Side effects of zoloft weight loss: Everything You Need To Know
Everything You Need To Know
Most antidepressants are associated with weight gain, but anecdotal evidence suggests that Zoloft, a popular Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved antidepressant medication, may cause weight loss in some patients.
With millions of adults suffering from common mental health conditions and mood disorders like depression and anxiety each year, many turn to prescription treatments like Zoloft for relief.
When it comes to Zoloft and weight loss, here’s everything you need to know.
What is Zoloft?
Zoloft is a brand name prescription medication that belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Zoloft is an antidepressant drug that is also sold under the generic name of its active ingredient, sertraline.
The medication is used to treat major depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
Zoloft and other medications in its drug class work to treat depression and anxiety by preventing the reabsorption of a neurotransmitter called serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical messenger that helps transmit messages between the brain cells. People who suffer from common mental health conditions like depression and anxiety are believed to have low levels of serotonin in the brain. By blocking the reabsorption of serotonin, the levels of the neurotransmitter increase, which is thought to result in improved mood.
Does Zoloft cause weight loss?
Antidepressants, including Zoloft, are most commonly associated with weight gain. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that Zoloft may actually be associated with weight loss in some situations.
One study found that patients who were taking Zoloft for depression and who were overweight lost anywhere from 0.42 pounds per week to 1.06 pounds per week; one participant in the study lost a total of 69 pounds over 36 weeks.
However, Zoloft is typically associated with short term weight loss as compared to long term weight loss. Most people take Zoloft for an extended period of time in order to treat depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, and over time, this weight loss can begin to slow. In fact, weight gain is a common side effect of Zoloft, particularly when the medication is taken over an extended period of time.
Compared to other antidepressants, Zoloft has actually been shown in some studies to be more likely to add extra pounds. When compared to patients who are taking Prozac, Zoloft users were found to gain an average of 5.9 pounds over the course of two years, which is higher than the amount of weight gained by patients taking Prozac.
It is believed that the weight loss caused by Zoloft occurs because some patients experience short term appetite suppression when they first start taking the drug. However, patients should not expect to continue to experience weight loss if they take the medication for a long period of time, as the more common side effect of the drug is moderate weight gain.
What side effects are associated with Zoloft?
Zoloft, like other medications in its class, is associated with a considerable list of side effects. Side effects associated with Zoloft generally fall into two categories: common adverse effects and rare but serious ones.
Common side effects associated with Zoloft include:
- Trouble sleeping/tiredness
- Upset stomach
- Sexual dysfunction including low libidio, delayed or inability to orgasm, erectile dysfunction, in men
- Weight gain
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
Rare but serious side effects associated with Zoloft include:
- Angle-closure glaucoma
- Serotonin syndrome, as evidenced by shivering, severe muscle tightness, confusion, fever and more
- Low sodium blood levels, as evidenced by weakness, difficulty concentrating and remembering
While serious side effects associated with Zoloft are rare, they require immediate medical treatment.
If you experience any of the aforementioned serious side effects of Zoloft while using the medication, make sure to seek emergency medical treatment. Patients should also seek medical treatment if they experience any of the common side effects of Zoloft in a severe form or over an extended period of time, as these side effects typically resolve within several weeks as your body adjusts to the medication.
Some patients taking Zoloft for the treatment of common mental health conditions like depressive symptoms and anxiety may experience short term weight loss as a result of the loss of appetite that sometimes occurs as a patient’s body adjusts to the medication.
However, when taken for the long term treatment of mental health conditions, Zoloft is more commonly associated with weight gain; one study found that Zoloft users gain an average of 5.9 pounds over the course of two years of treatment.
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Sertraline and Weight Gain: What You Need to Know
Sertraline, sold under the brand name Zoloft®, is a widely used antidepressant that belongs to a class of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.
Like other antidepressants, sertraline can cause certain side effects. One potential side effect of sertraline that you may be aware of is weight gain.
Below, we’ve discussed the relationship between sertraline and weight gain, as well as what you can expect if you’ve been prescribed this medication.
We’ve also explained what you can do to reduce your risk of gaining weight after you start using sertraline or other antidepressants.
Sertraline and Weight Gain: The Basics
SSRIs and other antidepressants have long been associated with changes in body composition and weight gain.
Although newer antidepressants such as sertraline aren’t as closely associated with weight gain as older drugs, research does show that there’s a link between sertraline use and an increase in body mass.
In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine in 2016, researchers compared different antidepressants to assess their effects on body mass.
Sertraline was one of several drugs linked to weight gain, with users of the drug experiencing a “modest weight gain” over the course of two years when compared with the reference treatment Fluoxetine, a first-generation SSRI.
Although this study isn’t perfect (only a small number of people finished the entire two years of treatment), it does show that sertraline can, and often does, contribute to weight gain.
Why Does Sertraline Cause Weight Gain?
While scientists and healthcare providers have long known that antidepressants can cause weight gain, there isn’t a huge amount of evidence showing why this happens.
Weight gain occurs when people consume more calories from foods and beverages than they’re able to burn through activity.
A variety of environmental factors can affect calorie intake and activity level, including access to certain types of food, large average portions and a lack of opportunities to exercise.
Medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, Cushing syndrome and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), may also contribute to weight gain in certain circumstances.
Currently, there doesn’t appear to be any evidence to show that sertraline has a negative effect on your metabolism.
In one study from 2009, researchers found that sertraline did not have any significant impact on thyroid function, limiting any potential metabolic effects.
One theory is that antidepressants such as sertraline may stimulate your appetite and make you feel hungrier than normal by affecting your ability to suppress the urge to eat.
This means that if you use sertraline or another antidepressant, you may feel less satisfied after you eat food, causing you to eat larger portions and take fewer steps to control your total calorie intake.
Over time, this increase in calorie intake can lead to weight gain if you don’t also increase your activity level.
