Category Archives: Depression Medication

Trazodone medication: Is this medicine safe and effective?

Brand-name: Desyrel

Generic name: Trazodone hydrochloride

Trazodone medication: Why is this medication prescribed?

Trazodone medication is prescribed for treatment of depression. In addition to its antidepressant properties, sometimes it is also prescribed to assist people with their sleep.

Trazodone medication: What are some important things for me to know?

Trazodone medication does not give immediate relief, but may take up to four weeks before you actually begin to feel better. Most patients notice some improvement within approximately 2 weeks however.

When should trazodone medication not be prescribed?

If you’ve ever been sensitive or allergic to trazodone or similar medications, you should probably not take this antidepressant. You should always make sure that your doctor is aware of any drug reactions you experience when on this or any medications.

What if I am pregnant or breast-feeding?

The effects of trazodone medication have not been adequately studied during pregnancy. If you’re pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant in the near future, you should talk to your physician immediately. This medicine may appear in breast milk. If trazodone medication is absolutely essential to your health, your doctor may recommend that you discontinue breast-feeding your baby until your treatment with trazodone medication is complete.

Trazodone side effects: An overview

Trazodone side effects usually cannot be anticipated. If you notice any Trazodone side effects however, you should notify your physician immediately. Along with the benefits of any medicine, there are almost always some unwanted effects. While many or most of these effects may not occur, if they do you should call your physician or get medical attention immediately.

Trazodone side effects that require immediate attention:


Painful and inappropriate erection of the penis continuing for an extended period of time. In this case you should stop taking this medicine and check with your doctor immediately.

You need to check with your doctor as soon as possible if any the following Trazodone side effects occur:

Less Common

Fainting; muscle tremors; confusion


Unusual excitement; skin rash: fast or slow heartbeat

Symptoms of overdosage of Trazodone

Loss of muscle coordination; nausea and vomiting; drowsiness

While many other Trazodone side effects may occur that usually do not require medical attention, these side effects may go away as treatment progresses and your body adjusts to the medicine. However, you should check with your doctor if the following Trazodone side effects continue or become more bothersome:
More common
Unpleasant taste; nausea and vomiting; dryness of mouth; dizziness or lightheadedness; drowsiness
Less common
Unusual tiredness or weakness; muscle aches or pains; constipation; blurred vision; diarrhea
While other Trazodone side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients, if you notice any other side effects while taking Trazodone or any other medicine you need to check with your doctor immediately.

Trazodone dosage: How much is too much?

Trazodone dosage: Important information

Your Trazodone dosage should be taken with or shortly after a meal or snack to reduce any dizziness or lightheadedness or to lessen stomach upset. Your Trazodone dosage should always be taken precisely as recommended by your doctor without deviation to gain the maximum benefit of this depression medicine. Some patients have reported that it may take as long as four weeks before you begin to feel better although some report improvement within two weeks.

Trazodone dosage: Specific amounts

Although your dose of Trazodone may be different from other individuals, you need to follow your doctor’s orders or the directions on the label of your medication. The following information includes only the average Trazodone dosages. If your dose is different always follow exactly what your doctor tells you to do.

Adult Trazodone dosage

The usual starting dosage is 50 mg per dose taken three times a day or 75 mg per dose taken two times a day. Your physician may increase the dosage as he or she believes will benefit your condition.

Children’s dosage

For children up to the age of six years old, dosage should be determined by your doctor. For children between the ages of six and 18 years old, your doctor will determine the oral dosage to be taken based upon your body weight.

Trazodone dosage for the elderly

The usual starting dosage is 25 mg per dose taken three times a day. Your doctor may than increase your dosage as needed.

Storage of Trazodone:

Always keep this depression medication out of the reach of children, away from heat and direct sunlight. You should never store this medicine in the bathroom or other damp area or near any type of heat or moisture, which may cause this medication to break down. Also, you should never keep this or any other medication any longer than needed. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.

Missed Trazodone dosage:

If you ever miss your Trazodone dosage you need to take it as soon as possible. However, if it is within four hours of your next dosage you will need to get back on your regular routine schedule. Never take double doses of Trazodone or any other medication for that matter.

Trazodone medication: What are some of the special precautions?

Trazodone medication: Special precautions

The use of Trazodone medication will require regular visits to your doctor to monitor your progress. Your physician will continue to check the effects of your Trazodone medication and adjust the dosage as necessary. You should never quit taking this medication without checking with your doctor first. Frequently the doctor will reduce the amount of this medication gradually before you stop it completely.

Trazodone medication- Other special precautions:

While taking Trazodone medication, always let your doctor or dentist know before having any emergency, dental or medical surgery. Taking this medicine while having surgical or dental treatments may interact negatively with medicines that are used during dental or emergency services and increase the depressant effects on the central nervous system.

Trazodone medication has also been known to cause people to become irritable and agitated, as well as to have suicidal thoughts and tendencies, and to actually become more depressed. If you or your family members notice these effects you should notify your doctor immediately.

