Zoloft belongs to a group of medicines known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It works by increasing the activity of a chemical called serotonin in the brain. This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although these uses are not included in product labeling, sertraline is used in certain patients with the following medical conditions:
This product is available in the following dosage forms:
2 What to Know Before Using
Before using Zoloft, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. This is a decision you and your doctor will make.
For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Allergies: Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Pediatric Population: Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of sertraline in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of sertraline for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder in children. However, safety and efficacy have not been established in children younger than 6 years of age.
Geriatric Population: Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of sertraline in the elderly. However, elderly patients may be more sensitive to the effects of this medicine than younger adults, and are more likely to have hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood), which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving sertraline.
Pregnancy: All Trimesters: Category C: Animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.
Breastfeeding: Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.
Drug Interactions: Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose or other precautions may be necessary.
When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Other Interactions: Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur.
The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following may cause an increased risk of certain side effects but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use this medicine or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other Medical Problems: The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine.
Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
To use Zoloft properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor, to benefit your condition as much as possible. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered.
This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. It is very important that you read and understand this information. Be sure to ask your doctor about anything you do not understand. The tablets may be taken with or without food.
If you are taking the oral liquid, use the dropper provided to measure your dose and mix it with 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of water, ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, lemonade, or orange juice. Do not mix this medicine with any other liquid. Drink it right away after mixing. Do not mix the medicine with the liquid until you are ready to take your dose. It is okay if the mixture looks hazy.
You may have to take this medicine for several months before you begin to feel better.
Dosing: The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
For oral dosage forms (solution or tablets):
Adults—At first, 50 milligrams (mg) once a day, taken either in the morning or evening. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 200 mg per day.
Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
Adults and teenagers—At first, 50 milligrams (mg) once a day, taken either in the morning or evening. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 200 mg per day.
Children 6 to 12 years of age—At first, 25 mg once a day, taken either in the morning or evening. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 200 mg per day.
Children younger than 6 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
Adults—At first, 25 milligrams (mg) once a day, taken either in the morning or evening. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 200 mg per day.
Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
For premenstrual dysphoric disorder:
Adults—At first, 50 milligrams (mg) once a day throughout your menstrual cycle or just during the premenstrual time. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 150 mg per day throughout your menstrual cycle or 100 mg per day if you are only taking it during your premenstrual time.
Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
Missed Dose: If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Storage: Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children. Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
4 Precautions to Take
Before using Zoloft, there are some precautions you must take. It is very important that your doctor checks your or your child's progress at regular visits. This is to allow for changes in your dose and to help reduce any side effects.
Do not take sertraline with a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor (eg, isocarboxazid [Marplan®], phenelzine [Nardil®], selegiline [Eldepryl®], tranylcypromine [Parnate®]). Do not start taking sertraline during the 2 weeks after you stop a MAO inhibitor and wait 2 weeks after stopping sertraline before you start taking a MAO inhibitor.
If you take them together or do not wait 2 weeks, you may develop confusion, agitation, restlessness, stomach or intestinal symptoms, a sudden high body temperature, an extremely high blood pressure, or severe convulsions.
Do not use pimozide (Orap®) while you are taking this medicine. Do not use the oral liquid form of sertraline if you are also using disulfiram (Antabuse®). Using these medicines together can cause serious problems.
Sertraline may cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome if taken together with some medicines. Do not use sertraline with buspirone (Buspar®), fentanyl (Abstral®, Duragesic®), linezolid (Zyvox®), lithium (Eskalith®, Lithobid®), methylene blue injection, tryptophan, St. John's wort, or some pain or migraine medicines (eg, rizatriptan, sumatriptan, tramadol, Frova®, Imitrex®, Maxalt®, Relpax®, Ultram®, Zomig®).
Check with your doctor first before taking any other medicines with sertraline. For some children, teenagers, and young adults, this medicine can increase thoughts of suicide. Tell your doctor right away if you or your child start to feel more depressed and have thoughts about hurting yourselves.
Report any unusual thoughts or behaviors that trouble you or your child, especially if they are new or get worse quickly. Make sure the doctor knows if you or your child have trouble sleeping, get upset easily, have a big increase in energy, or start to act recklessly.
Also tell the doctor if you or your child have sudden or strong feelings, such as feeling nervous, angry, restless, violent, or scared. Let the doctor know if you, your child, or anyone in your family has bipolar disorder (manic-depressive) or has tried to commit suicide.
Sertraline may increase your risk for bleeding problems. Make sure your doctor knows if you or your child are also using other medicines that thin the blood, such as aspirin, NSAID pain or arthritis medicines (eg, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, Advil®, Aleve®, Celebrex®, Voltaren®), or warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®).
This medicine may cause hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood). This is more common in elderly patients, those who are taking diuretic medicines for high blood pressure, or those who have decreased amounts of fluid in the body due to severe diarrhea or vomiting.
Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, confusion, weakness, or unsteadiness.
This medicine may affect blood sugar levels. If you are diabetic and notice a change in the results of your blood or urine sugar tests, talk with your doctor. The use of alcohol is not recommended in patients who are taking sertraline.
This medicine may cause some people to become drowsy, to have trouble thinking, or to have problems with movement. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert or well-coordinated.
The dropper dispenser for the oral liquid contains dry natural rubber (a derivative of latex). This may cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to latex. Tell your doctor if you or your child have a latex allergy before you start using this medicine.
Do not stop taking this medicine without checking first with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are taking before stopping it completely.
This is to decrease the chance of having side effects such as agitation, anxiety, dizziness, a feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings, headache, increased sweating, nausea, trembling or shaking, trouble with sleeping or walking, or unusual tiredness when you stop the medicine.
Before you have any medical tests, tell the medical doctor in charge that you or your child are taking this medicine. The results of some tests may be affected by this medicine.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
5 Potential Side Effects
As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Zoloft. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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