Since medications like sertraline are often prescribed for the long term, even a small increase in your appetite can eventually have a significant effect on your weight.
Another theory is that sertraline and other antidepressants may cause weight gain by reversing the weight loss some people experience when they’re depressed.
Emotions such as depression can often result in a loss of appetite. If you’ve lost weight due to a reduced appetite from depression, you may regain weight as your appetite recovers once you begin treatment with sertraline or another antidepressant.
It’s also possible that sertraline and other SSRIs may block the effects of hormones that control sodium and fluid in your body, resulting in fluid retention.
In short, while weight gain is a known side effect of sertraline and several other antidepressants, experts aren’t yet completely sure why.
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Other SSRIs and Weight Gain
Sertraline isn’t the only antidepressant that can cause weight gain. Many other antidepressants, including other SSRIs, are associated with some degree of weight gain.
In a review published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, researchers noted that SSRI users gained an average of 4.6 percent of their body weight over four years of treatment.
Other research has found that certain antidepressants, such as citalopram, often cause cravings for carbohydrates and significant weight gain during treatment.
As for specific SSRIs, the data varies. Can escitalopram (sold as Lexapro®) cause weight gain? Relatively little, according to one study, which found that people with depression who underwent treatment with escitalopram gained an average of just 0.34kg (0.75lbs) over six months.
Similarly, SNRI antidepressants such as duloxetine (sold as Cymbalta®) can also cause weight gain. In one review, researchers noted that duloxetine leads to a modest amount of weight gain when it’s used as a long-term treatment for depression.
Put simply, weight gain is a fairly common side effect of both SSRIs and other antidepressants — not an isolated side effect that only occurs with sertraline.
Antidepressants That Cause Weight Loss
Although most antidepressants are associated with weight gain, some medications used to treat depression appear to promote weight loss.
More specifically, the medication bupropion (commonly sold as Wellbutrin®) has been linked to weight loss in several studies.
In a study published in the journal Obesity Research in 2001, researchers compared bupropion with a non-therapeutic placebo to assess its effectiveness as a treatment for obesity.
They found that the study participants who used bupropion achieved greater mean weight loss than those who used the placebo.
After eight weeks of treatment, the women who used bupropion lost an average of 6.2 percent of their original body weight, compared to an average weight loss of 1.6 percent for the women in the placebo group.
A review published in the journal Pharmacological Research noted that bupropion may have an effect on the regions of the brain responsible for controlling food cravings and “other aspects of eating behavior that affect body weight.”
If you’re prescribed an antidepressant and notice that you’re beginning to gain weight, you may want to talk to your healthcare provider about switching to a different medication with a reduced risk of causing weight gain.
How to Avoid Weight Gain From Sertraline
While some weight gain from sertraline might be unavoidable, there are several steps that you can take to minimize the amount of weight you gain while using your medication:
Weigh yourself before you start. Make sure you know how much you weigh before you start using sertraline. This will make it easier to track any changes in your weight that occur while you’re taking this medication. Try to weigh yourself in the morning — ideally after you go to the bathroom and before you eat — for the most accurate reading.
Maintain your normal eating habits. Sertraline may affect your appetite, causing you to feel less satisfied by food than normal. To minimize weight gain, try to maintain your previous eating habits, such as food choices, portion sizes and meal timing.
Stay active. If you currently exercise, it’s best to continue exercising as you normally would after you start treatment with sertraline unless your healthcare provider advises you not to. In addition to regulating your weight, exercise is associated with improvements in some depression and anxiety symptoms.
Weigh yourself weekly, not daily. Your weight fluctuates by a significant amount over the course of the day, meaning you may be several pounds heavier in the evening than you were in the morning.
Because of this, it’s best to track any changes in your weight over the long term, rather than on a daily basis. Try to track your weight loss every week or month to see if there’s a noticeable trend upwards or downwards.
If you gain weight, tell your healthcare provider. If you notice a significant amount of weight gain after starting sertraline, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider. To manage your weight, they may recommend adjusting your diet, changing your activity level or making changes to the way you use bupropion. In some cases, your healthcare provider may recommend using a different type of antidepressant.
If you lose weight, tell your healthcare provider. Similarly, if you notice a significant amount of weight loss after you start to take sertraline, it’s also important to talk to your healthcare provider.
Although SSRIs like sertraline have a reputation for causing weight gain, the right combination of habits and careful monitoring can help you to maintain your weight on antidepressants.
By using the tactics above, you may be able to prevent or minimize any changes in your weight after you start to use sertraline.
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Learn More About Sertraline
Sertraline is one of the most common medications for depression. It’s used by millions of people in the United States and internationally, with a good record of safety and effectiveness.
Although some people experience mild weight gain while using sertraline, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle while you use this medication can help you to stay fit and maintain your current body composition.
If you experience any change in your weight while you’re using sertraline, it’s important to reach out to your healthcare provider.
You can learn more about how sertraline works, its effects, side effects and more in our detailed Sertraline 101 guide.
If you’re feeling depressed, anxious or unfocused and want to talk to an expert, you can connect with a licensed psychiatry provider online via our online psychiatry service.
How Antidepressants Can Affect Weight Loss
Many people with depression have worked hard to treat their disease. You may attend therapy and take your antidepressants, only to find that the numbers on the scale are moving up and your clothes are not fitting like they used to. While you may feel better emotionally and mentally, you might also feel discouraged by your physical appearance or health.
Some of this may be due to the connection between antidepressants and weight gain. It is not a side effect of every medication used to treat depression, and some are more associated with weight loss.
However, any side effect—weight gain included—depends entirely on how your body reacts to the medication. It is possible that you will notice no change in weight or that you will swing in the opposite direction of what’s typical, no matter which medication you take. For some people, the fluctuation in weight is only temporary.