This depression medicine will add to the effects of alcohol or other central nervous system depressants, possibly causing drowsiness. Common examples of central nervous system depressants are antihistamines or medicines for allergies, colds, tranquilizers, and sleeping medicines. Other very common central nervous system depressants also include pain medicines or narcotics, medicine for seizures, muscle relaxants, anesthetics and barbiturates.
Trazodone may cause some people to become drowsy or less alert than normal. You should always make sure you know how you will react to this medication before you drive or operate heavy machinery or do anything that may be dangerous if you’re not completely alert. Dizziness, fainting or lightheadedness may occur when you attempt to get up from a lying or sitting position. Many doctors recommend getting up slowly to help with this sensation. If this lightheadedness or dizziness problem continues or gets worse you should talk to your doctor immediately.
Trazodone medication has also been known to cause dryness of the mouth. Sugar, gum, hard candy or small pieces of ice may provide some relief for you. However, if your mouth remains dry for more than two weeks, you should talk to your physician or dentist immediately. A continuing dryness of the mouth may result in dental disease, tooth decay, gum disease or other fungus infections as a result of taking Trazodone medication.

Information adapted from Consumer Reports Consumer Drug Reference

Additional information by Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist

Prozac Medication: The Benefits, Side Effects and Dosages

Prozac Medication: An Overview

Prozac is a medication used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia, and frequently severe symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Prozac is within the drug classification referred to as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s), which is believed to help maintain a elevated level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain which is believed to affect moods. This neurotransmitter is usually quickly reabsorbed after its initial release from neurons in the brain. It is believed that excess serotonin between the neurons is blocked by medications such as Prozac from being taken back up into the releasing neurons resulting in increased levels of serotonin in the brain.

Prozac is most often prescribed to treat depression of the moderate to severe variety which interferes with daily functioning and most often is referred to as major depression. The symptoms of major depression include low mood and low energy, changes in sleeping habits and appetite, decreased sex drive, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, difficulty concentrating, slowed thinking, and suicidal thoughts. However, Prozac can be taken for a variety of other mental health disorders including obsessive-compulsive disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder as well as others. It is most often prescribed for adolescents, adults and the elderly but may occasionally be prescribed for children.

Prozac Medication for Obsessive- Compulsive Disorders:

In addition to being used for the treatment of depression, Prozac is also used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder. Obsessions are thoughts that won’t go away, and compulsions are repetitive behaviors and actions which are done to relieve anxiety often associated with the obsessions. Prozac is used at times to also treat bulimia which is a binge eating disorder which involves deliberate vomiting and has also been used to treat other eating disorders including obesity.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder:

Under the brand name Serafem which includes the active ingredients in Prozac, this depression medication is sometimes prescribed for premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which is often referred to as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) including mood changes such as anxiety, depression, persistent anger, irritability, and mood swings. There are various physical problems associated with PMDD, including bloating, breast tenderness, headache and joint muscle pain. Symptoms usually tend to begin about 1 to 2 weeks before a woman’s premenstrual period. They are frequently severe enough to interfere with a woman’s daily activities, functioning and relationships.

Prozac Medication: Precautions

You should always be open and honest with your doctor when your taking Prozac. Always give a complete medical history, including liver problems, kidney disease, seizures, heart problems, allergies and history of diabetes. This depression medication has been known to make individuals dizzy or drowsy, making it necessary to be cautious when engaging in activities that require alertness such as driving or using heavy machinery. Alcohol should be limited when on this medication. Caution is also advised if you have diabetes, alcohol dependence or liver disease. Also, caution should be taken when this medication is being used by the elderly as they are more sensitive to the effects of the drug. This drug should only be used if necessary if an individual is pregnant as the medication passes into the breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while on this medication is not recommended. Consultation with your physician about the benefits and risks of Prozac used during pregnancy and breast-feeding is imperative. Obviously, you should never share your Prozac with others.

Important Facts About This Depression Medication

It has been noted that there can be some very serious and at times even fatal reactions to occur when Prozac is taken at the same time as some other antidepressants such as the MAO inhibitors. Also, you need to be careful when taking high doses of Prozac over a prolonged period of time. If you are taking any other medications for depression or any other prescription or nonprescription drugs you need to notify your physician before beginning on Prozac.

Prozac Side Effects:

Although the Prozac side effects seem to be less than some of the earlier generation antidepressant medications such as desipramine, amitriptyline and nortriptyline, there are still side effects that you need to be aware of. Some of the more common side effects of Prozac are sweating, dry mouth, drowsiness, headache, insomnia and nausea. Some of the side effects that are less likely but at times even more severe are loss of appetite and unusual weight loss, uncontrollable movements such as tremors, decreased interest in sex, flu-like symptoms, and either unusual or severe mood changes. Even less likely but even more potentially serious Prozac side effects include trouble swallowing, vision changes, white spots and swelling on the mouth and tongue, painful and/or prolonged erection and changes in sexual ability. The most severe side effects associated with Prozac are irregular and fast heartbeat, and fainting. Allergic reactions to Prozac are relatively rare but may include itching, rash, swelling, trouble breathing and dizziness. If you notice any reactions after beginning treatment with Prozac, you need to notify your pharmacist or physician immediately. A more complete listing of Prozac side effects follows.

