Sertraline is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) used to treat depression, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder (social phobia), and a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD). This medication works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural chemicals in the brain.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (a chemical messenger) produced by nerve cells in the brain that is used by the nerves to communicate with one another. A nerve releases the serotonin it produces into the space surrounding it. The serotonin either travels across the space and attaches to receptors on the surface of nearby nerves or it attaches to receptors on the surface of the nerve that produced it, to be taken up by the nerve and released again (a process referred to as re-uptake). A balance is reached for serotonin between attachment to the nearby nerves and reuptake. Selective serotonin inhibitors block the reuptake of serotonin and therefore change the level of serotonin in the brain.
It is believed that some illnesses such as depression are caused by disturbances in the balance between serotonin and other neurotransmitters. The leading theory is that drugs such as sertraline restore the chemical balance among neurotransmitters in the brain. The FDA approved sertraline in December 1991.
Directions for use:
Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from the medication.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. It is important to continue taking this medication as prescribed even if you feel well. It may take up to 4 weeks before the full benefit of this drug takes effect. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. You may have unpleasant side effects if you stop taking this medication suddenly.
The recommended dose of sertraline is 25-150 mg once daily. Treatment of depression, OCD, panic disorder, PTSD, and social anxiety disorder is initiated at 25-50 mg once daily. Doses are increased at weekly intervals until the desired response is seen. The recommended dose for PMDD is 50-150 mg every day of the menstrual cycle or for 14 days before menstruation.
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up. Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have taken too much of this medication. Symptoms of a sertraline overdose may include dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, agitation, tremor, confusion, seizures, and coma.
Zoloft belongs to a group of anti depressants.
Zoloft Safety Info
You may have an increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior at the start of treatment with an antidepressant medication, especially if you are under 18 years old. While you are taking sertraline you will need to be monitored for worsening symptoms of depression and/or suicidal thoughts during the first weeks of treatment, or whenever your dose is changed.
Before taking this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver or kidney disease, seizures or epilepsy, heart disease, thyroid disease, bipolar disorder (manic depression), or a history of drug abuse or suicidal thoughts. If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use sertraline, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment. Consult with your doctor if you are allergic to sertraline, or if you have any other allergies.
Sertraline has the potential to interact with a variety of medications. Certain medications taken with this product could result in serious, even fatal, drug interactions. Tell your doctor about all medications you are already taking and ask about the safe use of those products. Do not use sertraline if you are using pimozide (Orap), or an MAO inhibitor. Serious and sometimes fatal reactions can occur when these medicines are taken with sertraline. You must wait at least 14 days after stopping an MAO inhibitor before you can take sertraline.
This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Use of sertraline during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy may lead to adverse effects in the newborn. Do not use this medication without consulting with your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly and children because they may be more sensitive to the side effects of the drug (in children especially loss of appetite and weight loss).
Sertraline can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert. Avoid using other medicines that make you sleepy. They can add to sleepiness caused by sertraline.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, trouble breathing. Contact your doctor promptly about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Medical attention is needed if you notice: mood changes, panic attacks, anxiety, seizures, fast/irregular heartbeat, uncontrollable shaking (tremor), painful or prolonged erection.
Less serious side effects are more likely to occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Zoloft Side Effects
- trouble sleeping, drowsiness
- dizziness, headache
- dry mouth
- changes in appetite or weight