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Zoloft (Generic Name - Sertraline)

Zoloft is an antidepressant medication from a class of drugs that is known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Zoloft affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause depression, panic or anxiety, obsessive or compulsive symptoms, or other psychiatric symptoms. Like other medications in this class of drugs (e.g. Paxil & Prozac), Zoloft relieves symptoms of depression, without the sometimes harmful side effects that many people experience with some older tricyclic antidepressants and "MAO inhibitors".

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Who should not take Zoloft?

  • Do not take Zoloft if you have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor such as Marplan or Parnat during the last two weeks. Serious and sometimes fatal reactions may occur if Zoloft is used at the same time with any of these medicines
  • Do not take Zoloft if you are taking pimozide (Orap). Again, a dangerous reaction could occur
  • If you have liver disease, kidney disease, suffer from seizures, suffer from mania or have suicidal thoughts, be sure to let a doctor know about this before you take Zoloft
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, although its not known whether taking Zoloft at that time would be harmful to the baby, to be safe you should not take it

Is Zoloft sometimes prescribed for other conditions?
Zoloft is typically prescribed for major depressive disorder, as outline in the first paragraph above. However, it is sometimes prescribed for other conditions:

  1. It can be used for a type of depression called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). This specific recurring problem is marked by a depressed mood, anxiety or tension, emotional instability, and anger or irritability in the two weeks preceding menstruation
  2. Zoloft is also used in the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder

Typical Zoloft Dosage - For depressive or obsessive compulsive disorder
The usual starting dose is 50 milligrams (mg) taken once a day, either in the evening or morning. A doctor may increase your dosage depending on your own personal factors, but the maximum dose should be 200 mg in a day

Typical Zoloft Dosage - For Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Doses may be prescribed throughout the menstrual cycle or limited to the two weeks preceding menstruation. The starting dose is usually 50 mg per day. If this proves insufficient, the doctor may increase the dosage in 50 mg steps at the start of each new menstrual cycle (up to a maximum of 100 mg per day in the two week regimen or 150 mg per day in the full-cycle regimen). During the first three days of the two week plan, doses are always limited to 50 mg.

Typical Zoloft Dosage - Panic Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
During the first week, the typical dose is 25 mg per day. Thereafter, the dosage increases to 50 mg per day. Depending on your response, a doctor may continue to increase the dosage up to a maximum of 200 mg a day.

How should Zoloft be taken?
Take it exactly as directed by a doctor, and at the same time each day. It may be taken with or without food. Never cease taking Zoloft without first speaking to a doctor. There may be unpleasant side effects if you suddenly stop taking Zoloft.

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