The Most Common Prozac Side Effects:

Abnormal vision, abnormal ejaculation, abnormal dreams, increased anxiety, reduced sex drive, dry mouth, dizziness, flushing, flulike symptoms, headache, gas, impotence, itching, insomnia, loss of appetite, nervousness, nausea, sinusitis, rash, sleepiness, sweating, sore throat, upset stomach, tremors, yawning, vomiting, weakness

Less Common Prozac Side Effects:

Agitation, abnormal taste, weight gain, sleep disorders, bleeding problems, confusion, chills, weight gain, ringing in the ears, palpitations, loss of memory, increased appetite, high blood pressure, frequent urination, ear pain, emotional instability

There have been other very rare side effects reported while taking Prozac. If you develop any unexplained or new symptoms after initiating treatment with this depression medication you need to contact your physician immediately.

Drug Interactions:

In addition to the Prozac side effects mentioned above, there are also concerns for negative food and drug interactions when taking this antidepressant medication. As mentioned previously, Prozac should never be taken at the same time as you are taking MAO inhibitors. This can cause a very serious medication interaction. Also, when Prozac is taken with other medications the effect may be increased, decreased or altered in other ways. You should always check with your doctor when Prozac is taken with the following medications:

Alprazolam (Xanax)
Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
Clozapine (Clozaril)
Diazepam (Valium)
Digitoxin (Crystodigin)
Drugs that impair brain function, such as sleep aids and narcotic painkillers
Flecainide (Tambocor)
Haloperidol (Haldol)
Lithium (Eskalith)
Other antidepressants (Elavil)
Phenytoin (Dilantin)
Pimozide (Orap)
Vinblastine (Velban)
Warfarin (Coumadin)

Special Warnings if You are Pregnant or Breast-feeding:

Prozac has not been adequately studied for its effects on pregnancy. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant in the near future, you need to talk with your physician as soon as possible to determine whether you should continue taking this depression medication. Prozac is known to appear in breast milk, so breast-feeding is obviously discouraged when taking this drug.

Prozac Dosage:

It is most common for your Prozac dosage to be taken once or twice a day and should be taken exactly as prescribed by your physician. It needs to be taken regularly to be effective. If it is possible, you should take your Prozac dosage at the same time every day.

Some patients have found that it can take as much as four weeks to feel any significant effects and get some relief from their depression. Doctors will also commonly maintain the treatment regimen for about nine months after the first initial three-month treatment trial. Some individuals who experience obsessive-compulsive disorder may not feel the full effects for as much as five weeks.

The Recommended Prozac Dosage:

The most common starting dosage of Prozac is 20 mg daily taken in the morning. Your physician may increase your dose after several weeks if there has been no improvement in symptoms. Elderly people with kidney and liver disease, and any other individual taking other medications may have their dosage adjusted by their doctor.

When taking a dosage of Prozac over 20 mg, the doctor may ask you to take it once a day in the morning or may ask that you to take two smaller doses in the morning and also at noontime.

The usual Prozac dosage for depression ranges between 20 mg and 60 mg. For obsessive-compulsive disorder, the usual dosage of Prozac ranges from 20 mg to 60 mg per day, although at times a maximum of 80 mg may be prescribed. The usual dosage of Prozac for bulimia nervosa is 60 mg taken in the morning. As with other disorders, the doctor may start at a lower dosage and increase to this level over a period of time. The most common Prozac dosage for premenstrual dysphoric disorder is 20 mg per day.

For some individuals who have been treated successfully with the daily form of Prozac, their doctor may switch them to a long acting form sometimes referred to as Prozac weekly. Your physician may ask you to skip your daily doses for seven days and then take your first weekly capsule.

If you miss your dose of Prozac you should take it as soon as you remember. If a significant time has passed however, you should skip that dosage and resume your normal dosage schedule.

Over dosage of Prozac:

Prozac like all medications, needs to be taken as recommended. Dosages more than the recommended amount can be dangerous and even fatal. Also, combining Prozac with certain other medications or drugs may cause symptoms of over dosage. If you suspect an overdose, you need to contact your doctor or go to an emergency room immediately.

The most common symptoms of Prozac over dosage include rapid heartbeat, nausea, seizures, vomiting and sleepiness. Some of the less common symptoms of Prozac over dosage include stupor, sweating, rigid muscles, low blood pressure, mania, coma, delirium, fainting, high fever and irregular heartbeat.

By Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist

Lexapro Medication: Side Effects, Dosages and Indications

Lexapro Medication: Side Effects and Dosages: Overview

Lexapro medication side effects and dosages are absolutely essential to know before you begin taking this antidepressant medication. Lexapro is a medication usually prescribed for major depression which is a low mood that persists for at least several weeks duration, and interferes with daily functioning. Major depression must occur nearly every day for at least two weeks, and must include either (1) low mood or (2) loss of interest in your usual activities and interests, as well as at least five of the following symptoms of depression: significant changes in weight or appetite, changes in your pattern of sleep, lethargy or agitation, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and slowed thinking and thoughts of suicide. If the symptoms of depression persist over a period of several weeks you may have major depressive disorder, which may make Lexapro a good choice for an antidepressant. If that is the case, it is essential to understand Lexapro medication, side effects, dosages, indications and contraindications.

Lexapro is a medication that increases the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a necessary chemical in the brain referred to as a neurotransmitter, which is involved in things such as establishing biological processes associated with sleeping and eating. Lexapro is also a close cousin of Celexa, which is also a medication used to treat depression. There are several medications that focus on increasing the level of serotonin in the brain including Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil.

