Zoloft is one type of antidepressant in a collection of medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Zoloft works by targeting chemicals in the brain that might become unbalanced. When these chemicals are unbalanced, symptoms include depression, obsessive compulsive behavior, anxiety, and panic.
Zoloft is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, panic, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
As with any medication, there are certain risks involved when taking Zoloft. One important factor to consider when considering a medication is what other medications you are currently taking. Zoloft, for example, should not be taken by patients who are already taking pimozide or a monoamine oxidize inhibitor (MAOI) like isocarboxazid, selegiline, rasagiline, phenelzine, or tranylcypromine. If you have been taking an MAOI and decide to start taking Zoloft, you need to wait fourteen days after taking your last MAOI to begin your Zoloft regimen. Additionally, should you stop taking Zoloft and want to go back to an MAOI, you must wait fourteen days before doing so.
It is not uncommon to develop suicidal thoughts when you first begin taking an antidepressant. This is most frequently found in patients who are under 24 years old. While Zoloft is FDA approved to treat children suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder, it is not approved to treat children battling depression. Since suicidal thoughts are possible when you first start taking Zoloft, it is very important that your doctor carefully monitor your progress during at least the first twelve weeks for your treatment.
Open communication with your doctor is very important when taking Zoloft or any other antidepressant. You should immediately consult your physician if you experience any new or worsening symptoms such as mood or behavioral changes, anxiety or panic attacks or develop trouble sleeping. These worsening symptoms may also include feeling agitated, impulsive, aggressive, hostile, hyperactive, or restless. Feelings of increased depression or a desire to harm yourself should also be immediately reported to your doctor.
It has been shown that SSRI antidepressants such as Zoloft may cause severe or life-threatening lung problems in infants whose mothers took the drugs during pregnancy. If you are already taking Zoloft and become pregnant, you should not necessarily stop taking it as it may cause a relapse in your depression. If you are being treated with Zoloft and become pregnant or plan to become pregnant, you should consult your doctor as to the best course of action.
Before your doctor prescribes Zoloft to treat your depression, it is important that he or she be familiar with your complete medical history. Prior to taking Zoloft, you should tell your doctor if you suffer from any of the following ailments:
-Epilepsy or seizures
-Bipolar disorder or manic depression
-Liver or kidney disease
-A history of suicidal thoughts
While the above conditions may not preclude you from taking Zoloft, they may require an adjustment in the dose or some additional testing to ensure that Zoloft is the best choice for you.
Since Zoloft can cause thoughts of depression in the early stages of treatment, it is very important that you surround yourself with friends and family members who can be alert to any changes in your mood, behavior, or personality. Your loved ones or caregiver should be mindful of your moods especially when you first begin taking Zoloft, and they should contact your doctor immediately if they notice any troubling changes or new symptoms.
Zoloft can be very successful in treating symptoms of depression, however, like any other medication, it is important to know the risks and potential side effects before beginning treatment. Speak with your doctor at length before taking Zoloft and be sure to pay attention to your symptoms and moods. When it comes to your health and your mental well-being, you can never be too careful.