Associated With Weight Gain
Associated With Weight Loss
Weight gain while taking an antidepressant is a conundrum that can leave many people scratching their heads, even doctors. If a person gains weight, it’s sometimes unknown if that is due to a side effect of the antidepressant itself. It’s entirely possible that the person is simply feeling better and, as a result, eating more.
On the flip side, if you have atypical depression, a subtype of major depressive disorder, weight gain is common. In this instance, with antidepressant treatment, further weight gain may indicate failed treatment or it could be medication-induced—a tricky, but extremely critical distinction.
To further complicate the picture, while many people associate antidepressant use with weight gain, there is actually limited scientific evidence to back this up. Research shows weight gain is mostly linked only to these three antidepressants:
- Paxil (paroxetine): a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)
- Elavil (amitriptyline): a tricyclic antidepressant
- Remeron (mirtazapine): an atypical antidepressant
Weight gain associated with other antidepressants, if it does occur, is usually short-lived. In addition, individual factors seem to play a role. In other words, it’s hard to predict who will gain weight on certain antidepressants because so many variables are at play.
You may be surprised to learn that there are two antidepressants linked to weight loss. Remember, a link implies a statistical association, so it does not predict individual results. These include:
- Prozac (fluoxetine)
- Wellbutrin (bupropion)
As an SSRI, Prozac increases the levels of serotonin in the brain and these are generally the first-line treatment for depression. Any weight loss you may experience while taking Prozac may only be temporary and weight gain after the first few months may be possible.
Wellbutrin is an atypical antidepressant that doesn’t change serotonin levels in the brain. Rather, it uniquely alters other brain chemicals like noradrenaline and dopamine. This is associated not only with weight loss but also improved sexual functioning.
This being said, Wellbutrin may not be appropriate for everyone. This is especially true of people with a history of seizures or an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia. It could put you at greater risk for having a seizure while using it.
Like all antidepressants, Wellbutrin and Prozac carry a black box warning. This states their potential for increased risk of suicidal thoughts and actions in children, teens, and young adults during the early stages of treatment.
Treating your depression is paramount to your mental health and well-being. Of course, your physical appearance and health are also important, and your doctor would not want weight gain to affect your adherence to your depression therapy.
Have a candid discussion with your doctor about depression treatment as there are a lot of options out there. It’s important to remember, too, that weight gain is not inevitable with antidepressant therapy, and if it does occur, it’s usually temporary.
If you have concerns about weight loss or gain, talk to your doctor about diet and exercise changes you can make as well.
By changing a few habits and feeling healthier, you can also improve your emotional and mental health. Often, a combination of medication and a healthy lifestyle is the best treatment plan.
There is also the precaution that if you do not have depression, antidepressants are not recommended for weight loss. Studies have found that taking these medications for that purpose has negligible results. There’s no proof that it helps anymore with losing weight than diet and exercise alone.
A Word From Verywell
Treating your depression may take some patience and resilience on your part as you navigate and find the right plan, but it can be done. You can optimize both your physical and mental health—in fact, they often feed off one another.
Zoloft (Sertraline) Side Effects
Zoloft (sertraline) is a type of antidepressant medication commonly used to treat depression and anxiety. It belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which work by preventing the reabsorption of serotonin (the “feel good” neurotransmitter) so that more is available in the system. Zoloft is among the most prescribed psychiatric drugs in the U.S.
Most Common Zoloft Side Effects
As with all medications, Zoloft may cause certain unwanted side effects. The most commonly experienced in those taking Zoloft include:
Gastrointestinal problems can occur quite frequently in people taking Zoloft. Others are far less common but may be more distressing. While the loss of libido and orgasmic difficulties can affect both men and women, men are especially impacted by physical symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
These sexual issues occur in a small percentage of men taking Zoloft. People can sometimes minimize these symptoms by taking Zoloft immediately after sex or adjusting treatment with the advice of their doctor.
Another potential side effect of Zoloft is weight gain. A long-term study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2018 found that for up to six years after starting treatment, people taking antidepressants such as Zoloft were 21% more likely to experience at least a 5% weight gain than those not taking the drugs. Participants were also 29% more likely to move up a weight category—from normal to overweight or from overweight to obese—than those not on antidepressants.
While experts aren’t still trying to figure out the link, some theories do exist. For one, SSRIs can trigger changes in your metabolism, increasing appetite and causing the body to burn off calories less efficiently. Also, many people lose their appetite and lose weight when they’re depressed, so it may just be a result of them feeling better when they’re on the drug.
If you’re experiencing weight gain, don’t stop taking the drug on your own. Instead, talk to your doctor about switching to an antidepressant associated with weight loss or making any eating or exercise changes to help stave off the pounds while taking Zoloft.
Less Common Side Effects
While far less common, there are some serious side effects associated with Zoloft use. In some cases, Zoloft may trigger or exacerbate psychiatric symptoms.
Call your doctor if you experience any new or worsening psychiatric symptoms, including:
- Memory loss
- Symptoms associated with psychosis, major depression, or mania
You should seek immediate medical assistance if you experience any of the following:
- Black or bloody stools
- Chest pain
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Fever over 100o F
- Severe or persistent headache
- Skin reactions
- Suicidal thoughts
Side Effects in Children and Adolescents
When prescribed in children or adolescents, Zoloft can cause a slightly different range of side effects, some of which are less common in adults.
Advise your pediatrician if your child experiences any of the following:
- Abnormal or agitated muscle movements
- Frequent urination
- Heavy menstrual period
- Slowed growth
- Urinary incontinence
- Weight changes
A Word From Verywell
The type and severity of Zoloft side effects will vary from person to person. For most, the symptoms tend to be minimal and generally improve over time. If you find you are unable to cope with the side effects, call your doctor immediately.
