Zoloft Warnings and Precautions
Before taking Zoloft, warnings and precautions to be aware of include such things as an increased risk for suicidal thinking or behavior with the drug. Other warnings and precautions for Zoloft users concern not taking the medication for bipolar disorder, a condition that often causes symptoms similar to those seen with depression. If you are taking a MAOI inhibitor, or have taken one in the last two weeks, you should not take Zoloft.
Zoloft Warnings and Precautions: An Introduction
Before taking Zoloft, let your healthcare provider know if you have:
- Bipolar disorder or a family history of bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression)
- A history of suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts
- Had a recent heart attack (or if you have unstable heart disease)
- Seizures or epilepsy
- Liver disease, including liver failure or cirrhosis
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, preservatives, or latex.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Some Zoloft Warnings and Precautions
Some warnings and precautions to be aware of with Zoloft include the following:
- Antidepressants (including Zoloft) may increase the risk of suicidal thinking or behavior in children, teenagers, and adults (see Depression and Suicide for more information). Therefore, if you notice any changes in symptoms or new symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider immediately. Some of these symptoms may include anxiety, hostility, agitation, panic, restlessness, hallucinations, extreme hyperactivity, and suicidal thinking or behavior (see Zoloft and Suicide for more information).
- Before prescribing Zoloft for depression, your healthcare provider should make sure that you do not have bipolar disorder (as opposed to depression). Sometimes, the symptoms of bipolar disorder and depression are very similar, and Zoloft can cause problems in people with bipolar disorder.
- Antidepressants can cause a group of dangerous symptoms known as serotonin syndrome. Taking Zoloft with other medications that affect serotonin can increase your risk of serotonin syndrome. These medications include other antidepressants, triptans (migraine medications), and several other medications (see Zoloft Drug Interactions for more information). Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you have any possible symptoms of serotonin syndrome, including:
o Confusiono Seeing or hearing things that are not really there (hallucinations)o Fast heartbeat (tachycardia)o Feeling fainto Fevero Sweatingo Muscle spasmso Difficulty walkingo Diarrhea.
- The dropper that comes with the liquid version of Zoloft (Zoloft oral concentrate), contains dry natural rubber, which can cause problems for people with latex allergies.
- There is a possibility that taking Zoloft may cause seizures. This possibility is more likely if you have a seizure disorder or a history of such a disorder. Talk to your healthcare professional before taking Zoloft if you have seizures or have had them in the past.
- If you are stopping Zoloft, you should be monitored by a healthcare professional for Zoloft withdrawal symptoms. If you do develop any symptoms of Zoloft withdrawal, such as irritability, anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy, or insomnia, your healthcare provider may slow down the rate at which the Zoloft is stopped (see Zoloft Withdrawal).
- There is a possibility that Zoloft may cause unwanted weight loss (see Zoloft and Weight Loss).
- Zoloft may cause bleeding in the stomach or intestines. This risk is increased in those taking aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen. Symptoms of gastrointestinal bleeding may include:
o Bright red blood coating the stoolo Dark blood mixed with the stoolo Black or tarry stoolo Bright red blood in vomito Vomit that has the appearance of coffee grounds.If you experience any of these symptoms, call your healthcare provider.
- If you are elderly or taking a diuretic, Zoloft could cause low salt levels in the blood (hyponatremia). This generally returns to "normal" when Zoloft is stopped.
- Zoloft can interact with certain medications (see Zoloft Drug Interactions).
- Zoloft may affect your ability to perform complex tasks requiring mental and motor skills. Therefore, you should become accustomed to the effects of Zoloft before engaging in activities requiring mental or motor concentration (such as driving a car or operating machinery).
- Zoloft is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that Zoloft may not be safe to use during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using Zoloft during pregnancy (see Zoloft and Pregnancy for more information).
- Zoloft passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding, or plan to start breastfeeding, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about using Zoloft (see Zoloft and Breastfeeding for more information).
- If you are over 65 years old, your healthcare provider may choose to make necessary dosing adjustments with caution.