Depression is a significant illness that has a serious impact on a person’s thoughts, moods and body. Having depression can affect the life of a person, the family, and can happen to anyone of all ages at any time. Often times depression can be treated by antidepressant medication, therapy or a combination of both.
Zoloft is an antidepressant or an SSRI which helps balance out the chemicals in the brain that are causing the fluctuation of moods and thoughts. Zoloft can help improve symptoms of depression yet there are also risks and precautions that need to be taken into account.
Antidepressants can intensify the thoughts of suicide and can impact behaviors in children, teens and adults. It is important to notify a healthcare professional if there are any symptomatic changes.
Before taking Zoloft it is important to notify your healthcare professional of past history. If there is a history of bipolar in the family this should be reported. Though antidepressants are used for both diseases, using Zoloft for this type of disease can cause problems in patients.
Certain types of antidepressants and migraine medications that are used in conjunction with one another can cause a reaction. The reaction causes too much serotonin to be produced in the brain. With the elevation and increase of the serotonin, the probability of developing serotonin syndrome increases. Serotonin syndrome can cause fever, sweating, muscle spasms, difficulty walking, hallucinations, increased heart rate, diarrhea and confusion. This should be reported to a medical professional as soon as possible.
Zoloft can be dispensed in form of a pill or a liquid. The liquid dropper that comes with the medication is made of natural rubber; this can cause a reaction to patients that have an allergy to latex.
There is also likelihood that when taking Zoloft it can cause the patient to have seizures. However, there is more of a chance if the patient has a history of seizures. Health providers should be made aware if this is the case.
Zoloft can cause stomach bleeding or intestinal bleeding. The chances of this happening are higher with patients that are taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin. The signs of gastrointestinal bleeding may incorporate bright red blood in stools, dark or black and tarry blood in stools, blood in vomit or vomit that may look like coffee grounds.
It is important to notify the healthcare provider if the patient is pregnant due to the risks of antidepressants to an unborn fetus as well as the transfer though breast milk. Zoloft is considered a Category C medication which is safe to use during pregnancy, but caution should be used with the doctor that is prescribing.
Zoloft can also cause salt levels in the blood to lower in patients that may be elderly and taking a diuretic. The levels are known to return to normal after Zoloft is discontinued.
Stopping Zoloft can lead to withdrawal symptoms. While tapering off Zoloft it is wise to be closely monitored by the healthcare professional. Withdrawal symptoms can cause headaches, insomnia, lethargy, confusion, irritability and anxiety. Zoloft should be titrated down slowly to help minimize the impact of withdrawal side effects.