any signs of an allergic reaction.

As previously stated, some mild side effects are expected when taking Zoloft but if the symptoms persist or are bothersome, let your healthcare provider know.

If you start experiencing any suicidal thoughts, aggression, panic attacks, or worsening depression or anxiety, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately and go to the nearest medical facility.

How K Health Can Help

Think you might need a prescription for Zoloft (Sertraline)?

K Health has clinicians standing by 24/7 to evaluate your symptoms and determine if Zoloft is right for you.

Get started with our free assessment, which will tell you in minutes if treatment could be a good fit. If yes, we’ll connect you right to a clinician who can prescribe medication and have it shipped right to your door.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Zoloft work immediately?

Zoloft will not work immediately however, it can have a positive positive effect on a patient’s energy level, sleep and appetite within the first 1-2 weeks.

How long does Zoloft take to kick in?

Most patients do not report a major change until four to six weeks after starting Zoloft, especially if they have severe symptoms. If you do not notice any change in your symptoms after six weeks on Zoloft, then you should speak to your healthcare provider about other treatment options.

K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.

  • Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome. (2006).

  • Sertraline. (2020).

  • Sertraline (Zoloft). (2020).

  • Treatment Options for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. (2017).

What to expect in the first week of taking Zoloft

During your first week on Zoloft expect headache, nausea, fatigue, constipation, and more

Getting a Zoloft prescription | Starting dose | Side effects first week | Precautions | Missed dose | Overdose | When to see a doctor | Stopping Zoloft | Zoloft alternatives | Is Zoloft safe?

Living with mental health conditions like anxiety or depression can make daily life stressful. An estimated 31% of all adults will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their life, and statistics show that 264 million adults around the globe have anxiety. Luckily, there are many treatment options available for people who seek relief from anxiety or depression. Zoloft is a prescription medication used to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and when taken properly, it can make daily life more manageable. Let’s take a more in-depth look at how to take Zoloft, what side effects to look out for in the first week, and what else to expect when you first start this medication.  

RELATED: What is Zoloft?

What is Zoloft prescribed for?

Zoloft is the brand name of a generic medication called sertraline, which belongs to a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs like Zoloft are antidepressants that work by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. Zoloft is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the following conditions:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)

Off-label uses for Zoloft include:

  • Anxiety
  • Binge eating disorder
  • Body dysmorphic disorder
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Hot flashes due to menopause

Starting Zoloft

Just like with any medication, knowing as much as possible about the drug you’ll be taking is essential to making sure you maximize its potential benefits. Knowing how to take Zoloft properly is important to make sure it works as effectively as possible. When taken correctly, Zoloft can make people feel less anxious or fearful, and it can reduce the urge to perform repeated tasks. It can improve sleep quality, appetite, energy levels, restore interest in daily life, and reduce unwanted thoughts and panic attacks.  

Zoloft is available in tablet form in dosage strengths of 25 mg, 50 mg, or 100 mg. It’s also available as an oral solution, which must be diluted into four ounces of water, orange juice, lemonade, ginger ale, or lemon/lime soda before consumption.   

The standard dose of Zoloft for anxiety is 25 mg or 50 mg per day. These are the starting doses of Zoloft for other disorders: 

It’s important to talk with your doctor about what dosage is right for you because the exact amount of medication you’ll need will vary based on your specific condition, how severe your symptoms are, and whether or not you have any other health problems.   

Zoloft is typically given once per day. The manufacturer of Zoloft does not specify that it should be taken in the morning or evening, just that it should be taken at the same time each day. There is some data from initial trials for Zoloft that suggests it can cause somnolence for some individuals. If you notice that it causes somnolence when you take it, it may be best to take it every day in the evening. Your healthcare professional may make a recommendation to change your dosage time to alleviate other side effects as well.

How long does it take for Zoloft to work?

