It’s the brand name of Sertraline, a drug used to treat depression.
Sertraline is an antidepressant first introduced in 1992. It belongs to a group of drugs known as the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).
The SSRIs are among the most commonly used antidepressants in the treatment of several depressive disorders.
They increase the levels of serotonin in the brain to ease the symptoms of moderate to severe depression.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, an endogenous chemical which carries signals or messages between brain cells.
However, after neurotransmitters deliver their message, the brain reabsorbs them to recycle the chemicals in a process called “Reuptake.”
When a patient uses SSRIs, these drugs block the reabsorption of serotonin, making more of this chemical available and allowing the neurotransmitter to send additional messages to boost the person’s mood.
One of the most common presentations of Zoloft comes in the form of tablets (ranging from 25mg to 100mg). It’s also available as an oral solution.
How to use Zoloft
Medical experts primarily use Zoloft to treat Clinical Depression, which refers to a mood disorder that consists of a remarkable feeling of sadness, hopelessness, and despair.
But people can use this medication to deal with other conditions such as Panic Attacks, which are abrupt and unexpected onsets of intense fear or anxiety.
Some doctors prescribe Zoloft to treat cases of Obsessive-compulsive Disorder, given some studies highlight a possible connection between this condition and low levels of serotonin.
Sertraline is also useful for patients with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a condition that some people develop after getting exposed to a traumatic event.
In this particular case, such disorder causes an imbalance between serotonin and another neurotransmitter called “Substance P.” Patients usually exhibit a deficiency of cortisol and serotonin.
Another condition treated by prescribing Zoloft is the Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, which consists of severe depression, irritability, and tension right before the period.
Sertraline can also improve patients’ sleep habits, appetite, and even their energy level. This medication is capable of reducing compulsions that interfere with daily living.
The amount of Sertraline will depend on the patients’ medical condition and response to treatment. Healthcare providers will likely start prescribing a low dose and gradually increase it when needed.
This medication, just like others, only performs optimally after the patient has taken it consistently for several weeks.
More often than not, the initial dose for grown adults is 50 mg once a day. The maximum dose a doctor can prescribe may reach 200mg depending on the case.
Medical experts tend to adjust the dose at intervals of at least one week.
However, as each case is different, people must discuss with their doctors how to proceed with the treatment.
There is evidence indicating that taking Zoloft during the third trimester of pregnancy increases the risk of a baby developing Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN).
That is a severe pulmonary condition that could result in the death of the infant.
If the patient is pregnant or breastfeeding a child, medical experts must carefully consider the risks and benefits of any treatment involving the use of Sertraline.
Before starting the therapy, healthcare providers must confirm if their patients have a potential allergy to the medication. In such cases, they’ll suspend the treatment and look for an alternative.
Patients must inform their doctors about any other drug or medicines they may be taking before using Zoloft. Mixing it with other medication may have some undesirable effects.
Just like many other medicines, using Sertraline carries a risk for some adverse effects. In a few cases, people are likely to experience headaches and sleep difficulties.
However, the most common side-effects from taking Zoloft are listed here below:
- Dry Mouth
- Muscle cramps/weakness
- Diminished libido (sexual desire)
- Delayed or weakened orgasm during sexual intercourse
- Increased sweating
Some people that display these issues will probably improve after keeping up with the treatment for a while. But if such effects persist, patients should consult their doctors as soon as possible.
In fact, when it comes to the least common side-effects, people should quickly look for medical attention.
Here’s a list of those rare repercussions from taking Zoloft:
- Tachycardia (fast heart rate)
- Unusual weight loss
- Bloody stools
- Eye pain/swelling/redness
- Blurred vision