If you are suffering from depression and have been seeking help, you may have heard of a drug called Zoloft. With the generic name of sertraline, Zoloft is used to treat depression and listed in a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
In addition to being an antidepressant, Zoloft can also be used to treat obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
This class of drugs is the most prescribed type of antidepressant in the United States because their side effects are minimal. Despite this, Zoloft has a black-box warning due to an increased risk of suicide, a possible mental side effect of the drug among those 24 and under with a psychiatric problem, according to Everyday Health. It should be noted some young people experience suicidal thoughts when they first begin to take an antidepressant. However, according to Drugs.com Zoloft has been approved by the FDA for children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Most of Zoloft’s common side effects are physical, including nausea, diarrhea, drowsiness, headache, excessive sweating, uncontrollable shaking of a part of your body, and constipation. However, some side effects can be rather serious. The U.S. National Library of Medicine says to call your doctor if you experience seizures, fever, abnormal bleeding or bruising, or hallucinating.
Another serious side effect of Zoloft is serotonin syndrome, caused by a high level of serotonin in your brain. Zoloft can cause this because the drug works by increasing the availability of serotonin in your brain. Similar to Zoloft, serotonin syndrome can cause diarrhea, excessive sweating, and headaches, but severe symptoms can include high fever, seizures, irregular heartbeat, and unconsciousness.