Once you start taking Zoloft in the right amount as prescribed by your doctor, you can expect it to start working in about two to six weeks. Zoloft isn’t the type of medication that will start working on the first day, so you’ll need a little bit of patience while you wait for it to start relieving your symptoms. 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, some of the earliest signs that Zoloft is working are improvements in sleep, energy, or appetite. These improvements could happen as soon as one to two weeks into taking the medication. More significant changes like feeling less depressed or regaining interest in daily life may take six to eight weeks to show up.

Remember to be patient while assessing any positive impacts Zoloft may be having on your depression or anxiety. Most prescribers will require a follow up at 4, 6, or 8 weeks to assess how it is working for you. They may utilize a type of questionnaire to measure your symptoms more objectively and compare them to where you were before starting Zoloft. If you begin to get frustrated because you are not feeling the results you expected with Zoloft, make sure to speak to your healthcare provider first before discontinuing the medication. Zoloft should not be discontinued abruptly as it can cause worsened anxiety, agitation, confusion, headache, and insomnia. Your doctor may ask you to give the drug more time, or they may suggest transitioning to a different drug. This is a decision you should make with your doctor.

When you first start taking Zoloft, you may begin to notice a few side effects. One of the best ways to avoid side effects is to take the medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Your doctor will prescribe you a certain dose for a reason, and taking more Zoloft because you want it to work faster isn’t safe. Let’s take a look at some of the most common side effects of Zoloft you’ll want to be aware of when you start taking it.

Related: Zoloft for anxiety

Zoloft side effects to expect in the first week

During the first few days on Zoloft, you may experience some initial side effects even if you’re taking the medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. This happens because it takes time for the body to become used to the medication. Some of the most common side effects that people have during their first week of taking Zoloft include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation 
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness 
  • Nervousness
  • Drowsiness 
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Restlessness
  • Decreased sex drive 
  • Weight gain 
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased sweating

Up to two-thirds of patients discontinue antidepressant therapy in the first 90 days of treatment due to side effects. It is important to know what to expect as therapy begins and have an open dialogue with your prescriber about your concerns. Do not abruptly stop treatment without speaking to your prescriber.

For some of these side effects, men and women may experience them at a different rates or intensity. For example, a study evaluating SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction found that men suffer from sexual dysfunction related to this class of drugs more often than women, but when women do, it is more intense. Sexual dysfunction can be characterized by decreased libido, delayed orgasm, delayed or inability to ejaculate, and impotence.

Women also have to be concerned with the effects of Zoloft on their unborn child if they take this medication during pregnancy. Zoloft has been linked to cardiac defects as well as defects in the formation of the baby’s skull. Zoloft is not recommended during pregnancy unless the benefits clearly outweigh the risks, especially in the last trimester.

Can Zoloft make you feel worse at first?

Zoloft does not provide immediate relief of symptoms, and for some, it may leave you wondering if what you are feeling is actually worse than before you started the medication. Depending on what primary condition you are treating, you may have a different response and a different timeline for improvement than others. There is data to suggest that Zoloft begins helping with anxiety symptoms in the first few weeks after you start treatment. Relief from depressive symptoms may not come until closer to the 12-week mark. While depression and anxiety are often hand-in-hand, the delay in the improvement of depression may leave you feeling “worse” than you did initially.

Zoloft is known to increase suicidal thoughts in teens and young adults, and this is especially true when anxiety and depression are uncontrolled. It is important to monitor this group of patients closely as their risk for these thoughts is highest until their anxiety and depression are better controlled.

How long do Zoloft side effects last?

Taking Zoloft may make you feel uncomfortable or weird at first as your body starts to process the medication. After a week or two these side effects will go away for most people as their bodies get used to the medication. It’s possible to experience some of these side effects sporadically throughout the duration that you’re taking Zoloft, especially if your doctor increases your dose. If your doctor increases the dose, it will take a couple of weeks for your body to fully appreciate the new dose. From there, it can be several more weeks before you may see an improvement in symptoms. Most healthcare professionals will allow for 4-8 weeks between dose adjustments to make sure the full effect of the new dose is realized. 

