Side Effects of Zoloft (Sertraline)
Zoloft can be an effective medication for depression, anxiety disorders, and other conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, there are potential side effects to consider before starting treatment.
One of the most common Zoloft side effects is nausea or upset stomach — although research shows it usually doesn’t last. Note that it’s possible to have more severe side effects, though, including suicidal thoughts or behaviors, mania, or serotonin syndrome.
Be sure you tell your doctor about any of the medications you started taking before beginning Zoloft. Certain drugs can interact negatively with Zoloft. Weight gain or loss can also occur, and you should speak to your healthcare provider if either extreme occurs.
“The two most common side effects that my clients on Zoloft (Sertraline) have brought to my attention include impacts to their sex life (decreased sex drive and increased difficulty reaching orgasm) and generally ‘feeling blah.’ The second one they say is hard to describe because it’s not the same as when they feel depressed, but they define it as equally annoying and as generally not feeling like themselves.”
Common side effects
As noted, a common Zoloft effect is nausea, but most people find it typically subsides after a few weeks of taking the antidepressant medication. If it persists, though, contact your doctor right away. Other common side effects include:
- Dry mouth — although side effect is less common in people taking SSRIs than some other types of antidepressants
- Drowsiness during the daytime hours
- Sexual dysfunction, such as decreased libido or difficulty achieving orgasm
Serious side effects
More adverse effects may occur in rare cases. This can include an increased risk for suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Other severe side effects from Zoloft can include:
- Serotonin syndrome which can cause fever, confusion, and muscle rigidity
- Risk of bleeding — a risk with any SSRI
If any of these symptoms occur while taking Zoloft, you should contact your doctor immediately.
Interactions with other medications
Before taking Zoloft, inform your doctor about all medications you currently take, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements, since certain medications may interact negatively when combined with Zoloft.
Less common side effects
Changes in weight
Some people report Zoloft weight gain as a side effect while on this medication. However, it’s generally not believed to be significant enough to warrant concern for most people.
On the flip side, some people also see weight loss on Zoloft. This is likely due to the potential for decreased appetite. If either extreme occurs, speak to your healthcare provider so they can determine if they should adjust your dosage.
Some people have reported tremors after taking Zoloft. However, this isn’t common. These movements usually occur during periods of high stress and, depending on the severity, can interfere with daily life activities. Consult a physician to learn how best to handle involuntary movement issues related to Zoloft dosage.