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General Practice 2023

Sertraline (Zoloft): what it is for, how to use it and side effects

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Sertraline (Zoloft): what it is for, how to use it and side effects
Sertraline (Zoloft): what it is for, how to use it and side effects

Sertraline is an antidepressant that increases the availability of serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood and well-being, and is therefore indicated to treat depression, panic syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder, social phobia or post-traumatic stress disorder.

In addition, this medication may also be indicated to relieve symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, such as irritability, bloating, and mood swings.

Sertraline, also known as sertraline hydrochloride, can be purchased, only with a prescription, in pharmacies and drugstores, under the commercial names of Assert, Sercerin, Serenata, Tolrest or Zoloft, for example, and must be taken under the guidance and supervision of a physician.

What is it for

Sertraline works by selectively inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin, increasing its availability in the brain, which is a neurotransmitter known as the “happiness hormone” because it helps balance mood, sleep, anxiety and depression. Learn more about serotonin.

Due to its properties, sertraline is indicated for the treatment of the following situations:

  • Depression;
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD);
  • Panic syndrome, with or without agoraphobia;
  • Social Phobia.

In addition, sertraline may also be indicated to relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and/or premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

How to use

Sertraline must be prescribed by a doctor, and the dose and duration of use of this medication varies according to the condition to be treated.

In adults, in case of depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder, treatment usually starts with the ingestion of 50 mg once a day. In children between 6 and 12 years old, sertraline is used only in cases of obsessive compulsive disorder, and the initial recommendation is 25 mg per day, for example. However, the dose may be gradually increased by the psychiatrist to up to 200 mg/day, according to medical advice.

Sertraline tablets should be taken with 1 glass of water and can be taken with or separately from meals.

In cases of forgetfulness, you should take this medicine as soon as you remember and then continue taking it at the usual time. If it is very close to the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next dose. Also, it is not recommended to take 2 doses at the same time to try to make up for the missed dose. In case of doubt, consult the doctor responsible for the treatment.

Possible side effects

Some side effects that may arise during treatment with sertraline are dry mouth, dizziness, diarrhea, increased hunger, loss of appetite, constipation, poor digestion, nausea, lack of appetite, insomnia, drowsiness, pain headache and changes in sexual function, such as difficulty in erection, loss or delay in ejaculation, in men, and decreased sexual desire and difficulty or delay in orgasm, in women.

Furthermore, some serious side effects that can arise from the use of sertraline include seizures, unusual bruising and bleeding, hallucinations, fever, chills, abnormal heartbeat, loss of motor coordination, hives and difficulty breathing. In these cases, it is essential to seek urgent medical attention.

The use of sertraline in the last months of pregnancy can increase the risk of bleeding after delivery and respiratory problems in the newborn, such as difficulties in breathing and eating, vomiting and changes in body temperature.In addition, sertraline can also pass into breast milk, which can cause irritability, drowsiness, colic and loss of appetite in the baby.

Sertralina lose weight or gain weight?

Some of the side effects of using sertraline are loss of hunger or increased appetite. Therefore, this medication can cause a change in body weight in some people, and they may lose weight or gain weight during treatment. Understand how sertraline can cause changes in body weight.

However, sertraline is not indicated for weight loss. In this case, you should consult a nutritionist or nutritionist, to indicate a food plan to lose weight in a he althy way.

If you notice weight gain while using sertraline, it is important to contact the treating physician, so that the need to change the sertraline dose or change the treatment can be evaluated.

Who should not use

Sertraline is contraindicated for children under 6 years of age and for people allergic to sertraline or other components of its formula. Also, it should be used with caution by people who are taking medicines called monoamine oxidase enzyme inhibitors (MAOIs), such as moclobemide or selegiline, for example.

People with diabetes should keep their blood glucose under control during treatment with this medication, and anyone with angle-closure glaucoma should be monitored by a doctor.

In addition, consumption of alcoholic beverages and grapefruit or grapefruit juice is not recommended while using sertraline, as they may alter the effect of the drug.

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