You may be wondering if you should discuss your drug therapy with those around you. Your family and friends have likely noticed the impact depression and anxiety can have on you, but the decision to share your treatment choice is absolutely up to you. Yes, some of the side effects of drug therapy may also be noticeable. Like untreated anxiety and depression, the effects of drug therapy can also impact your daily functioning. Speak to your healthcare professional about the best way to handle any potential impacts to your job or performance of daily activities. While your boss at work should not hold against you that you are seeking treatment for your disorder, you may not feel comfortable sharing this information. Your doctor will be able to walk you through your best options of treating your disorder while maintaining performance expectations along with your privacy.

Serious side effects of Zoloft

Although it’s rare, Zoloft can cause more serious side effects like: 

  • Unusual weight loss 
  • Low sodium levels 
  • An increased risk of bleeding 
  • Eye pain that indicates angle-closure glaucoma 
  • Sexual dysfunction such as delayed ejaculation 
  • Manic episodes for people with undiagnosed bipolar disorder
  • Allergic reactions  
  • Seizures 
Black box warning: Zoloft and suicidal thoughts

Zoloft also comes with a box warning for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Short-term studies have shown that antidepressants increased the risk of suicidality in children, adolescents, and young adults when compared to a placebo. If you’re taking Zoloft and start to have extreme mood changes and/or suicidal thoughts or behaviors, you should seek medical advice right away. You can also reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Precautions to take when starting Zoloft

You should not take Zoloft if you have a history of an allergic reaction to sertraline or one of its other ingredients. Zoloft therapy is also contraindicated in patients receiving treatment with a class of drugs known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Examples of MAOIs include isocarboxazid, selegiline, and phenelzine. If you are taking one of these drugs, you must notify your doctor.

Do not abruptly stop Zoloft or any SSRI without first consulting your prescriber. This can lead to sleep and sensory disturbances, anxiety, and agitation. 

Suicidal thoughts and ideation may occur in adolescents, teens, and young adults who take Zoloft. This may be worse during the initial few months of therapy or after dose changes. Caregivers and loved ones should monitor this population closely during this time for unusual changes in behavior and irritability.

Tell your doctor if you have a history of seizure disorders (epilepsy) or cardiac disorders such as QT prolongation as Zoloft therapy could make these worse.

If you have liver disease, your dose may need to be adjusted by your prescriber.

You should take your first dose while you are home and do not need to drive. Zoloft has been known to cause somnolence in some patients, and you should avoid driving after taking Zoloft until you know how it affects you. 

Zoloft has been linked to birth defects, especially when taken late in pregnancy. Zoloft should only be taken in pregnancy if the benefits clearly outweigh the risks.

Drug interactions

Another thing to consider when taking Zoloft is that it shouldn’t be taken with certain medications. Giving a list of all the medications and over-the-counter supplements you’re taking to your doctor will help reduce your chances of experiencing more serious side effects from interactions with Zoloft. Here’s a list of medications that shouldn’t be taken at the same time as Zoloft: 

  • Medications that increase serotonin  
  • Triptans (migraine agents)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants  
  • Blood thinners such as warfarin 
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)   
  • St. John’s Wort 
  • Lithium
  • Ultram (tramadol)  
  • Nardil (phenelzine) 
  • Parnate (tranylcypromine) 
  • Marplan (isocarboxazid) 
  • Azilect (rasagiline) 
  • Emsam (selegiline)
  • Orap (pimozide) 

Zoloft shouldn’t be taken at the same time as MAOIs because this could lead to serotonin syndrome, which causes hallucinations, seizures, comas, tremors, delirium, and other serious side effects. This list of drug interactions is not exhaustive, so it’s so important to tell your doctor about all the medications you’re taking or thinking about taking.