There may be strategies your doctor can offer (including dose adjustment or adjunctive therapies) to help you better adjust to the prescribed treatment. The important thing to avoid is stopping or changing treatment without input from your doctor.
Not only might you undermine the goals of treatment, but you may also experience a condition known as antidepressant discontinuation syndrome (ADS) which can manifest with symptoms of withdrawal (including muscle aches, nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and abnormal sensations). ADS can occur as early as six weeks after starting therapy.
Weight Gain and Antidepressants (Including SSRIs)
Seeking help for depression — and following through with antidepressant medication — is a courageous and important first step on the road to recovery. But too often, those who take that step find themselves faced with another troubling problem: weight gain.
Experts say that for up to 25% of people, most antidepressant medications — including the popular SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) drugs like Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft — can cause a weight gain of 10 pounds or more.
“This is a phenomenon that I first noticed years ago when Prozac first came on the market. It didn’t initially show up in the clinical trials because most of them were eight to 12 weeks in length, and the weight gain generally occurs with longer use. But it’s definitely one of the side effects of this and other antidepressant medications,” says Norman Sussman, MD, a psychiatrist and associate dean for postgraduate medical programs at the NYU School of Medicine.
A review published in 2003 in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine stated that while weight gain is a possible side effect with SSRI antidepressant drugs, it may be more likely to occur after six months or more of use.
But SSRIs aren’t the only class of antidepressants that may have weight gain as a side effect. Other antidepressant medications, including tricylics (like Elavil and Tofranil) and MAO inhibitors (drugs like Parnate and Nardil), may also cause patients to gain weight with both long-term and short-term use.
“This is clearly a problem for the majority of drugs used to treat depression, and while it doesn’t occur with every drug or for every person, when it does happen, it can be a significant problem that we shouldn’t just ignore,” says Jack E. Fincham, PhD, RPh, professor of pharmacy practice at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, and author of The Everyday Guide to Managing Your Medicines.
Antidepressants and Weight Gain: What Happens and Why
Although there are a number of theories as to why antidepressants lead to weight gain, Sussman believes that both appetite and metabolism may be affected.
“I have had patients who swear that they are not eating any more, but still gaining weight, so that tells us there is some kind of metabolic influence going on; I have also had patients tell me that they are not only more hungry and eating more, but that the medicines are encouraging a carbohydrate craving that is hard to control, so we know appetite also plays a role,” he says.
Fincham says antidepressants may also simply help us to rediscover pleasure in our life — including food.
“It might be a situation where someone feels so much better when taking an antidepressant that lots of things suddenly start feeling more pleasurable to them, and food is just one of them. So in this instance they may actually be overeating and not even realize they are doing so, says Fincham.
Findings from a group of Italian researchers published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics suggest that the simple act of recovery from depression may play a role in the weight gain.
Weight Gain and Antidepressants: Switching Drugs Can Help
While experts may not be certain about why antidepressants cause weight gain, they do know that switching drugs may make a difference.
Some antidepressants may be less likely to affect weight. Effexor and Serzone generally do not cause weight gain, while Wellbutrin can cause weight loss.
Sometimes switching within the same class of drugs can make a huge difference.
“Right now, the SSRI Paxil is the worst offender — the antidepressant most likely to cause weight gain, while another SSRI, Zoloft, is the least likely, so that’s a switch that can sometimes make a big difference for some people,” says Sussman.
The downside to switching drugs: Sussman says not every drug works equally well to control symptoms in all people.
“The neurochemistry involved in depression is extremely complex and slightly different for everybody, so while switching drugs may help with the weight gain, you might forfeit some control over depression symptoms,” says Sussman.
So far, no drugs (including weight loss drugs) have been sufficiently tested to be approved for use in managing weight gain from psychiatric medications. The authors of the Cleveland Clinic review report that using regular doses of antidepressants with low doses of certain stimulant drugs or seizure medications may help mitigate some weight gain, while adding low doses of Wellbutrin or naltrexone (a drug used in the treatment of alcoholism) to an antidepressant regimen might also help.
If you are taking antidepressants, you should never use any weight loss medication without the consent of your physician, cautions Fincham. “In my opinion I also do not see the herbal weight loss products as a viable option.” he says.
Antidepressants and Weight Gain: The Diet and Exercise Link
Not surprisingly, experts also say that some of the same tenets that help us control our weight under normal circumstances may also help us while using antidepressants — including eating healthy and getting enough exercise.
“The best thing you could do would be to head off the weight gain before it starts by switching to a more nutritious diet and increasing your daily exercise as soon as you start taking an antidepressant,” says registered dietitian Samantha Heller, MS, RD.
If, in fact, you’ve already started packing on the extra pounds, Heller says switching to a healthier diet, cutting calories, and increasing exercise are still worth the effort.
“Even if you don’t lose weight immediately, you can begin controlling the gain and help your body to stabilize for a while,” says Heller.
Moreover, a steadily growing body of scientific evidence suggests that increasing your daily exercise may affect not only weight loss, but also help your depression. In one large study of more than 3,400 Finnish men and women published in the journal Preventive Medicine, researchers found that those who exercised at least two to three times a week experienced significantly less depression, anger, and stress than those who exercised less frequently or not at all.
“The bottom line here is that not only can healthy eating and exercise help control your weight gain, they can also improve your depression, which in turn may help you to cut down on your medication — and that in turn make weight loss easier,” says Heller.
Experts warn, however, not to severely restrict caloric intake while taking antidepressants. Not only may this affect brain chemistry in a negative way, any strong sense of deprivation may contribute to feelings of depression.
So how do you diet without feeling deprived? Heller suggests enlisting the help of a registered dietitian: “In the same way you may need the help of a psychiatrist in dealing with your depression symptoms, you may also need the help of a registered dietitian to devise an eating plan that can help you lose weight without impacting your depression in a negative way.”
