from the common to the rare; how long they last & how to deal with them
About Side Effects
Potential side effects (adverse events in fancy pharmaceutical talk) are often used as a rationalization to not take Zoloft (sertraline). Many people will stop taking an otherwise working drug because of one or more side effects that are relatively minor and/or often temporary. There may even be ways to counter or mitigate the problematic effects.
It all comes down to a very simple equation: which sucks less?
There is no perfect drug. If you keep switching meds in the hopes of finding something with no side effect, or irrelevant side effects that don’t bug you as much, you could wind up treatment-resistant, and a med that worked before may work not as well as it did the first time, if at all.
Side Effects All Crazy Meds Have
No matter which neurological and/or psychiatric drug you take, you’ll probably get one or more of these side effects. These will usually be gone, or at least will diminish to the point where you barely notice it most of the time, within a week or two.
- Drowsiness / fatigue - even when taking stimulants in some circumstances.
- Insomnia, instead of or alternating with the drowsiness.
- Assorted other minor GI complaints (constipation, diarrhea, etc.)
- Generally feeling spacey / out of it
- Which can all add up to the ever-helpful ”flu-like symptoms” listed as an adverse event on the PI sheet of practically every medication on the planet used to treat almost any condition humans and other animals could have.
- All crazy meds can, and probably will affect your dreams as well. There is no way of telling if that will be good or bad, let alone if this side effect is permanent or temporary.
So don’t operate any heavy machinery and try to avoid driving the first couple of days. We always recommend1 starting a new med Friday night / Saturday morning (or whenever your day off is) so you have an idea of how it will affect you for the first week or two. Keep in mind: most side effects are usually temporary in nature.
Medicine Is The Best Medicine
I <3 Wellbutrin
Zoloft (sertraline) Typical Side Effects
Most everyone gets at least one or two of these
- dry mouth
- more so than any other SSRI
- assorted sex problems
- Typical, because it is an SSRI, but less likely and less bad than all the others.
- The various gastro-intestinal problems are often worse than with other SSRIs.
- You’re also way more likely to have diarrhea than constipation, so Zoloft and IBS aren’t a good match.
- Zoloft is the SSRI least likely to cause weight gain.
Most everything usually goes away within a couple of weeks.
I originally wrote that you were less likely to have GI problems with Zoloft than with other SSRIs. That’s what I get for getting too much evidence from the bipolar with our paradoxical reactions. Sorry.
Zoloft (sertraline) Uncommon Side Effects
You may or may not get one or more of these, so don’t be surprised either way
- Sweatiness, like really sweaty all the time.
- Although getting a little sweaty isn’t all that odd for an SSRI, Zoloft is a very “nervous” drug, much more so than the others in this class. Zoloft (sertraline) is almost Wellbutrin-like in how it can sometimes make you sweaty, shaky and generally uncomfortable in your own skin.
- Which I find hilariously ironic, as Zoloft is approved and fairly effective for panic disorder and social anxiety disorder, and used off-label for generalized anxiety disorder.
- Making the symptoms worse
- While making symptoms worse is a potential side effect of all drugs, from non-prescription meds you get at a grocery store to the most expensive chemotherapy on the planet, Zoloft (sertraline) has a fairly high rate (i.e. around 1–2%) of screwing you over with this one2. If any medication makes your symptoms worse, call your doctor immediately.
Potentially Dangerous Side Effects of Zoloft (sertraline)
If you have one or more of these, call your doctor ASAP. Or now. Or get the hell off of the Internet and go to the ER NOW!
- Hyponatremia (electrolyte imbalance, mainly not enough salt) - usually a problem with older people.
- Various liver problems.
Zoloft Freaky Rare Side Effects
You won’t get these. Unless you already have and that’s why you’re here
Hmmm, I wonder if Michael Jackson used to take Zoloft…
Be very careful. Reading the PI sheet for a drug you haven’t been prescribed, or even discussed with your doctor, can often be an exercise in the fear of medications (pharmacophobia).
