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Zoloft (sertraline) is an antidepressant medication used to treat depression, various anxiety disorders, and, less commonly, to treat premature ejaculation.
The medication belongs to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of drugs, and is one of the more widely-used antidepressants available. It is generally considered suitable for patients ages 13 and up; in patients age 12 or younger Zoloft is typically only used in cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Taking Back Control with Zoloft
Zoloft is most commonly used in tablet form, though an oral concentrate is available for patients who have difficulty swallowing pills. Tablets may be split if desired to produce smaller doses. The medication may be taken with or without food, but taking with a full glass of water is recommended.
The medication is commonly used in a range of disorders:
While there may be some variation in dosage due to individual factors, such as weight, age, and other medical considerations, for the most part treatment is surprisingly similar in all conditions:
The exceptions to the above treatment guidelines are in very young patients, and sometimes when the medication is used to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder and premature ejaculation:
Note that while higher doses may be taken long-term, treatment should not start with high doses; if taking Zoloft short-term or as-needed, do not exceed 50 mg per day.
Minor effects may be noticeable hours after taking a table, but it usually takes at least a week of treatment for improvements to be clearly noticeable. It may take several weeks for full benefits to be felt. Like other antidepressants, Zoloft improves mood while reducing feelings of anxiety. Some patients experience a mild euphoria, but this side effects tends to disappear as treatment continues and the body adapts to the medication.
About half of SSRI users experience at least one side effect. Fortunately most are transient and not cause for concern unless severe enough to be disruptive, including:
If insomnia occurs, taking doses in the morning may help. Taking tablets on a full stomach may reduce gastrointestinal side effects.
Certain sexual side effects, though rare, are experienced with all SSRIs, including Zoloft:
Sexual side effects may disappear as the body adjusts to treatment. Dosage adjustments may also help. If the symptoms persist, other medications may be administered to counter the effects, such as sildenafil. Alternatively, a different antidepressant may be tried; for example bupropion is unlikely to produce sexual side effects.
Children and young adults are more likely to experience mood-related side effects, including mood swings, agitation, aggressive behavior, and increased depression. Younger patients should be monitored for, or be alert for, behavioral or mood changes.
Zoloft should not be used by pregnant women, particularly in the third trimester. Effects on nursing infants are unknown.
No current Rx required
Medicines have benefits and some have risks. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist or you have side effects see your health professional.