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Sertraline (Generic Zoloft) is a drug used to treat depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic attacks, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), post-traumatic stress disorder, and a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (premenstrual dysphoric disorder). Sertraline is known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It works by helping to restore the balance of a certain natural substance (serotonin) in the brain.
Sertraline may improve your mood, energy level, appetite and sleep, and may help restore your interest in daily living. It may decrease fear, unwanted thoughts, the number of panic attacks you experience and anxiety. It can also reduce the urge to perform repeated tasks (compulsions such as hand-washing, checking and counting) that interfere with your daily life.
Sertraline is the generic version of Zoloft, and requires a prescription. You can buy generic sertraline at Blink Health for a discounted price.
All generic medications sold through Blink Health are FDA-approved. All FDA-approved generics must have the same strength, dosage form, safety and effectiveness as their brand-name counterparts.
How to use Sertraline
Always read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using sertraline, and every time you get a refill. Talk to your clinician or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Take sertraline by mouth as directed by your licensed medical professional, usually once per day, either in the morning or evening. The tablet or liquid form of this medication can be taken with or without food.
You must mix the liquid form of sertraline with another liquid before using. Just before taking, carefully measure your dose using the provided medicine dropper. Do not use a household spoon, since you may not get the correct dose. Mix the dose with a half-cup (4 ounces/120 milliliters) of water, orange juice, lemonade, lemon-lime soda or ginger ale. Do not use any other liquids to mix this drug. It is normal and harmless if the mixture appears cloudy. Do not prepare a supply before you are ready to take it, and drink all of the mixture right away.
If you are taking sertraline for premenstrual problems, your licensed medical professional may direct you to take this drug every day of the month, or only for the two weeks before your period, until the start of your period.
Your dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Your licensed medical professional may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose, in order to lower your risk of side effects. Carefully follow your licensed medical professional's instructions. Take this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time every day.
You should keep taking this medication even if you feel well. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your licensed medical professional. If sertraline is suddenly stopped, some conditions may become worse. Also, you may experience symptoms such as headaches, mood swings, tiredness, sleep changes, and brief feelings similar to electric shock. Your licensed medical professional may reduce your dose gradually in order to prevent these symptoms while stopping treatment. Be sure to report any new or worsening symptoms immediately.
Tell your licensed medical professional if your condition persists or gets worse.
Sertraline Side Effects
It's important to be aware of possible side effects before you start taking a medication. Here are the listed side effects for this drug:
See also Warning & Precautions section.
Nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, loss of appetite, increased sweating, diarrhea, upset stomach, or trouble sleeping may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: easy bruising/bleeding, decreased interest in sex, decrease in sexual ability (ejaculation delay), muscle cramps/weakness, shaking (tremor), unusual weight loss.
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: fast/irregular heartbeat, fainting, black/bloody stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, eye pain/swelling/redness, widened pupils, vision changes (such as seeing rainbows around lights at night, blurred vision).
This medication may increase serotonin and rarely cause a very serious condition called serotonin syndrome/toxicity. The risk increases if you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin, so tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take (see Drug Interactions section). Get medical help right away if you develop some of the following symptoms: fast heartbeat, hallucinations, loss of coordination, severe dizziness, severe nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, twitching muscles, unexplained fever, unusual agitation/restlessness.
Rarely, males may have a painful or prolonged erection lasting 4 or more hours. If this occurs, stop using this drug and get medical help right away, or permanent problems could occur.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
It's also important to be aware of precautions and warnings around taking this medication.
Before taking sertraline, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients (such as latex found in the medicine dropper), which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: personal or family history of bipolar/manic-depressive disorder, bleeding problems, liver disease, seizure disorder, thyroid disease, personal or family history of glaucoma (angle-closure type).
Sertraline may cause a condition that affects the heart rhythm (QT prolongation). QT prolongation can rarely cause serious (rarely fatal) fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness, fainting) that need medical attention right away.
The risk of QT prolongation may be increased if you have certain medical conditions or are taking other drugs that may cause QT prolongation. Before using sertraline, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take and if you have any of the following conditions: certain heart problems (heart failure, slow heartbeat, QT prolongation in the EKG), family history of certain heart problems (QT prolongation in the EKG, sudden cardiac death).
Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood may also increase your risk of QT prolongation. This risk may increase if you use certain drugs (such as diuretics/'water pills') or if you have conditions such as severe sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting. Talk to your doctor about using sertraline safely.
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
The liquid form of this medication contains alcohol. Caution is advised if you have diabetes, alcohol dependence, or liver disease. Some medications (such as metronidazole, disulfiram) can cause a serious reaction when combined with alcohol. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using this product safely.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially bleeding, loss of coordination, or QT prolongation (see above). Loss of coordination can increase the risk of falling. Older adults may also be more likely to develop a type of salt imbalance (hyponatremia), especially if they are taking 'water pills' (diuretics).
Children may be more sensitive to the side effects of the drug, especially loss of appetite and weight loss. Monitor weight and height in children who are taking this drug.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. It may harm an unborn baby. Also, babies born to mothers who have used this drug during the last 3 months of pregnancy may rarely develop withdrawal symptoms such as feeding/breathing difficulties, seizures, muscle stiffness, or constant crying. If you notice any of these symptoms in your newborn, tell the doctor promptly.
Since untreated mental/mood problems (such as depression, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder) can be a serious condition, do not stop taking this medication unless directed by your doctor. If you are planning pregnancy, become pregnant, or think you may be pregnant, discuss with your doctor right away the benefits and risks of using this medication during pregnancy.
This drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Sertraline Pill Storage
Store your sertraline at room temperature, away from moisture and light. Do not store this drug in the bathroom. Keep all medications, including sertraline, away from children and pets.
Do not flush sertraline down the toilet or pour it into a drain unless you are instructed to do so. Your pharmacist or local waste disposal company can teach you how to properly discard this medication if it has expired or is no longer needed.
Sertraline Drug Interactions
Drug interactions can alter how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Be sure to keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription and nonprescription drugs, as well as herbal products) and share it with your clinician and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your licensed medical professional's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug are: pimozide, other drugs that can cause bleeding/bruising (including NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel, 'blood thinners' such as warfarin/dabigatran).
A serious and possibly fatal drug reaction can happen if you take MAO inhibitors with sertraline. Avoid taking MAO inhibitors (isocarboxazid, tranylcypromine, linezolid, selegiline, methylene blue, moclobemide, safinamide, phenelzine, rasagiline, procarbazine, ) during treatment with sertraline. Most MAO inhibitors also should not be taken for two weeks before and after treatment with this medication. Ask your licensed medical professional when to start or stop taking this drug.
If you take other drugs that increase serotonin (like MDMA/'ecstasy;' St. John's wort; certain antidepressants, including other SSRIs such as fluoxetine/paroxetine, SNRIs such as duloxetine/venlafaxine; tryptophan; among others) the risk of serotonin syndrome/toxicity goes up Your risk of serotonin syndrome/toxicity may be more likely when you start or increase the dose of these drugs.
Tell your clinician or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness such as antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine), muscle relaxants, drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), opioid pain or cough relievers (such as codeine, hydrocodone), alcohol and marijuana (cannabis).
Check the labels on all your medicines (such as cold-and-cough and allergy products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist how to use those products safely.
Aspirin can increase your risk of bleeding when used with sertraline. However, if your licensed medical professional has directed you to take low-dose aspirin for heart attack or stroke prevention (usually at dosages of 81-325 milligrams per day), you should continue taking it unless your licensed medical professional instructs you otherwise.
This medication may interfere with certain lab and medical tests (including brain scan for Parkinson's disease), possibly causing false test results. Make sure lab personnel and all your licensed medical professionals know you use sertraline.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe dizziness, fainting.
If you miss a dose of sertraline, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Do not share this medication with others.
Be sure to keep all regular psychiatric and medical appointments.
May include selected content from the Licensed Solutions data, included with permission and copyrighted by FDB, inc., 2014. This copyrighted material has been downloaded and Licensed data is not for distribution in professional healthcare settings. This information is generalized and not intended as specific medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional before taking any drug or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.
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