Anxiety Medication Overview of Zoloft

How should this medicine be used?

Zoloft or Sertraline comes as a tablet and concentrates to take by mouth. It is usually taken once daily and may be taken with or without food. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take sertraline exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Continue to take sertraline even if you feel well. Do not stop taking sertraline without talking to your doctor, especially if you have taken large doses for a long time. Your doctor probably will want to decrease your dose gradually. This drug must be taken regularly for a few weeks before its full effect is felt.

What special precautions should I follow?

Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to sertraline or any other drugs. If you are taking sertraline liquid concentrate, tell your doctor if you are allergic to latex.

Tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription drugs you are taking or have taken within the last 2 weeks, especially anticoagulants [warfarin (Coumadin)]; antihistamines; cimetidine (Tagamet); disulfiram (Antabuse); levodopa (Sinemet, Larodopa); lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid); MAO inhibitors [phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate)]; medication for high blood pressure, seizures, depression, Parkinson's disease, asthma, colds, or allergies; methylphenidate (Ritalin); muscle relaxants; sedatives; sleeping pills; thyroid medications; tolbutamide (Orinase); tranquilizers; and vitamins.

Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had glaucoma, an enlarged prostate, difficulty urinating, seizures, an overactive thyroid gland, or liver kidney, or heart disease.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking sertraline, call your doctor immediately.

If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking sertraline.

You should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.

Remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this drug. Avoid drinking alcohol while taking sertraline.

Tell your doctor if you use tobacco products. Cigarette smoking may decrease the effectiveness of this drug.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you take Sertraline once a day in the morning, take the missed dose as soon as you
remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule.

If you take sertraline once a day at bedtime and do not remember to take it until the next morning, skip the missed dose. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • Constipation
  • Difficulty Urinating
  • Frequent Urination
  • Blurred Vision
  • Changes in Sex Drive or Ability
  • Excessive Sweating

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • Jaw, Neck, and Back Muscle Spasms
  • Slow or Difficult Speech
  • Shuffling Walk
  • Persistent Fine Tremor or Inability to Sit Still
  • Fever, Chills, Sore Throat, or Flu-like Symptoms
  • Difficulty Breathing or Swallowing
  • Severe Skin Rash
  • Yellowing of the Skin or Eyes
  • Irregular Heartbeat

These are some of the side effects, if you have any side effects that are unusual or that become persistent you should talk to your doctor.

Photo: tOrange

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