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