Zoloft is currently one of the most prescribed antidepressant medications available. Unfortunately, Zoloft can have several different adverse side effects that can outweigh any benefits. These side effects can range from mild to severe and can be different, depending on a person’s gender, age and other factors. If you’re concerned about Zoloft side effects, it’s important to educate yourself to the possible problems that can be caused by this medication.
About Zoloft Drug Treatment Protocol
Zoloft is administered to adjust your brain’s biochemical balance, thus reducing depression. In addition, Zoloft may also be prescribed to reduce the incidence of panic attacks, decrease anxiety, and reduce symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Zoloft may also be prescribed for obsessive-compusive disorder (OCD), symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and for some men, it may be used to treat sexual function impairment. Zoloft, like most antidepressant medications, may also be prescribed for off-label uses, including premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and social anxiety. Regardless of the purpose of prescribing Zoloft, anyone taking this medication should be aware that they may experience side effects.
Zoloft Side Effects in Children
Children often typically experience the same side effects as adults when taking Zoloft however they may also have a unique set of potential side effects. Zoloft side effects in children can include a fever, hyperactivity, loss of bladder control (temporary), sinus inflammation or sinus infection. In addition, children taking Zoloft may experience a sudden bloody nose or bruise-like marks on the skin that are also known as purpura. All of these side effects generally go away once the medication is discontinued. In any case, if your child is prescribed Zoloft and experiences any of these symptoms, they should be seen by their doctor.
Zoloft Side Effects in Women
Women may experience side effects from Zoloft that affect their female hormonal levels and subsequently, the female genitourinary system. Zoloft side effects in women include a discharge of breast milk, mood swings, breast tenderness, weight gain, weight loss, low energy, cramping and insomnia. A discharge of breast milk may occur, even if you aren’t pregnant and haven’t given birth recently. For most women, discontinuation of the medication reduces, then eliminates the side effects. It may however, take several months for a hormonal imbalance caused by Zoloft to be resolved. Some women report PMS symptoms when taking Zoloft, and these symptoms can occur outside of the normal time when symptoms are experienced.
Zoloft Side Effects in Men
Men, like women, may experience side effects from Zoloft that are associated with male hormones or male anatomy. Zoloft side effects in men include sexual dysfunction which can also include an inability to achieve and sustain an erection. In addition, men may have problems ejaculating when taking Zoloft. The most common sexual side effect in men taking Zoloft is decreased libido, which can lead to feelings of anxiety or depressed mood, despite the administration of an antidepressant. Men may also experience anorexia, gastrointestinal distress, constipation and insomnia when taking Zoloft. The side effects of Zoloft in men, like side effects for anyone, typically resolve when the medication is discontinued.
The most commonly experienced side effects when taking Zoloft include:
Gastrointestinal distress including abdominal bloating, gas, upset stomach and diarrhea
Nausea and subsequent vomiting
Weight gain or loss
Numbness or feeling of needlelike sensations in the hands and feet
Pain in the throat
Sudden, unexplained sweating
Rapid and uncontrolled movements in the extremities
Some more potentially adverse effects of Zoloft include:
Sensation of an irregularity in your heartbeat
Unexplained and frequent bruises appearing, or bleeding
Potential Adverse Effects of Zoloft in Men
Impaired sexual arousal
Difficulty achieving orgasm
Potential Adverse effects of Zoloft in women
Respiratory problems, difficulty breathing
Upper respiratory tract infections
Sexual dysfunction such as impaired sexual arousal
Side effects of Zoloft in pregnant women
Lung defects in newborn infants
Respiratory problems in newborn infants
Possible toxicity when medication is transferred to infant through breast milk
Potential birth defects caused by Zoloft administration by pregnant women
cleft lip or palate
persistent pulmonary hypertension
birth with organs protruding from the abdomen
brain and spinal cord defects
withdrawal syndrome in infants born to mothers who have taken Zoloft
Side effects in children taking Zoloft
Paradoxical reaction (eg: increased suicidal ideation)
Alternatives to Zoloft Treatment
Zoloft side effects can cause an individual to want to discontinue using this antidepressant medication but any discontinuation should be done under the supervision of a physician. Several alternative medications exist that may be prescribed in lieu of Zoloft. These medications include Prozac, Paxil and similar selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s). In addition, newer, serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors like Effexor, Pristiq, Cymbalta or Dalcipran may be prescribed in place of Zoloft. Tricyclic antidepressants like Doxepin, Pamelor, Elavil or Asendin may be prescribed for some individuals and finally, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI’s) like Nardil, Parnate or Marplan may be used to treat depression.
Side effects of Zoloft can be a source of significant frustration and discomfort for many people, although Zoloft has a relatively long history of being well tolerated. Any medication has the potential to cause side effects and some effects are mild and go away over time while you take the medication. If however, you experience side effects that cause pain, impairment or a risk to your health or safety, consult your physician. Several alternatives exist that can be as beneficial and as effective as Zoloft.