Lexapro Medication Important Information:

Lexapro is an effective and very popular medication. However, this is a medication in which you could possibly get a very bad reaction if you have been taking some other medications, such as those of the medication classification of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI’s). Some of the MAOI’s include Parnate, Marplan and Nardil. Many psychiatrists recommend that you never take Lexapro within two weeks of having taken these medications. When combined with Lexapro, these medications can cause some very serious and even fatal reactions. These negative symptoms include twitching and agitation, fever, and rigidity, which have been known at times to even lead to delirium and even coma.

Lexapro Medication Side Effects:

Specific Lexapro medication side effects cannot really be anticipated but if any develop or intensify, you should contact your doctor immediately. Only your physician can decide if you should continue taking this medication for depression if you experience any of the following symptoms below.

Some of the more common Lexapro side effects include:

Decreased appetite, sweating, sleepiness, sinusitis, runny nose, nausea, insomnia, indigestion, impotence, flu-like symptoms, fatigue, ejaculation disorder, dry mouth, dizziness, diarrhea, decreased sex drive, constipation

Some of the less common Lexapro side effects may also include:

Yawning, weight changes, vomiting, vertigo, urinary problems, tremors, toothache, tingling, stomachache, sinus headache, sinus congestion, ringing in the ears, rash, palpitations, pain in arms or legs, pain in the shoulder and neck, nasal congestion, muscle pain, migraine, menstrual cramps, lightheadedness, lack of orgasm, lack of energy, lack of concentration, joint pain, irritability, increased appetite, hot flashes, high blood pressure, heartburn, fever, coughing, chest pain, bronchitis, blurred vision, allergic reactions, abnormal dreaming, abdominal pain

In addition to these Lexapro side effects, others have been reported but are very rare. You should always check with your physician if you develop any new or unusual symptoms when taking this depression medication.

Lexapro side effects and additional special warnings:

This medication can make you sleepy. Until you know how you react to this drug, you should use it with caution when driving a car or operating any potentially hazardous machinery or tools. In some rare cases, Lexapro has been known to trigger manic episodes, which are unreasonably high levels of energy, that can become very risky or hazardous to your health. Also, you should let your doctor know if you have had any problems with your kidneys or liver. Your physician may need to adjust your medication accordingly.

Possible drug and food interactions when taking Lexapro:

You should never take Lexapro when taking the similar drug Celexa. Also, as referred above, you should always be careful to avoid any of the MAO inhibitor medications such as Nardil, Parnate and Marplan. Lexapro is not known to interact negatively with alcohol, but the manufacturer recommends avoiding alcoholic beverages while taking this depression medication. If Lexapro is taken with other medications, the combination may increase, decrease or otherwise alter the effects in some way. It is highly recommended that you consult your physician before taking the following medications:

• Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
• Cimetidine (Tagamet)
• Desipramine (Norpramin)
• Other drugs that act upon the brain including antidepressants, sedatives, tranquilizers and painkillers
• Ketaconazole (Nizoral)
• Lithium (Eskalith)
• Metoprolol (Lopressor)
• Narcotic painkillers
• Sumatriptan (Imitrex)

Special information if you happen to be pregnant or breast-feeding:

If you are currently pregnant or plan to become pregnant in the future, you should let your physician know before taking Lexapro. This medication should only be taken if the benefits outweigh the risks. Lexapro appears in breast milk and could possibly affect the nursing infant. In most cases it is not recommended to breast-feed while taking this medication.

Lexapro medication dosage overview:

Your Lexapro medication dosage should be taken exactly as recommended by your physician even if you begin to feel better. The correct dosage of Lexapro should result in feeling better in one to four weeks, although it is recommended that you continue with this medication for at least several months. This medication can be taken with or without food.

If you miss your usual Lexapro medication dosage…

You should take your missed dosage as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dosage however, you should skip the missed dose and resume your regular medication routine. You should never take more than one dose of Lexapro at a time.

Lexapro medication dosage for adults:

The recommended dosage of Lexapro is 10 mg once a day. If necessary, the doctor may increase the dosage to 20 mg after a minimum of one week. The higher dosage will probably not be recommended for senior adults and people who have liver problems.

Lexapro Overdosage:

Taking massive amounts of Lexapro can be fatal. If you suspect a Lexapro overdosage, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Typical symptoms of Lexapro medication overdosage:

Seizures, rapid heartbeat, drowsiness, vomiting, tremors, nausea, sweating, dizziness
There have also been some rare cases of Lexapro overdosage causing memory loss, confusion, breathing problems, muscle wasting, irregular heartbeat

Storage of Lexapro

This medication should be stored at room temperature.

Summary of Lexapro medication side effects and dosages:

Lexapro is a medication with well-known side effects and effective dosages. Always follow your physician’s recommendations and pay attention to the physiological changes in your body as your specific Lexapro medication side effects cannot really be anticipated and dosages may need to be adjusted accordingly.

Some information adapted from the PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs (Sixth Edition) by Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist

See Related Posts:

Zoloft Medication Benefits, Side Effects and Dosage

Zoloft Medication Overview:

Zoloft is easily one of the most popular medications prescribed for major depressive disorder, a persistently low mood which intrudes in a senior’s daily life. Symptoms often include loss of interest in your normal activities, disturbances in sleep, appetite changes, fidgeting and/or lethargic movement, fatigue, guilt or feelings of worthlessness, and problems with thinking and concentrating. Zoloft has also been prescribed for premenstrual dysphoric disorder. This problem is often characterized by low mood, anxiety or tension, emotional instability, and anger or irritability in the two weeks prior to menstruation. Other symptoms may include loss of interest in normal activities, difficulty concentrating, lack of energy, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, and feeling out of control.