Foods to avoid while taking Zoloft

Like with many other drugs, grapefruit and grapefruit juice can interact with Zoloft absorption. It can slow the metabolism of Zoloft, therefore increasing blood levels of available Zoloft. This is typically only a problem if intake of grapefruit products is inconsistent. If you are going to ingest grapefruit products, it is best to ingest a consistent amount daily. 

RELATED: Can you drink coffee while taking Zoloft?

Missed dose of Zoloft

Nobody is perfect, and missing a dose of Zoloft is bound to happen at one point or another. Taking your medication consistently as prescribed by your doctor is important, but missing a dose isn’t the end of the world if you know what to do when it happens. 

“Take your dose as soon as you remember,” says Brian Wind, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, and the chief clinical officer of JourneyPure. “If it is nearly time to take the next dose, don’t take an extra dose to make up for the one you missed. Simply take the next dose. You can experience side effects and an increased risk of relapse if you suddenly stop your medication.”

The side effects you might experience if you stop or miss a dose of your medication are mild withdrawal symptoms that happen because of something called antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. According to American Family Physician, antidepressant discontinuation syndrome occurs in about 20% of patients who abruptly discontinue an antidepressant after taking one consistently for at least six weeks. Missing a dose of Zoloft may cause you to have flu-like symptoms, nausea, insomnia, imbalance, or hyperarousal.  

The best thing you can do if you miss a dose, just as Dr. Wind says, is to take your next dose as soon as you remember. If you’ve been experiencing any symptoms because of your missed dose, they should go away once you start taking Zoloft consistently again. It may also be a good idea to contact your doctor if you miss a dose, just to check in and make sure you don’t need to do anything else.    

Zoloft overdose

Overdosing on Zoloft is more serious than missing a dose. There are no reported cases of fatal Zoloft overdoses, but taking too much medication can cause serious side effects or health complications. Accidentally or purposefully taking two or more doses of Zoloft could cause:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Fever
  • Fainting
  • Hallucinations
  • Changes in blood pressure 
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Tremors
  • Seizures 

In rare cases, taking too much Zoloft can also cause serotonin syndrome, which results in dangerously high levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. When there’s too much serotonin in the brain this can cause confusion, diarrhea, and headaches. More severe symptoms may include seizures, hallucinations, muscle rigidity, and comas.     

If you think you’ve overdosed on Zoloft and/or start to experience one or more of these symptoms you should seek medical attention right away or call the Poison Control hotline at 1-800-222-1222. The Poison Control hotline is free for anyone to use and offers callers expert and confidential advice.  

When to see a doctor for Zoloft side effects

Zoloft can be a great medication to treat symptoms of anxiety and depression if it’s taken properly. Being prepared to experience potential side effects is an important part of taking any medication, and knowing what to expect can remove some of the anxiety that often comes from taking a new medication.  

If you start taking Zoloft and have some mild side effects it’s important to remember that that’s normal. It’s also important to remember at what point you should see your doctor because of the side effects you’re having. As mentioned throughout this article, more serious side effects like confusion, hallucinations, allergic reactions, seizures, and vomiting require medical attention. If you start to experience worsening depression or anxiety, suicidal thoughts, panic attacks, severe irritability or aggression, then you should seek immediate medical help.  

Side effects of stopping Zoloft

If it is determined by your healthcare professional that discontinuing Zoloft is best for you, you should do so gradually with dose tapering. This will decrease the likelihood of unwanted side effects of abrupt discontinuation such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, irritability, and agitation. If you abruptly stop Zoloft, it will be completely eliminated in a little over 5 days, even if you have taken it for a long time. Do not discontinue Zoloft without the direct advice of your prescriber. Long-term treatment with Zoloft is safe, but your prescriber may choose to reevaluate your drug choice if your symptomology changes or your side effects are bothersome. Sleep disturbances and weight gain are some of the most common adverse events associated with long-term therapy.