Antidepressants and Weight Loss: If at First You Don’t Succeed …
Although all the experts WebMD consulted believe it’s certainly worth making any and all efforts to control your weight while taking antidepressant medications, they also point out that for one subgroup of people, weight gain will simply be an inevitable side effect of treatment.
“There are clearly some people for whom certain antidepressants are essential, even though the impact on their weight can be so strong that it simply can’t be offset by any amount of calorie restricting or even exercise. It just doesn’t work,” says Sussman.
If this turns out to be true for you, Fincham says it’s vital to keep it in the proper perspective and recognize the importance of treating your depression first and foremost.
“Seeking help for depression and following through with your medication regimen is a courageous and important thing to do, so even if you gain weight in the process, give yourself the gift of working through the depression first. Get a handle on it as best you can, and then worry about the weight loss after you are feeling better mentally and emotionally,” says Fincham.
Sussman agrees. “You have to recognize that the weight gain is not your fault and that what you are doing to help overcome your depression is far more important,” he says.
What to expect in the first week of taking Zoloft
Starting dose | Side effects | Missing a dose | Overdose | When to see a doctor
Living with mental health conditions like anxiety or depression can make daily life stressful. 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.
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. 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. Doctors commonly prescribe Zoloft to treat anxiety, but it can also be used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic attacks, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
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. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these are the standard doses of Zoloft for other disorders:
- Major depressive disorder: 50 mg daily
- OCD: 50 mg per day for those older than 13 years of age
- Panic disorder: 25 mg daily
- PTSD: 25 mg daily
- Social anxiety disorder: 25 mg daily
- PMDD: 50 mg per day during the luteal phase only
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.
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.
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.
Zoloft side effects to expect in the first week
During your first week of taking 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:
- Dry mouth
- Trouble sleeping
- Decreased sex drive
- Weight gain
- Loss of appetite
- Increased sweating
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.
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
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.
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
- Ultram (tramadol)
- Nardil (phenelzine)
- Parnate (tranylcypromine)
- Marplan (isocarboxazid)
- Azilect (rasagiline)
- Emsam (selegiline)
- Orap (pimozide)
Zoloft shouldn’t be taken at the same time as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (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.
Missing a 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.
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:
- Changes in blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat
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 oftentimes 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.
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.
The potential to experience side effects from a 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 & Weight Gain or Loss
A woman is looking upset while stepping on the scale.
Image Credit: tetmc/iStock/Getty Images
Zoloft, generically known as sertraline, belongs to a category of antidepressants known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRIs. Doctors prescribe Zoloft for treatment of depressive disorders, anxiety and other mental health conditions. Like other SSRIs, Zoloft may cause weight changes in some people. Knowing that this complication could occur can help you make necessary lifestyle adjustments to prevent it or deal with it effectively if you experience either one.
Weight loss is a common side effect of Zoloft, affecting children and adolescents more frequently than adults, who need close monitoring when taking this drug. According to eMedTV, 7 percent of children taking Zoloft experienced weight loss of greater than 7 percent of their body weight. Around 2 percent of adolescents lost more than 7 percent. Most adults lose just a pound of two. If you lose large amounts of weight and don’t need to lose it, you might have to stop taking the medication. Around 1 percent gain weight when taking Zoloft. It’s unclear whether the medication itself or a combination of lifestyle changes, underlying conditions and other factors is to blame for weight gain in patients taking Zoloft.
Signs and Symptoms
Weight loss is often preceded by appetite loss, nausea upon eating, and disinterest in food preparation and consumption. Reduced caloric intake and occasionally an increase in physical activity because of reduced depressive symptoms are usually the primary causes of weight loss in patients taking Zoloft. Increased appetite, binge eating, food cravings and preoccupation with food are commonly associated with weight gain in people who take Zoloft. Poor dietary choices, such as eating foods high in saturated fats and sugars, are a major cause of weight gain for many people.
Weight changes of 5 to 10 pounds are unlikely to cause serious health problems in most people. However, rapid weight gain or loss can have health implications. Underweight people are more likely to suffer from reduced immunity, low energy levels and nutritional deficiencies, the British National Health Services cautions. Underweight women may have irregular menstrual cycles and reduced fertility. Overweight issues and obesity are endemic in the United States. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute states that overweight people are at an increased risk for heart disease, type II diabetes, sleep apnea and several types of cancer.
The best way to prevent excessive weight gain or weight loss while taking Zoloft is to adhere to a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meat and low-fat dairy products are excellent choices for a healthy diet. Strength-training exercises may help build muscle mass in underweight patients, while regular aerobic exercise like running or cycling can help burn calories in those who are overweight.
Not all patients taking Zoloft experience weight changes or other side effects. Weight gain and loss are generally most pronounced at the beginning of treatment and often level off after a few months. If weight changes are persistent or severe, your doctor may adjust the dose of medication or prescribe other treatments.
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How to lose weight caused by medication: myjane_ru – LiveJournal
On my article “Medicines That Make You Fat,” I received many responses in which women asked what to do if taking medications causes weight gain.In this article, we will look at how you can keep weight under control during drug therapy.
Taking antidepressants and hormonal medications such as prednisone, IVF protocols and the treatment of certain gynecological conditions often lead to extra pounds. While health and disease should always be a priority, gaining excess weight can be an unpleasant side effect, especially for women.
People living with autoimmune diseases, from Crohn’s disease to rheumatoid arthritis, or mood disorders such as depression, are forced to take powerful medications that help minimize or eliminate symptoms of the disease and contribute to a comfortable life for a person.
Unfortunately, some of the common medications, such as prednisone and other corticosteroids, as well as bupropion (Wellbutrin) and other antidepressants, have unwanted side effects, namely weight gain.
What medications cause weight gain?
Common antipsychotics, antidepressants and mood stabilizers have the greatest potential for weight gain. All 12 leading antidepressants – including fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and escitalopam (Lexapro) – increase the likelihood of weight gain.