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Ways to Counter/Minimize/Deal with Some Side Effects of Zoloft (sertraline)
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- Zoloft’s Full US Prescribing Information
- Primer of Drug Action 12th edition by Robert M. Julien Ph.D, Claire D. Advokat, Joseph Comaty © 2011 ISBN:978-1429233439 Published by Worth Publishers.
- The Prescriber’s Guide (Essential Psychopharmacology Series) Third edition by Stephen Stahl © 2009 ISBN:978-0521743990 Published by Cambridge University Press.
- Clinical Handbook of Psychotropic Drugs 18th edition Adil S. Virani, K. Bezchlibnyk-Butler, J. Jeffries © 2009 ISBN:978-0889373693 Published by Hogrefe & Huber Publishers.
- Instant Psychopharmacology 2nd Edition Ronald J. Diamond MD © 2002. ISBN:978-0393703917 Published by W.W. Norton.
- The Complete Guide to Psychiatric Drugs Edward Drummond, MD © 2000. ISBN:0471353701 Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
1 If you have the luxury of both a job and being able to cope with your symptoms not being dealt with for however many days you need to wait in order to do this. Read enough of this site and you can tell I live in a fantasy world.
2 Making the symptoms worse seems to be something meds that affect the sigma-1 receptors, like Luvox and Zoloft, are more likely to do than other meds.
If you have any questions not answered here, please see the Crazymeds Zoloft discussion board. We welcome criticisms of the articles, notifications of bad links, site problems, consumer experiences with medications, etc. I’m not always able to write back. Hence I never answer questions about meds via e-mail that are answered by this or other articles. Especially if they have been repeatedly asked on the forum. That’s why we write these damn things. Questions about which meds are best for your condition should also be asked on the forum; because this is a free site, so the price of admission is making things easier for somebody else searching for the same answer. We don’t deal with children on the forum or in private because after doing this for ten years I don’t have the emotional stamina to deal with kids who have brain cooties. How to contact Crazymeds. — Jerod Poore, CME, Publisher Crazymeds (crazymeds.net)
|Last modified on Sunday, 10 May, 2015 at 17:31:52 by JerodPoore||Page Author Jerod Poore||Date created Wednesday, 06 April 2011, at 14:28:00|
|“Zoloft (sertraline): a Review for the Educated Consumer.” by Jerod Poore is copyright © 2011 Jerod Poore||Published online 2011/04/06|
|Citation options to copy & paste into your article:|
|Plain text:||Poore, Jerod. “Zoloft (sertraline): a Review for the Educated Consumer.” Crazymeds (crazymeds.net). (2011 ).|
Zoloft, and all other drug names on this page and used throughout the site, are a trademark of someone else. Zoloft’s PI Sheet will probably have the name of the manufacturer and trademark owner (they’re not always the same company) at or near the very bottom. Or ask Google who the owner is. The way pharmaceutical companies buy each other and swap products like Monopoly™ real estate, the ownership of the trademark may have changed without my noticing. It may of changed hands by the time you finished reading this article.
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Almost all of the material on this site is by Jerod Poore and is copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 Jerod Poore. Except, of course, the PI sheets - those are the property of the drug companies who developed the drugs the sheets are about - and any documents that are written by other people which may be posted to this site will remain the property of the original authors. You cannot reproduce this page or any other material on this site outside of the boundaries of fair use copying without the express permission of the copyright holder. That’s usually me, so just ask first. That means if want to print out a few pages to take to your doctor, therapist, counselor, support group, non-understanding family members or something like that - then that’s OK to just do. Go for it! Please. As long as you include this copyright notice and something along the lines of following disclaimer, I’m usually cool with it.
All rights reserved. No warranty is expressed or implied in this information. Consult one or more doctors and/or pharmacists before taking, or changing how you take any neurological and/or psychiatric medication. Your mileage may vary. What happened to us won’t necessarily happen to you. If you still have questions about a medication or condition that were not answered on any of the pages you read, please ask them on Crazy Talk: the Crazymeds Forum.
The information on Crazymeds pertains to and is intended for adults. While some information about children and adolescents is occasionally presented (e.g. US FDA approvals), pediatric-specific data such as dosages, side effects, off-label applications, etc. are rarely included in the articles on drugs or discussed on the forum. If you are looking for information regarding meds for children you’ll have to go somewhere else. Plus we are big pottymouths and talk about S-E-X a lot.