Zoloft alternatives

Zoloft isn’t the only antidepressant that can treat anxiety and depression. Zoloft can be very effective, but if it doesn’t work for you or if it causes too many side effects, then an alternative antidepressant may be needed. Clinical trials have shown that depression symptoms will completely go away for about 1 out of every 3 people who take SSRIs, but more research still needs to be done on why SSRIs work for some people and not for others.   

If you’re experiencing too many side effects from Zoloft, then you might consider talking with your healthcare provider about other options. Here are some of the most popular alternatives to Zoloft: 

  • Celexa (citalopram): Celexa is an SSRI that’s FDA-approved to treat depression, and even though it’s mainly prescribed for depression, doctors can sometimes prescribe it to help alleviate symptoms of anxiety.
  • Effexor XR (venlafaxine hcl er): Effexor is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) that can treat depression, improve moods, and improve energy levels.  
  • Lexapro (escitalopram): Lexapro is an SSRI used to treat generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder.
  • Paxil (paroxetine): Paxil is an SSRI used to treat depression and other psychological conditions. 
  • Prozac (fluoxetine): Prozac is an SSRI used to treat major depressive disorder, OCD, bulimia nervosa, and panic disorder. 
  • Xanax (alprazolam): Xanax is a benzodiazepine that relieves anxiety in the short-term. Xanax is a controlled substance because of its potential for abuse/dependence. 

RELATED: A beginner’s guide to antidepressant side effects

Bottom line: Is Zoloft safe?

Side effects, some potentially dangerous, are possible with Zoloft. However, for most people, Zoloft is a very safe and effective treatment for depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that while Zoloft may cause more adverse events than Lexapro or Prozac in the same class, it has fewer safety concerns than drugs in related classes.

The potential to experience side effects from medication shouldn’t keep you from getting the treatment you need for your anxiety or depression. Talking with your healthcare provider is the best way to come up with a treatment plan that will work best for you and cause the least amount of side effects for you on your journey to find relief from your symptoms.  

Zoloft withdrawal syndrome - Center for Healthy Youth

Zoloft - what is this drug? The active substance of the drug is sertraline. It belongs to the pharmacological group of antidepressants and is prescribed to patients with the following symptoms: depression, OCD, panic disorders, PTSD, social phobia. Zoloft is a powerful serotonin reuptake inhibitor in human brain cells.

More than 1/3 of people face the dangerous consequences of abrupt withdrawal of Zoloft. In narcology, this phenomenon is called withdrawal syndrome or withdrawal syndrome. The time of onset of symptoms of withdrawal syndrome when used is directly proportional to the half-life of the drug from the body. A drug such as Zoloft is addictive with systematic irregular use, therefore, there is also a Zoloft withdrawal syndrome, which usually occurs 3-5 days after the last use of the drug. The symptoms of Zoloft withdrawal syndrome are quite difficult to recognize, so people think that the disease has returned and start using the medicine again. nine0003

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How to reduce the dose of Zoloft correctly?

The course of treatment with Zoloft usually lasts no more than 8 weeks (about two months). As with the use of other antidepressants, an unreasonable increase in the duration of its use leads to negative consequences for human health. However, even before the period prescribed by the doctor, it is not recommended to stop taking the drug, since the gradual disappearance of symptoms is not a reason to complete the course. How long can I take Zoloft? nine0003

How much Zoloft can I take?

Many patients wonder how much Zoloft should be taken? Naturally, the duration of the course is strictly individual. So, how long can you take Zoloft? Only the attending physician, depending on the symptoms present, will be able to tell you how much Zoloft should be taken in your case. A specialist can prescribe a medication for 6-12 months, but this happens in exceptional cases.

The risk of developing withdrawal symptoms is increased in the following cases:

  • abrupt drug withdrawal and removal from the body;
  • regular intake over two months;
  • excessive anxiety;
  • Combination with antihypertensives, allergies, and antipsychotics.