According to statistics, about 10% of people take one or another drug from the above group. And since there are simply no other treatment options, the increased risk of unhealthy weight gain in patients is simply predetermined. In addition, weight gain may not be noticed immediately. People taking antidepressants are at greatest risk for two to three years after starting treatment.
Steroids such as prednisone can also have a similar effect.Steroid hormones are often used to treat inflammatory conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, lupus, and osteoarthritis. With some of these drugs, nearly 70 percent of users report weight gain as a side effect.
Why do you gain weight from certain drugs?
Some medications, such as corticosteroids, alter the electrolyte and water balance of the body, and also affect the metabolism.Many people on steroids report an increase in body fat in the abdomen, face and neck. And even if you can control the weight gain caused by steroids, chances are you’ll look heavier than you are due to the redistributed fat and swelling.
Antidepressant-induced weight gain is associated with changes in appetite. Appetite increases with drugs for depression. In general, in a certain state of mind, everything becomes a little more appetizing – and our taste preferences usually do not fall under fruits and vegetables.With prolonged use, and with drugs that affect the psyche, only long-term use is effective – the set of extra pounds turns out to be quite significant.
How to control medication-induced weight gain?
If you want to lose a few extra pounds that you put on after taking a medication that causes weight gain, or are afraid that you will gain from drug therapy, you are already on the right track. Armed with the knowledge that weight gain is a potential side effect, you can take appropriate steps to prepare yourself and make more informed choices when it comes to food and exercise.
Here are seven ways you can prevent or lose “medication” excess weight:
1. Reduce sodium intake, that is, salt
Avoiding too much salt is generally beneficial for health, but patients taking steroids or antidepressants need to pay special attention to this.
In addition to undersalting cooked foods, you should also avoid processed and canned foods, as well as fast food, as they often contain very high amounts of sodium.
2. Increase your potassium intake
Eating a diet rich in potassium is great for people who want to lose weight through medication – potassium washes out sodium. In addition, a potassium-rich diet has been linked to other health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, protecting against stroke, and preventing osteoporosis.
Thus, the following foods are rich in potassium:
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3. Eat fractions and often
Since your appetite may increase with certain medications, if you allow hunger hormones to completely control your diet, you will eat more. Fighting hunger hormones is difficult, but possible. To do this, you must maintain a stable blood glucose level. So instead of eating three meals a day, divide it into smaller, more frequent meals. This psychologically makes you feel like you are consuming more calories because you have little time between snacks to get outrageously hungry.
It is recommended to prevent hunger by eating six small meals a day instead of three large ones. Also, try to include bulk-rich, non-starchy vegetables in your diet – vegetarian soups, salads, and smoothies. They saturate well and for a long time with a minimum of calories.
4. Be physically active
Any physical activity plays a key role in reducing and maintaining weight, and is also beneficial to overall health.
It is imperative that you remain physically active, depending on your health condition or current symptoms. You may not be as active as you used to be due to illness, but gentle yoga, walking, swimming, dancing, or something similar will help you stay mobile, flexible, and improve your overall well-being.
5. Try intermittent fasting
For people who have completed their medication, intermittent fasting can be an effective way to lose weight if it does not contradict the recommendations of your doctor.It is important to give the gastrointestinal tract the opportunity to “rest”. This can be a 12-hour food-free window that should start 2-3 hours before bedtime. It is also necessary to observe 3-4 hour intervals between each meal during the day, and not succumb to the urge to snack, which is often not associated with real hunger.
6. Get enough sleep
A good night’s sleep can work wonders when you are trying to lose weight, especially if you are on hormonal medications, whatever the cause.Many patients experience sleep problems with steroid use. It boosts your appetite for sugary foods because you need a burst of energy from any source. And if the body cannot get energy after sleeping, it requires it from high-calorie foods.
In any way, try to establish a night’s sleep, for which it is recommended to go to bed at the same time, and if there is a lack of night sleep, make up for it with any opportunity to take a nap.
7.The doctor can change the medicine
Your health is a priority in the selection of medicines, so there may not be an alternative to the medicines you are using that does not lead to some weight gain. However, ask your doctor if there are alternative medications or treatment protocols that can support your health without gaining extra pounds.
When taking hormonal drugs, you can choose the lowest effective dose, calculated individually for you.
In general, to lose weight, use the same strategies that you would use for weight management, with or without additional drug effects. Choose low-calorie foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, eat fiber-rich, slow-digesting complex carbohydrates, and drink plenty of water.
90,000 Fluoxetine analogues: which is better, without prescriptions
Author: Doctor neurologist Torsky Oleg Olegovich
- Without prescription
- Where to buy without a prescription?
What is this?
The development of society goes to a new round, and along with it, mental pathology – depression – is spreading more and more.
The pharmaceutical industry was looking for a cure for depression and in the late 1950s antidepressants appeared: iproniazide and imipramine. Currently, depression is treated at home. Therefore, demands are made on antidepressants in their ability to positively influence the personal growth and living standards of patients. All antidepressants have the inherent property of having a beneficial effect on improving the mood and mental state of the patient.
The most popular and frequently used is Fluoxetine, which requires a prescription from a doctor.
The original drug has more than a dozen fluoxetine analogues:
- Bioxetine – tablets;
- Deprex – capsules;
- Deprenone – capsules;
- Prozac – capsules;
- Fluoxetine Hexal;
- – “” – Lannacher;
- – “” – Nycomed;
- – “” – Ozone 20 mg and 10 mg;
All of these drugs have the active ingredient fluoxetine.
Analogues of fluoxetine as an active ingredient are:
Fluoxetine, having many properties positively affecting the human psyche, has a number of side effects. Many are looking for drugs with a similar effect, less harmful.It’s no secret that antidepressants can be purchased over the counter and even over the Internet.