Zoloft is also effective in treating obsessive-compulsive disorder, which includes symptoms of unwanted thoughts that won’t go away (obsessions) and an irresistible urge to repeat certain actions, such as counting and hand washing (compulsions). Zoloft may also be prescribed for the treatment of panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Zoloft is actually an antidepressant and is referred to as a selective serotonin uptake inhibitor. The neurotransmitter serotonin is believed to regulate mood. Usually, serotonin is reabsorbed after its release back into the releasing neuron (nerve cell). Zoloft, as well as other similar medications block the process of “reuptake”, allowing an increase in serotonin to be absorbed by the receiving neurons.

Important Precautions:

It is usually recommended that you don’t take Zoloft within two weeks of taking any medication classified as an MAO inhibitor. Marplan, Nardil and Parnate are drugs within this medication category. When serotonin boosters such as Zoloft are combined with these medications, serious and sometimes fatal reactions have occurred. Also, this drug should be avoided if it causes any allergic reaction.

Special precautions should be taken if you have liver disorder or have had seizures. Zoloft should always be taken under the close supervision of a doctor, and especially when you have the above conditions.
This drug has not usually been found to effect the operation of automobiles or other machinery. However, as with all medications, you should find out how you are effected by Zoloft before you attempt these operations. Also, if you have a sensitivity to latex, you may want to use precaution when you handle the dropper provided with the oral concentrate.

Zoloft: Benefits and Information:

How is Zoloft taken and what should I expect?

This drug should be taken exactly as prescribed, which most often means once a day, either in the morning or the evening.

Zoloft is available in both capsule or oral concentrate forms. You should use the dropper provided when taking the Zoloft oral concentrate. Measure out the amount of concentrate prescribed by your physician and then mix it with 4 oz. of water, ginger ale, lemon/lime soda, lemonade, or orange juice. (You should not mix the concentrate with any other type of beverage.) You should drink the mixture immediately and not save it for later use. A slight haze has been noticed at times after mixing, but is not a problem.

It usually takes several days to a few weeks to see some improvement from Zoloft. Most doctors recommend that you take it for a minimum of at least several months. It has been found to make your mouth dry at times. Many people have found that sucking on hard candy, chewing gum, or chewing on ice may provide some temporary relief.

What If I miss a dose of Zoloft?

You should take the missed dose as soon as you remember unless several hours have passed, at which time you should just skip that dose and try to get back into the usual dosing routine as soon as possible. You should never double up on your dose of Zoloft.

Zoloft storage instructions…

You should always store Zoloft at room temperature.

Zoloft – Possible food and drug interactions:

It is recommended that you not drink alcohol when taking this drug. Also, the use of over-the-counter medications should be used with caution. Although none of these over-the-counter remedies have been found to cause a negative interaction with Zoloft, interactions always remain a possibility.

If Zoloft is taken with other medications, the effects may be increased, decreased or otherwise altered. It is especially important for you to check with your doctor when combining Zoloft with any of the following:

• Cimetidine(Tagamet)
• Diazepam (Valium)
• Digitoxin (Crystodigin)
• Flecaimide (Tambocor)
• Lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid)
• MAO inhibitor drugs such as the antidepressants Nardil and Parnate
• Other serotonin-boosting drugs such as Paxil and Prozac
• Other antidepressants such as Elavil and Serzone
• Over-the-counter drugs such as cold remedies
• Propafenone (Rythmol)
• Sumatriptan (Imitrex)
• Tolbutamide (Orinase)
• Warfarin (Coumadin)

If you are using the oral concentrate form of Zoloft, do not take the medicine disulfiram (Antabuse).

If you are pregnant or breast-feeding:

Zoloft has not been adequately tested during pregnancy. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant in the near future, consult your doctor immediately. Zoloft should only be taken during pregnancy when you are extremely depressed and the benefits significantly outweigh the risks. It’s not presently known whether Zoloft appears in breast milk and caution is advised when using this medication during breast-feeding.

Zoloft Side Effects

Zoloft Side Effects: What do I need to know?

Zoloft side effects cannot really be anticipated but, if any develop or change in intensity, you should notify your doctor immediately. Only your physician will be able to tell you whether you should continue taking this medication.

Some of the more common Zoloft side effects may include:

Abdominal pain, agitation, anxiety, constipation, decreased sex drive, diarrhea or loose stools, difficulty with ejaculation, dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue, gas, headache, and decreased appetite are some of the more common Zoloft side effects. And, they also may include increased sweating, indigestion, insomnia, nausea, nervousness, rash, pain, sleepiness, sore throat, tingling or pins and needles, tremor, vision problems and vomiting.

