Zoloft is the brand name given to an antidepressant drug. This drug is also known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor and is used to treat depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and anxiety disorders, amongst other conditions. The chemical name of the drug is sertraline hyrdrochloride and it was first manufactured by Pfizer in 1991. The drug works by inhibiting certain chemicals in the brain, which are responsible for causing panic disorders and other such conditions.
Conditions Treated by Zoloft
Zoloft is primarily prescribed to patients who suffer from depression, panic disorders, OCD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and anxiety disorders. It is an extremely popular antidepressant drug that is frequently prescribed in the United States.
Zoloft Dosage Information
a.) Typical Dosage Recommendations
You must follow the instructions given in the prescription from your doctor. Make sure that you take only the exact amount prescribed and nothing more. You should only take this drug for as long as your doctor has prescribed. While you do not need to necessarily consume food before taking the drug you should always take it with a glass of water or another liquid from the list given below. It is a good idea to consume the medicine at the same time everyday so that your body gets used to it.
If you are using the liquid form of the medicine then make sure that you dilute the liquid correctly. Use the calibrated dropper that comes with the medicine and not a regular teaspoon so that you can be sure of getting the right dose. You should mix the dose with around four ounces, or half a cup, of water, lemonade or orange juice before consuming it. Don’t mix the medicine with any other liquid. After drinking the dose fill the glass with water, swirl it around and drink it immediately so you get every bit of medicine.
Remember to store Zoloft in a cool and dry location so that it does not get spoilt.
b.) Missing a Dose
If you have forgotten to take a dose then you can make up for it by taking a pill when you remember. However, if it is already almost time for your next dose then avoid taking another one. Doing so can lead to an overdose which can cause serious health problems.
If you think you have taken an overdose of Zoloft then you should immediately rush to the hospital. Look out for symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, tremors, seizures, confusion or vomiting, as these may be signs of an overdose.
Before you can safely take Zoloft you need to tell your doctor if you are using a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAIO) or a pimozide. These drugs can cause serious problems if mixed with Zoloft. You should stop using MAIO medication and only begin using Zoloft after fourteen days. Similarly, once you stop using Zoloft you will have to wait fourteen days before starting MAIO medication again.
Many people experience suicidal feelings when they first take Zoloft. This is especially common if the patient is below the age of twenty four. Make sure you attend all scheduled appointments with your doctor so that he can keep a watch over your mood and condition.
Zoloft is considered to be under the FDA pregnancy category C which means it can cause serious harm to a developing or newborn baby. Zoloft can cause dangerous lung disorders in the fetus so it is important to tell your doctor if you are pregnant before being prescribed the drug. If you become pregnant during the course of the prescription then talk to your doctor before you stop using the medicine. Suddenly stopping can cause further depression so make sure to meet your doctor before you do anything.
Before you take Zoloft you must tell your doctor if you suffer from liver disease or kidney disease or if you have a history of seizures or epilepsy. Moreover, if you suffer from bipolar disorder or if you have previously had a drug addiction or suicidal thoughts then you will need to inform your doctor. These conditions require specific dose adjustments to ensure that you can take the drug safely.
Zoloft Side Effects
If you notice any of the following symptoms you should get medical help immediately as they are signs of an allergic reaction:
- Swelling of lips, face, throat or tongue
- Difficulty in breathing
- Rashes on skin
Common side effects of Zoloft include:
- Differences in weight and appetite
- Nausea, stomach ache or constipation
- Dizziness or drowsiness
If you experience any of the following serious side effects then you should quickly get emergency medical assistance:
- difficulty in breathing
- Rigid muscles
- high fever
- diarrhea and vomiting
You should call your doctor immediately if you notice your symptoms worsening. If you think about suicide or harming yourself or if you feel irritable, agitated or more depressed then you should contact your doctor quickly so that he can alter your dose.
Possible Drug Interactions with Zoloft
Zoloft can interact with many other drugs so it is important to give your doctor a full record of your medical history, including past conditions of:
- liver or kidney disease
- drug abuse
- suicidal tendencies