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How to cancel and stop drinking Zoloft?

Zoloft causes a withdrawal syndrome when it is stopped abruptly. This drug affects the processes occurring in the human brain, so you should take the medicine only with a doctor's prescription. How to stop taking the drug and "get off" from Zoloft? To avoid the withdrawal syndrome, the dosage of the medication according to the medical plan is reduced by 25 mg every 14 days. If a stable remission is achieved after a course of treatment, the doctor will stop taking the drug. However, the specialist will cancel the drug if the patient experiences side effects, insomnia and headache from Zoloft are not uncommon. nine0003

In which case the doctor can cancel the medication:

  • the patient has a headache;
  • causeless sadness, anxiety;
  • feeling of devastation;
  • nervousness, irritability;
  • weakness;
  • suicidal tendencies;
  • sleep and appetite disorders;
  • decrease in concentration.

If a person has lost their appetite or has regular headaches, the doctor begins a gradual process of reducing the dosage. The therapeutic dose is reduced over several weeks, and sometimes months. nine0003

Symptoms of withdrawal after taking

Is it possible to abruptly stop taking the medicine? Abrupt withdrawal of the drug threatens the occurrence of withdrawal or withdrawal. The human body, accustomed to a certain dose of the drug, will respond without an adaptation period. Most often, a deterioration in the patient's health is noted within 2-4 days after the last use. Depending on the individual characteristics and the state of the central nervous system, withdrawal symptoms may be different.

Symptoms and signs of withdrawal

  • nervousness;
  • irritability;
  • irritability;
  • insomnia;
  • nausea, vomiting;
  • headaches;
  • incoordination, balancez.

In some cases, a person will not even feel dangerous signs, and sometimes you may need to call an ambulance for narcological help from the Center for Healthy Youth. Therefore, if you feel a deterioration in the condition, it is worth contacting a doctor who will help reduce the dose and improve overall well-being. nine0003

How long does Zoloft withdrawal last?

Withdrawal symptoms can persist without drug treatment for quite a long time, for several weeks. While taking antidepressants, the activity of neurons changes, so after stopping the drugs, the body needs time to rebuild and adapt to new conditions. The longer the course of treatment was, the longer the rehabilitation period will be. Withdrawal symptoms will not disappear until the active substance of the drug is excreted from the body. If general weakness lasts for a month, you should contact your doctor or specialists from the Healthy Youth Center. nine0003

When does Zoloft start to act and help?

It is important to understand that Zoloft does not begin to act immediately, but after a certain period of time. How long does Zoloft take to work? As a rule, the first positive dynamics begins to be noticeable to the patient only after 2-3 weeks of regular use. The maximum effect is noticeable after 2-3 months of admission.

Discontinuation considerations

When choosing antidepressants, it is important to know which medications the patient has previously taken and which medications they are currently taking. Before prescribing an effective remedy that normalizes the work of the central nervous system, the doctor conducts a number of necessary examinations, identifies existing contraindications and prevents side effects. If Zoloft is not recommended for you, the specialist will offer you a wide range of analogues of this drug, including Cipralex, Prozac, Paxil, Cipramil and other equally effective drugs. The drug Velaksin, Amitriptyline, etc. has a similar effect. nine0003

If you experience withdrawal symptoms after taking Zoloft, contact the Healthy Youth Drug Treatment Center for help. We have been treating addictions for over 15 years.

Video on the treatment of drug addiction and alcoholism in the CMZ

Zoloft Instructions for use: side effects, analogues, contraindications


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Date of publication: 06. 0

  • Executive summary
  • Ask an expert about the topic
  • WHO estimates that depression affects 3.8% of the total population, or 280 million people. Among them, 5% of adults and 5.7% of persons over 60 years of age. More than 700,000 people die each year from suicide due to depression. Depression is treatable with medication.