Less common and much rarer Zoloft side effects may include:

Acne, allergic reaction, altered taste, back pain, blindness, breast development in males, breast pain or enlargement, breathing difficulties, bruise-like marks on the skin, cataracts, changeable emotions, chest pain, cold, clammy skin, conjunctivitis (pinkeye), coughing, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, double vision, dry eyes, eye pain, fainting, feeling faint upon arising from a sitting or lying position, feeling of illness, female and male sexual problems, and fluid retention. Other less common Zoloft side effects may include blushing, frequent urination, hair loss, heart attack, hemorrhoids, hiccups, high blood pressure, high pressure within the eye (glaucoma), hearing problems, hot flushes, impotence, inability to stay seated, increased appetite, increased salivation, increased sex drive, inflamed nasal passages, inflammation of the penis, intolerance to light, irregular heartbeat, itching, joint pains, kidney failure, lack of coordination, lack of sensation, leg cramps, menstrual problems, low blood pressure, migraine, movement problems, muscle cramps or weakness, need to urinate during the night, nosebleed, pain upon urination, prolonged erection, purplish spots on the skin, racing heartbeat, rectal hemorrhage, respiratory infection/lung problems, ringing in the ears, rolling eyes, sensitivity to light, sinus inflammation, skin eruptions or inflammation, sleepwalking, sore on tongue, speech problems, stomach and intestinal inflammation, swelling of the face and throat, swollen wrist and ankles, thirst, throbbing heartbeat, twitching, vaginal inflammation, hemorrhage or discharge, and yawning.

Zoloft side effects may also include mental symptoms such as:

Abnormal dreams or thoughts, aggressiveness, exaggerated feeling of well-being, depersonalization (unreal feeling), hallucinations, impaired concentration, memory loss, paranoia, rapid mood shifts, thoughts of harming yourself, tooth grinding, and worsening depression.

It may also include the loss of several pounds for some people taking this medication. This usually doesn’t pose much of a problem, but could be a concern if your depression has already caused significant weight loss.
In a few people, Zoloft side effects may also trigger manic or hypomanic episodes which include sensations of high energy, lack of need for sleep, grandiose thoughts and feelings and generally inappropriate and out-of-control behavior.

Zoloft Dosage: What is the right amount?

General Zoloft Dosage Information


Zoloft dosage for Depressive or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
The usual starting Zoloft dosage is 50 mg once a day, taken either in the morning or in the evening. Your doctor may increase the amount depending upon your response to the medication. The maximum Zoloft dosage is 200 mg in one day.

Zoloft dosage for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Zoloft may be prescribed throughout the menstrual cycle or limited to the two weeks preceding menstruation. The starting Zoloft dosage is 50 mg a day. If this is insufficient the doctor may increase the amount in 50 mg steps at the start of each menstrual cycle up to the maximum of 100 milligrams per day in the 2-week regimen, or 150 mg per day in the full-cycle regimen.(During the first three days of the two-week regimen, doses are always limited to 50 mg).

Zoloft dosage for Panic Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The most common Zoloft dosage during the first week is 25 mg once a day. After that, the dose may be increased to 50 mg once a day. Depending upon your response, your doctor may continue to increase your Zoloft dosage up to a maximum of 200 mg a day.


Zoloft dosage for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

The initial Zoloft dosage for children aged 6 to 12 is 25 mg, and for adolescents aged 13 to 17, is 50 mg per day. Your physician should adjust the dose as needed. The safety and effectiveness have not been established for children under the age of six.

Zoloft Overdosage

Many medications taken in excess of the recommended dosage can have serious consequences. An overdose of Zoloft can possibly be fatal. If you suspect an overdose seek medical attention immediately.

Common symptoms of Zoloft overdose include:

Agitation, dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, sleepiness, tremor, and vomiting
Other less common symptoms include coma, stupor, fainting, convulsions, delirium, hallucinations, mania, high or low blood pressure, and slow, rapid, or irregular heartbeat.

Information adapted from the The PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs – Sixth Edition By Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist

See Related Posts:

Paxil (Paroxetine): The ultimate depression medication?

Generic name: Paroxetine

Paxil is a depression medication used to treat major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder (sometimes referred to as social phobia) premenstrual disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. This depression medication belongs to a group of medicines referred to as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s). These medicines are believed to work by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain.

Paxil is available only with your doctor’s prescription in the following dosage forms:

• Extended-release tablets (U.S.)
• Oral suspension (U.S.)
• Tablets (U.S. and Canada)

Paxil: Important information about this depression medication

Before deciding to use this depression medication, the risk of taking this drug must be weighed against the good it could possibly do. This is a decision you and your physician will need to make. For Paxil, the following should be considered:

Allergies– Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reactions to Paxil or similar depression medications. Also, you should tell your health care professional if you’re allergic to any other substances including foods, preservatives or dyes.

Pregnancy– Paxil has not been well studied in pregnant women. It should only be used during pregnancy if the potential benefits significantly outweigh the potential risks to the baby. Before taking this depression medication make sure your doctor knows if you’re pregnant (especially at if it is in the third trimester) or if you may become pregnant.

Breast-feeding– Paxil passes into the breast milk. However, the effects of this medicine in nursing babies has not been established. Caution should be used if you’re breast-feeding.

Children– This depression medication should be used with caution in children who are experiencing depression. Studies have shown occurrences of children thinking about suicide or attempting suicide in clinical trials of this drug. More studies need to be done to be sure that Paxil is safe and effective in children.

Older adults – In studies including older people, Paxil has not caused any different side effects or problems in older adults than it did in younger people. However, Paxil may be removed from the body much more slowly in elderly people. An older adult may need a lower dose than younger individuals.

Other medicines -When you’re taking Paxil or similar depression medications, you should be very concerned about mixing this medication with others. You should always tell your doctor about any medications taken before you consider taking Paxil.