Less aggressive fluoxetine substitutes – Flunate and Deprex. Profluzak and Fluval are identical in composition and practically over-the-counter.
Fluoxetine is produced by many companies in Russia.
The commercial name of the drug, with the active substance fluoxetine – Profluzac.
- Escitalopram – Berezovsky pharmaceutical plant;
- Paroxetine – Berezovsky pharmaceutical plant;
- Citalopram – ALSI Pharma.
According to the RBC website dated May 15, 2019, the sale of antidepressants in Russia has doubled over the past five years, which is explained by the alleged partial refusal of sleeping pills and, of course, illegal medical discharges.
Let’s just say that no self-respecting doctor will prescribe antidepressants for weight loss. Antidepressants do not burn fat by themselves. Weight loss of obese patients occurs against the background of the fact that appetite decreases and a person takes fewer calories.
But, despite all the warnings of doctors, antidepressants are taken for the purpose of losing weight:
- Fluoxetine and Prozac come out on top. Overdose is fraught with consequences, often fatal. When buying medicines at a pharmacy – think of Michael Jackson. He had a personal doctor.
- Sertraline – used for gluttony (bulimia) associated with stress or depression. In Russia it is known as Zoloft.
It is appropriate to speak about originals and generics here.
Original is Fluoxetine, registered in 1974. In 2001, the patent protection ended.
After the end of the patent protection, analogs – generics – copies that have similar active ingredients appear on the market. You do not need a patent to register them. Documents are being collected proving the similarity of the chemical formula to the original molecule. The active substance should be similar, but the auxiliary ones may differ. The generic name for Fluoxetine is Depress.
Fluoxetine analogs by indication and method of administration:
Analogues of Fluoxetine according to indications, but have a different composition:
Phenibut is a nootropic agent synthesized at the Leningrad University. In 1975, the drug was included in the astronauts’ first-aid kit.
The drug stimulates memory, improves the learning process, efficiency. It works as a tranquilizer, without lowering psychomotor reactions, relieves stress (like fluoxetine), fatigue, and has an antiepileptic effect.
Use as an aid for delirium tremens
Enhances the effect of sleeping pills.As a medicine it is registered only in Russia. In America it is sold as a dietary supplement.
Fevarin (Fevarine) – analogue of fluoxetine. The smallest negative effect on sexual function among similar drugs – this is its difference. After paroxetine – the 2nd most severe withdrawal syndrome.
Ideal for outpatient treatment. Well tolerated by the elderly.
Prozac is the most scandalous drug of all antidepressants with the active ingredient fluoxetine.Originally intended as a medicine for high blood pressure, and later made the most famous antidepressant.
Synonym for Prozac – Fluoxetine, Fluval, Fluxen.
Gives energy, encourages action, relieves hunger.
Found illegal use as a means of losing weight. When taken uncontrolled, it leads to anorexia.
The difference between fluoxetine (Prozac) and a traditional antidepressant is that it has an effect closer to stimulants than sedatives.
Zoloft is a trade name for an antidepressant with the active ingredient sertraline hydrochloride, an analogue of fluoxetine.
Comparing with similar drugs, we can say that the effectiveness is similar to paroxetine and alprazolam; which is 1.4 times better than fluoxetine, and fewer side effects.
Zoloft is a prolonged-release drug – the effect occurs in a month.
Amitriptyline is the main representative of tricyclic antidepressants, discovered in 1960.It is an analogue of the drug Fluoxetine.
Treatment with amitriptyline is prescribed only in a hospital setting. With a minor overdose, there is a great threat of death.
Amitriptyline has been proven to be compatible with pain medications, so it is often prescribed as an adjunct to them.
Paroxetine is a relatively new antidepressant, registered in 1992.
Has a powerful antidepressant effect, minimal side effects.Like fluoxetine, it can reduce hunger.
Difference from other drugs – prescribed for premature ejaculation. The disadvantage is the highest withdrawal syndrome.
Duloxetine – the action is similar to other antidepressants, compared to Fluoxetine – high price. Possessing analgesic activity, it replaces amitriptyline when it is contraindicated.
Trade marks in Russia: Duloxetine, Duloxetine Canon, Simbalta.
Paxil – the active ingredient paroxetine is an analogue of fluoxetine. Contains calcium and magnesium, does not affect the cardiovascular system.
It is a good antidepressant with a mild stimulating effect.
The drug is easy to use: prescribed 1 time per day, effective at a minimum dose.
Antidepressants are good remedies for the treatment of modern diseases with nervous disorders, but they should only be taken according to the testimony of doctors, strictly following the rules.
Where to buy without a prescription?
- Kharkevich D.A. Pharmacology. – 10th ed. – M. : GEOTAR-Media, 2010 .– P. 642 .– 908 p. – ISBN 978-5-9704-0850-6.
- Drobizhev M. Yu., Mukhin A. A. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: options for choice (comments on Thase et al.) // Psychiatry and psychopharmacotherapy. – 2004. – T. 6, No. 1.
- Grohol, J. FDA Approves Symbyax for Treatment Resistant Depression (eng.). Psych Central Blog .
Zoloft overdose, side effects, drug dose
Zoloft (Sertraline) is a psychotropic drug prescribed for the treatment of many mental disorders. It belongs to the class of antidepressant serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Intolerance to the active substance or violation of the recommended doses during treatment can lead to an increase in unwanted reactions from the body and an overdose.
Causes and symptoms of Zoloft overdose
The course of treatment for mental disorders is determined by the doctor on an individual basis, but on average its duration is from three to six months. For a medicinal product, the maximum allowable dose is 200 mg.