Know your sources!
Nobody on this site is a doctor, a therapist, or a pharmacist. We don’t portray them either here or on TV. Only doctors can diagnose and treat an illness. While it’s not as bad as it used to be, some doctors still get pissed off by patients who know too much about medications, so tread lightly when and where appropriate. Diagnosing yourself from a website is like defending yourself in court, you suddenly have a fool for a doctor. Don’t be a cyberchondriac, thinking you have every disease you see a website about, or that you’ll get every side effect from every medication1. Self-prescribing is as dangerous as buying meds from fraudulent online pharmacies that promise you medications without prescriptions.
All information on this site has been obtained from the medications’ product information / summary of product characteristic (PI/SPC) sheets and/or medication guides - which is all you get from sites like WebMD, RxList,
NAMBLA NAMI, etc., the sources that are referenced throughout the site, our personal experience and the experiences family, friends, and what people have reported on various reputable sites all over teh intergoogles. As such the information presented here is not intended as a substitute for real medical advice from your real doctor, just a compliment to it. You should never, ever, replace what a real doctor tells you with something from a website on the Internet. The farthest you should ever take it is getting a second opinion from another real doctor. Educate yourself - always read the PI/SPC sheet or medication guide/patient information leaflet (PIL) that comes with your medications and never ever throw them away. OK, you can throw away duplicate copies, but keep at least one, as that’s your proof of purchase of having taken a med in case a doctor doubts your medical history. Plus they take up less space than a bottle, although keeping one inside of a pill bottle is even better.
Crazymeds is not responsible for the content of sites we provide links to. We like them, or they’re paid advertisements, or they’re something else we think you should read to help you make an informed decision about a particular med. Sometimes they’re more than one of those things. But what’s on those sites is their business, not ours.
Crazymeds is optimized for ridiculously large screens and browsers that don’t block ads. I use Firefox and Chrome, running under Windows 72. On a computer that sits on top of my desk. With a 23 inch monitor. Hey, at least you can make the text larger or smaller by clicking on the + or - buttons in the upper right hand corner. If you have Java enabled. Like 99% of the websites on the planet, Crazymeds is hosted on domain running an open source operating system with a variety of open source applications, including the software used to display what you’ve been reading. As such Crazymeds is not responsible for whatever weird shit your browser does or does not do when you read this site3.
No neurologists, psychiatrists, therapists or pharmacists were harmed in the production of this website. Use only as directed. Void where prohibited. Contains nuts. Certain restrictions may apply. All data are subject to availability. Not available on all mobile devices, in the 12 Galaxies Guiltied to a Zegnatronic Rocket Society, or in all dimensions of reality. Hail Xenu!
‘Everything is true, nothing is permitted.’ - Jerod Poore
1 While there are plenty of books to help you with hypochondria, for some reason there’s not much in the way of websites. Then again, staying off of the Internet is a large part of curing/managing the disorder.
2 Remember kids, Microsloth operating systems are like TOS Star Trek movies with in that every other one sucks way, way more. With TOS Star Trek movies you don’t want to bother watching the odd-numbered ones. With Microsloth OS you don’t want to buy and install the even-numbered ones. Anyone who remembers ME and Vista knows what I mean.
3 Have I mentioned how open source operating systems for commercial applications is one of the dumbest ideas in the history of dumb ideas?* I don’t even need my big-ass rant any more. Heartbleed has made my case for me. And that’s just the one that got all the media attention. The very nature of an open source operating system makes security as much of an illusion as anonymity on teh Intergoogles. Before you flip out too much: the domain Crazymeds is hosted on uses a version of SSL that is not affected by the Heartbleed bug. That’s one of the many reasons why I pay a lot of money and keep this site on Lunarpages.
* Yes, I know I’m using open source browsers. I also test the site using the now-defunct IE and Safari browsers. Their popularity - and superiority - killed IE and Safari, so that’s why I rely on the open source browsers. It’s like brand vs. generic meds. Sometimes the generic is better than the brand.