Paxil: Proper use of this antidepressant

You should take Paxil and similar antidepressants only as prescribed by your doctor to benefit your condition as much as possible. You should not take more of it, more often or take it for a longer period of time than your doctor has ordered. Paxil may be taken with or without food or on a full or empty stomach. However, if your doctor tells you to take this antidepressant in a certain way you should take it exactly as directed.

You may have to take Paxil for several weeks before you begin to feel better. Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits during this time to determine if this antidepressant is working effectively. Also, if you’re taking Paxil for depression, you’ll probably need to continue taking it for at least six months to help prevent the depression from returning. If you’re taking the oral suspension form of Paxil, you should shake the bottle well before measuring each dose. Use a small measuring cup or measuring spoon to measure each dose. The teaspoons and tablespoons that are used for serving and eating food do not usually measure exact amounts.

If you’re taking the extended release tablet form of this antidepressant, you should swallow the tablet whole. Do not crush, break or chew before swallowing Paxil.

Storage-How do you store this antidepressant?

You should keep Paxil out of the reach of children. You should store it away from the heat and direct light. Do not store the tablet form of this antidepressant in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down. Keep the oral suspension form of this depression medicine from freezing. You should not keep outdated medicine or medicine which is no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded Paxil is out of the reach of children.

Paxil side effects:

Paxil side effects cannot be anticipated but may arise while on this antidepressant medication. Some rare but serious unwanted Paxil side effects may occur with the use of this antidepressant and have been referred to as the serotonin syndrome. This syndrome (or group of symptoms) is more likely to occur shortly after the dose of Paxil has been increased. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur, you need to contact your doctor immediately. Check with your physician as soon as possible if any of the following Paxil side effects occur:

Less common Paxil side effects:

Agitation; chest congestion; chest pain; chills; cold sweats; confusion; difficulty breathing; dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying down or sitting position; fast, pounding, irregular heartbeat or pulse; muscle pain or weakness; skin rash

Rare Paxil side effects:

Absence of or decrease in body movements; bigger, dilated, or enlarged pupils (black part of the eye); difficulty in speaking; inability to move eyes; incomplete, sudden, or unusual body or facial movements; increased sensitivity of eyes to light; low blood sodium (confusion, convulsions, drowsiness, dryness of mouth, increased thirst, lack of energy); red or purple patches on skin; serotonin syndrome (confusion, diarrhea, fever, poor coordination, restlessness, shivering, sweating, talking and acting with excitement you cannot control, trembling or shaking, twitching); talking, feeling, and acting with excitement and activity you cannot control

Other Paxil side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to this antidepressant. However, you should check with your doctor if the following side effects continue or are bothersome.

More common Paxil side effects:

Acid or sour stomach; belching; decreased appetite; decreased sexual ability or desire ; excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines; heartburn; nervousness; pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones; passing gas; problems in urinating; running or stuffy nose; sexual problems, especially ejaculatory disturbances; sleepiness or unusual drowsiness; stomach discomfort, upset, or pain; sweating; trauma; trembling or shaking; trouble in sleeping

After you stop taking this antidepressant medicine, your body may need time to adjust. The length of time this takes depends upon the amount of the medicine you are using and how long you have been using it. You should check with your doctor immediately if you notice any of the previously mentioned Paxil side effects.

Medical problems and Paxil:

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of Paxil. Make sure to tell your doctor if you have any of the following medical problems, especially:

• Bipolar disorder (mood disorder with alternating episodes between mania and depression) or risk of – may make the condition worse. Your doctor should check you for this condition.
• Brain disease or damage
• Mental retardation
• Epilepsy or seizures (or history of) – The risk of seizures may be increased with Paxil.
• Glaucoma, narrow angle – Patients with this condition should use Paxil and similar antidepressants with caution.
• Heart disease
• Heart attack, recent – Use must be determined by your doctor.
• Kidney disease, severe
• Liver disease, severe – Higher blood levels of Paxil may occur, increasing the chance of side effects
• Mania (history of) – The condition may be activated by Paxil.

Some Information from The PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs Additional information by Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist (Health and Geriatric Psychologist)

See Related Posts:

Effexor Dosage and Use: What is it for?

Effexor: Why is it prescribed?

Effexor is usually prescribed for the treatment of depression. This antidepressant is most frequently prescribed for the type of depression that interferes with an individual’s daily functioning. These symptoms frequently include such things as changes in appetite, sleep habits, coordination, decreased sex drive, increased fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, difficulty concentrating, slow thinking and suicidal thoughts.

Effexor can also be prescribed to relieve high levels of anxiety (generalized anxiety disorder). This disorder is often indicated by persistent feelings of anxiety for a period of at least six months, accompanied by at least three of the following six symptoms: restlessness, fatigue, poor concentration, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbances.

This medication must be taken two to three times per day. The extended-release form, Effexor XR, permits dosing once a day.

What are some really important facts about this medication?

The use of Effexor can result in a fatal reaction when used in combination with other medications known as MAO inhibitors, including the antidepressants Nardil and Parnate. You should never take Effexor with one of these drugs, and never begin therapy with Effexor within 14 days of discontinuing treatment with these medications. Always allow a minimum of seven days between your last dose of Effexor and the first dose of an MAO inhibitor.