    Doctors prescribe antidepressants. Zoloft is one of them. We asked pharmacist Kristina Khokhrina to tell us in more detail: what side effects it can cause, what active ingredient, contraindications, overdose, is the drug compatible with alcohol and how to stop drinking it. nine0003 All products Zoloft

    27 reviews

    Zoloft: active ingredient

    Zoloft contains the active ingredient - sertraline in the form of hydrochloride. It is produced in tablets with a dosage of 50 mg and 100 mg. Zoloft is an antidepressant. It is used to treat and prevent depression caused by various causes. And also when:

    • obsessive-compulsive disorders
    • panic disorders
    • post-traumatic stress disorder nine0016
    • social phobias

    How Zoloft works

    Zoloft helps to eliminate depressive manifestations:

    • relieves anxiety
    • normalizes sleep
    • reduces somatic manifestations: palpitations, disruption of the gastrointestinal tract, increased excitability.

    Zoloft does not cause dependence on the drug and does not lead to weight gain in humans.

    Zoloft side effects

    Monitor your condition closely while using the medicine. If you experience side effects that are not described or if symptoms worsen, contact your doctor immediately.

    Zoloft: side effects

    • flatulence, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, dry mouth
    • increased heart rate, increased blood pressure
    • arthralgia, muscle cramps
    • gait disturbance, teeth grinding, drowsiness, syncope, headache, migraine, tremor, insomnia, anxiety, hallucinations, psychosis, nightmares, decreased libido, suicide, coma nine0016
    • yawning, bronchospasm
    • Bedwetting, urinary retention during the day
    • hepatitis, jaundice
    • decrease in potency, disruption of the reproductive system, menstrual cycle disorders in women
    • visual impairment
    • thyroid disorder
    • urticaria, pruritus, anaphylactic shock
    • flushing, tinnitus, loss of appetite and others

    Zoloft: contraindications


    • hypersensitivity to any component of the formulation
    • concomitant use of monoamine oxidase inhibitors and pimozide
    • pregnancy and lactation
    • children under 6 years of age

    Caution must be taken in: mental retardation, epilepsy, renal and / or liver failure, marked reduced body weight.

    Zoloft and alcohol

    Alcohol is not recommended to be taken with the medicine. Its action can increase side effects and lead to overdose. nine0003

    How to recognize depression is described in the article "Beck Test for Depression"

    Zoloft: overdose

    Zoloft overdose occurs when used simultaneously with alcohol or other incompatible drugs. With such combinations, severe poisoning can occur, up to coma and death. Overdose symptoms are:

    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • drowsiness
    • increased heart rate
    • dizziness nine0016
    • psychomotor agitation
    • diarrhea
    • excessive sweating

    Hospital observation and constant monitoring of vital signs will be required. When first aid is not recommended to induce vomiting, it is better to give activated charcoal.

    Zoloft: how to stop drinking it

    "Withdrawal" syndrome is rare. Nevertheless, it is necessary to discuss with the doctor a decrease in the dosage of the drug. Since the termination of treatment is possible: nine0003

    • symptoms of depression
    • hallucinations
    • aggression
    • anxiety
    • psychosis

    Particular attention should be paid to the fact that after the end of the use of Zoloft, within 14 days, you should not take drugs related to monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

    Zoloft: analogues

    Zoloft has about 10 names of analogues of the active substance. All medicines are prescribed and prescribed by a doctor. Therefore, to choose a remedy or replace your own, consult your doctor first. nine0003

    Zoloft and Atarax: compatibility

    The combination of these drugs increases the side effects. This manifests itself in the form of dizziness, drowsiness and confusion. Elderly people have difficulty in thinking and coordinating movements.

    Do you want to understand the analogues of drugs in order to skillfully select drugs for your budget? Our manual from expert pharmacists "Analogues of popular drugs" will help you with this! nine0140 Getting a training manual is easy: subscribe to our social networks and write “analogues” in the messages.

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