A person’s tolerance to a particular drug depends on several factors:
- body weight
- general health
- intake with incompatible drugs
“Zoloft” is excreted from the body within a day, therefore its excess leads to drops blood pressure, organic lesions of the heart, convulsions, fainting, inflammatory processes in the pancreas.Dysfunctions of the nervous system are manifested by delirium, hallucinations, stupor, mania. The most common overdose symptoms are:
- nausea or vomiting
- uncontrolled physical activity
- trembling in the body
“Potential danger for the life of a person’s syndrome – the consequence high levels of the substance accumulate in the brain.The clinical picture is characterized by drowsiness, psychomotor agitation, diarrhea, increased sweating, hyperreflexia. Complications can result in coma or death. The greatest likelihood of an overdose occurs when taken simultaneously with incompatible medications or alcohol.
Elimination of the consequences of using “Zoloft”
In acute poisoning, treatment begins with cleansing the stomach to prevent further absorption of the drug. There is no antidote.Since the side effects of taking an antidepressant can manifest itself from any organs and systems, heart rate, respiration, and pressure indicators are monitored. The manifestation of side effects from taking “Zoloft”, the risk of addiction, dosage tolerance and deterioration in general well-being increase in accordance with the timing of the drug intake. Disturbances in the transmission of nerve impulses lead to a slowdown in the processing of new information by the brain, a deterioration in perception. Addiction to antidepressants is no less dangerous than nicotine or alcohol addiction.Therefore, the correction of the treatment regimen is carried out by the doctor on a weekly basis. The priority of the attending specialist is always to reduce the medication course of therapy to a therapeutic minimum.
The action of “Zoloft” is aimed at improving the concentration of neurotransmitters, that is, the main zone of influence is the brain. Most of the side effects are manifested when an excess of serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine appears. “Zoloft” is contraindicated with simultaneous treatment with monoamine oxidase inhibitors, antipsychotic compound “Pimozide”, “Disulfiram”.The half-life of this drug is 24 hours, even at therapeutic doses, the level of exposure differs in patients according to age or metabolism. The most common complaints at the beginning of therapy are nausea – 25%, inability to ejaculate – 14%, insomnia – 21%, diarrhea – 20%, dry mouth – 14%, drowsiness – 13%, dizziness – 12%, tremor – 8% … Treatment is usually interrupted due to drowsiness, nausea, stool disturbance, and insomnia.
In men, there is often a decrease in sexual activity.In this case, the mechanism for the development of a side effect is associated with an effect on the psyche, and not on somatic functions. With an increase in serotonin levels, the amount of dopamine decreases, which automatically entails difficulty in obtaining an orgasm. Drug-induced impotence is eliminated by adjusting the dose of the drug or artificially increasing dopamine.
In the first days of admission, dyspepsia, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting may appear. Possible fluctuations in the patient’s weight due to impaired appetite, up to anorexia.In severe cases, pancreatitis, hepatitis occurs. Taking Sertraline may be associated with microscopic colitis, a rare disease of unknown origin. With prolonged use, a significant decrease in appetite often develops. For this reason, many women with eating disorders use Zoloft for weight loss, but after completing the course they will be disappointed – their appetite returns.
Other side effects
Tachycardia, increased blood pressure, arrhythmia were noted on the part of the heart and blood vessels.In some cases, muscle cramps, arthralgia, dyskinesia, hematuria, and paresthesia were recorded. Disturbances in the functioning of the nervous system were manifested by drowsiness, general loss of strength, dizziness, tremors in the body, bouts of aggression or apathy, excessive sweating. The combination of several neurological symptoms leads to acute psychosis. If the active ingredient is intolerant, allergic reactions may develop: rash, urticaria, itching, angioedema.
Akathisia (internal tension, restlessness and inability to stand still) was noted in 16% of patients.Its manifestations appeared several hours after the first dose and disappeared after drug withdrawal or dose adjustment. Sometimes doctors confuse it with anxiety and increase the dose, which leads to a deterioration in the patient’s well-being. After two weeks of taking Sertraline, healthy volunteers showed an improvement in fluency, while memory functions remained unchanged.
Death from “Zoloft”
The mechanism of action of antidepressants involves the suppression of the nervous, respiratory, cardiac systems.Therefore, they can be considered potentially hazardous to human health if precautions are not taken during admission. A causal relationship has not been established between taking an antidepressant and an increased risk of suicidal ideation. Causes of death:
- intolerance to active substances
- joint use with potent substances (for example, MAO inhibitors)
- increasing the therapeutic dose to an unacceptable level in combination with alcohol
- taking antidepressants for suicide
deaths side effects of drugs, so they should be taken only as directed by a specialist.Therefore, on a weekly basis, the doctor must adjust the therapy regimen based on the dynamics of treatment and the patient’s well-being.
When the side effects from taking Zoloft disappear
Adverse reactions usually occur after a few days of taking the antidepressant. Their decrease can occur arbitrarily in the case of adaptation of the organism or as it is excreted from the organism. Termination of taking “Zoloft” should take place in stages, under the supervision of a doctor. Reasons to stop antidepressant use:
- pronounced and long-term side effects
- no positive dynamics in treatment
- taking medication for more than six months
You should pay attention to any side effects and report them to your doctor.Immediate medical attention is required for suicidal thoughts. To prevent withdrawal symptoms, the dose is reduced gradually over several weeks or months. The timing is influenced by the total duration of admission, the dosage and the patient’s well-being. If the recommendations are not followed, drug withdrawal develops. It is manifested by abdominal disorders, sleep and vestibular disorders, loss of sensitivity and mobility, autonomic deviations. The difference between relapse and withdrawal syndrome is that it does not stop after 1-1.5 weeks, and negative dynamics progresses.After the end of treatment with Zoloft, the attending physician must observe the patient for several months.
In case of violation of the recommendations of a specialist or early termination of drug therapy, a relapse of the disease occurs. There is a deterioration not only in mental state, but also in physical well-being. The dosage of the drug depends on the timing of treatment and the characteristics of the human health.