Effexor: How should it be taken?

You should always take this medicine with food, exactly as prescribed. It most often takes several weeks for this drug to take effect and for you to actually start feeling better. Your physician should check on your progress periodically.

Effexor XR is taken once per day at the same time each day. Swallow the capsule whole with water. You should not divide, crush or chew it.
If you miss a dose.

It is not necessary to make up for a missed dose. You should skip the missed dose and continue with your next scheduled dose. Never take two doses at once.

How do you store Effexor?

Effexor should be stored in a tightly closed container at room temperature. Also, this medication should be protected from excessive heat and moisture.

Effexor dosage: What is the recommended amount?

The initial starting Effexor dosage is most often 75 mg a day, divided into 2 or 3 smaller doses, usually taken with food. If necessary, your physician may increase your daily Effexor dosage gradually in steps of no more than 75 mg at a time, up to maximum of 375 mg per day. If you have liver or kidney disease or are taking other drugs, your doctor may adjust your Effexor dosage accordingly.

Effexor dosage (Effexor XR):

When Effexor is used for either depression or anxiety, the starting dosage is usually 75 mg once a day. Doctors will ask some people, however, to begin with a dosage of 37.5 mg for the first 4 to 7 days. Your physician may increase your dosage of Effexor in steps of 75 mg at a time, up to maximum of 225 mg a day. As with the regular Effexor, the doctor may make adjustments in your Effexor dosage if you have liver or kidney disease.

Effexor overdosage:

Effexor overdosage most often occurs when combined with other medications or alcohol and can sometimes be fatal. If you suspect an overdose, you should seek medical attention immediately.

The symptoms of an Effexor overdosage include:

Sleepiness, vertigo, rapid or slow heartbeat, low blood pressure, seizures, coma

Information inspired by The PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs – Sixth Edition

By Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist

See Related Posts:

Effexor Side Effects and Special Warnings

What Effexor side effects can occur?

Effexor side effects frequently cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity however, you should probably contact your doctor immediately. Your physician is the only one who can really determine the safety of continuing this antidepressant in spite of the sometimes troubling side effects.

The more common side effects of Effexor include:

Abnormal dreams, abnormal ejaculation or orgasms, anxiety, appetite loss, blurred vision, chills, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, frequent urination, flushing, gas, headache, impotence, infection, insomnia, muscle tension, nausea, nervousness, rash, sleepiness, sweating, tingling feeling, tremor, upset stomach, vomiting, weakness and yawning

Some of the less common Effexor side effects include:

Abnormal taste, abnormal thinking, agitation, chest pain, confusion, decreased sex drive, depression, dilated pupils, dizziness upon standing up, high blood pressure, itching, loss of identity, rapid heartbeat, ringing in the ears, trauma, twitching, urinary problems, weight loss

Occasionally there have also been a variety of somewhat rarer Effexor side effects that have been reported. If you notice any new or usual side effect symptoms, let your physician know immediately.

When should this medication not be prescribed?

There have been some serious side effects associated with the use of Effexor when taking this medication with other drugs such as the MAO inhibitors. At times the reaction has been noted to be fatal. You should avoid this drug if it has ever given you an allergic reaction or you notice any other troubling side effect.

What are some of the special warnings when using this depression medication?

Effexor special warnings:

Effexor should be prescribed with caution by your doctor if you have high blood pressure, heart, liver, or kidney disease or a history of seizures or mania (extreme excitability or agitation). You should discuss all medical conditions that seem relevant with your doctor before taking Effexor.

This medication may cause an increase in blood pressure. If this happens you should contact your physician immediately to reduce the dose or consider discontinuing this antidepressant medication. Effexor may also increase your heart rate (especially when taken at higher doses). You should use this medication with caution if you have had a heart attack recently, have suffered from heart failure, or have an overactive thyroid gland. Antidepressants such as Effexor may cause fluid retention, which is especially a concern if you’re an elderly adult. It may also cause you to feel drowsy or less alert, and can affect your judgment. Therefore, you should avoid driving and operating dangerous machinery or participating in other hazardous activities that require you to be completely alert until you know exactly how this drug effects you.

Your physician should examine you regularly if you have glaucoma (high pressure in the eye), or if you are at a relatively high risk of developing this condition. If you ever had any problems of addiction to drugs you should inform your doctor prior to starting this medication. If you develop hives or a skin rash while taking Effexor, notify your physician immediately. Also, Effexor has been known to cause bleeding or bruising of the skin.

You should not stop this depression medication without consulting your doctor. If you do stop suddenly, you may have withdrawal symptoms, although this medication does not usually seem to be habit-forming. Your physician should taper you off this drug gradually rather than stopping it suddenly.

Unfortunately, the safety and effectiveness of Effexor has not been established in children under the age of 18.

Should Effexor be taken if you are pregnant or breastfeeding?

The effects of Effexor during pregnancy have not studied adequately. If you are currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you should notify your physician prior to starting this antidepressant medication. You should only take Effexor during pregnancy if it is absolutely necessary.

If Effexor is taken prior to the delivery of a baby it may possibly suffer from withdrawal symptoms. It has also been found that in breast milk and may cause serious side effects when nursing an infant. You may have to choose between nursing your baby and/or continuing your treatment with this medication.

Information inspired by The PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs – Sixth Edition

By Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist

See Related Posts: