What is Zoloft?
Zoloft, or commonly used in medicine as sertraline, belongs to a group of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is manufactured by the “Pfizer” company and is extremely effective and highly tolerable and safe.
Zoloft influences supposedly unbalanced brain chemicals helping people with depression, panic, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive symptoms. It doesn’t block adrenergic activity, doesn’t work as a sedative and it causes neither dependence nor weight gain.
How does it work?
So what exactly does Zoloft do? Sertraline inhibits selective serotonin reuptakes in the neurons of the central nervous system. As a result, the amount of serotonin in the synapses increases, causing antidepressant effect and lowering anxiety. It improves your mood, sleep, appetite, and energy level and may help restore your interest in daily living. As a rule, it decreases fear, anxiety, unwanted thoughts and the number of panic attacks.
Read more: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
What does it treat?
Zoloft is the main antidepressant in treating chronic depression. Sometimes it takes up to 4 weeks for this medication to start working. What is more a study, conducted in the USA, has shown that if the patient continues to take Zoloft for some time after the depression is gone, it prevents new episodes of depression.
Though seasonal depression is not enough to get Zoloft prescribed, recently it has shown to be useful and this matter is hugely discussed. It was proved that Zoloft works better than placebo in treating seasonal depression and, in this case, it has only a few side effects, such as a runny nose and dry mouth.
Zoloft has proven to be very useful in treating atypical depression. If the patients, suffering from atypical depression and developing some obsessive symptoms, don’t respond the amitriptyline, Zoloft can be highly effective.
For the last few years researchers discuss the efficiency of Zoloft in dealing with dysthymia. The studies have shown that the patients who were taking Zoloft were getting better quicker than those who were taking placebo. The most impressive results were achieved in the life quality of people suffering from dysthymia. It means that sertraline has a great impact on the readapting to the society. The studies were also conducted among various age groups of people. The drug illustrated its most efficiency when teens (aged 15–18) were taking it. But the elderly people also responded the treatment.
Though one more evidence is also still unregistered by the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) the researchers believe that Zoloft is also hugely effective in treating post-partum depression. To prove that, they conducted a study during which a number of women suffering from post-partum depression (it was diagnosed according to the DCM-IV criteria) were taking Zoloft and placebo. Those who were taking Zoloft start feeling better in 2 weeks already. After the course of the treatment, 14 out of 26 patients were in complete remission. The medication again illustrated to be tolerable, and those few slight side effects that did take the place were reduced by the changes in dosage. During the study 6 women were breastfeeding and the drug affected children in no way. Of course, the research has to be put into practice, but we can agree on the food results.
Zoloft side effects
Good tolerance of the medicine plays a vital role in its effectiveness.
Usually, the side effects a very slight, but the whole range of possible Zoloft side effects includes:
- signs of an allergic reaction: skin rash or hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat;
- worsening symptoms: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, feeling impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed or having thoughts about suicide or hurting oneself.
Serious side effects include:
- very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, feeling like you might pass out;
- agitation, hallucinations, fever, overactive reflexes, tremors;
- nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, feeling unsteady, loss of coordination;
- a headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, weakness, fainting, seizure, shallow breathing or breathing that stops.
Less serious side effects may include:
- drowsiness, dizziness, tired feeling;
- mild nausea, stomach pain, upset stomach, constipation;
- dry mouth;
- changes in appetite or weight;
- sleep problems (insomnia); or
- decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm.
Taking Zoloft with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can increase these effects. This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
Take Zoloft exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Your pharmacist can provide more information about sertraline.