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What is this medication?

Zoloft, Sertraline
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor; Antidepressant

Sertraline/Zoloft is officially indicated for use in major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and social anxiety disorder.  It is also prescribed off-label for binge eating disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, bulimia nervosa, generalized anxiety disorder, and to treat premature ejaculation.

How does this medication work?

Zoloft/Sertraline enhances serotonergic neurotransmission by selectively inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin.  The antidepressant response is likely not due entirely to this effect; subsequent down-regulation of post-synaptic serotonin-2 (5HT2) receptors and restoration of normal neurotransmitter function may play an important role.  Zoloft/Sertraline exhibits only weak affinity for alpha, beta, histaminic, muscarinic and serotonin receptors as well as has weak anticholinergic effects.

How should I take this medication?

Premature ejaculation (off-label use): Initial dose is 50mg daily, can increase the dose based on response and tolerability at intervals of 3 to 4 weeks in 50mg increments up to a maximum daily dose of 200mg once daily. 

How to Take Sertraline, Zoloft: Swallow the capsules whole, do not chew it.  Should be taken with food as this medication can cause stomach upset.  If you feel drowsy after taking the medication in the morning, reschedule your medication time and take it in the evening.

How to Manage Common Side Effects of Sertraline, Zoloft: Majority of side effects are mild and transient and disappear over time.  Nausea, headache, dry mouth, diarrhea, sleep disturbance and loss of appetite can occur.  However, if you develop a rash, hives or experience undesirable weight loss contact your doctor.  

You Need to Avoid Sertraline, Zoloft: If you have hypersensitivity to Zoloft/Sertraline or any of its components in the formulation; use of MAO inhibitors, linezolid, or intravenous methylene blue, pimozide or thioridazine. 

Contact Your Doctor if You Ever Experience: Stop taking this medication and contact your doctor if you experience a rash (particularly in combination with facial swelling, breathing difficulties or flu-like symptoms); severe agitation, anxiety or excitation, major sleep disturbance or unusual change mood, muscle twitching or convulsions.

What should I watch for while using this medication?

Do not use in patients receiving monoamine oxidase inhibitors currently or within 2 weeks because of the risk of serotonin syndrome.

Use with caution in patients with liver disease.

Use with caution in patients with a history of seizures.

Has been rarely associated with platelet dysfunction, use cautiously in patients with underlying coagulation (platelet) defects.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of medication, try to take it as soon as possible.  However, if it is almost time for your next dose, take only that scheduled dose.  Do not take double or extra doses.

How should I store this medication?

Keep out of the reach of children at all times.  Store at room temperature, 59 to 86° F (15 to 30° C).  Protect from light.  Keep the container tightly closed.  Properly dispose of any unused medication after the expiration date.

What are the possible side effects of using this medication? 

Well tolerated, most side effects are transient and mild to moderate in nature.  The most common side effects include:


Central nervous system: Insomnia (20%), dizziness (12%), fatigue (12%), drowsiness (11%)

Gastrointestinal: Nausea (26%), diarrhea (20%), xerostomia (14%)