Zoloft (Sertraline / Lustral): What is Zoloft, How It Works, Generic and Branded Zoloft, Dosage and Intake,Side Effects and Contraindications, Interaction with Drugs, Withdrawal Syndrome



What is Zoloft

21th century is often called a century of psychic disorders. Why do people suffer from mental disorders? Why are they becoming a real danger for the modern society? Among the factors that have caused the present situation one can name modern rhythm of life that has increased several times recently, career and business stresses, unstable situation in the world and so on. One should also mention that post war traumas has considerably effected people in the modern society. Thus, people need professional therapeutic support in order to cope with the mentioned problems. In difficult cases psychotherapy is not enough so it is required that people apply pharmaceutical treatment. Where is demand, there is supply. Recently a great number of pharmaceutical companies have introduced antidepressants at the market as a response to the growing demand. In this article we will talk about Zoloft, one of the most popular medications designed for the treatment of psychic disorders.

What is Zoloft (Sertraline)?

Zoloft refers to the group of SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). The active ingredient of Zoloft is Sertraline, the medical substance that was recognized one of the best medications among the new age antidepressants according to the research conducted in 2009. Sertraline is characterized by the sedative and stimulating effect on the psychic state. It is used in patients suffering both from depression often accompanied by psychic inhibition, hypersomnia, apathy etc. and anxious depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, and impatience.

Being combined with cognitive behavioral therapy Sertraline shows excellent results in treating the obsessive compulsory disorders. Sertraline does not cause psychic or physiological addiction and weight loss.

Branded Zoloft

Sertraline.svgBranded Zoloft has two market names: Zoloft and Lustral.

Both Zoloft and Lustral are produced in the form white oval film-coated pills containing 50 mg and 100 mg of the active substance. Auxiliary substances of both medications include Calcium Phosphate, microcrystalline Cellulose, hydroxypropil Cellulose, Magnesium Stearate, Titanium Dioxide, Sodium Starch Glicolate, Polyethylene Glycol, Polysorbates.

Not long ago these medications were one of the most frequently prescribed antidepressants in the Western World.

What is Zoloft used for?

Zoloft is prescribed for patients in case of depressions of various aetiology (both for treatment and prevention), obsessive compulsory disorders, panic disorders, post traumatic stress disorders and social phobias.

How does Zoloft work?

Being a SSRI Zoloft (Sertraline) intensifies its effect as well as has little influence on the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine. Being taken in therapeutic dosages Zoloft blocks the serotonin uptake thrombocytes. Thus, Sertraline causes the consecutive slowdown of adrenergic activity in locus ceruleus. Zoloft also slows down the serotonin neurons firing in medulla midline causing the increase of initial locus ceruleus activity and consecutive reduction of postsynaptic beta-blockers and presynaptic alpha adrenoceptors.

Zofolt does not cause drug dependence, does not produce psychostimulant action as well as sedative, antimuscarinic and cardiotoxic effect. It does not intensify the activity of sympathetic nervous system. Unlike the tricyclic antidepressants Zoloft does not cause the weight increase while treating depression or obsessive compulsory disorders (annoying states). Unlike other serotonin reuptake inhibitors Zoloft produces smaller inversion of psychic phases from depression to hypomania and mania.

Primary therapeutic benefit develops by the end of the first week; larger benefit is obtained in 2-4 weeks. Maximal therapeutic benefit is gained in three months.

Zoloft quickly neutralize anxiety, phobias and melancholy. However, at the very beginning of treatment Zoloft may intensify the symptoms of anxiety, so the patient may need additional prescription of tranquillizers.

Generic Zoloft at Canadian Pharmacy

Zoloft is famous for having various generic versions produced by different pharmaceutical companies all over the world. Major production of generic Zoloft is located in India, Turkey, and European countries.

No matter what the origin of Generic Zoloft at Canadian Pharmacy mycanadianpharmacyrx.com is every generic drug has nearly identical content of main and auxiliary substances as well as therapeutic properties. We draw your attention that similar to the branded product generic versions of Zoloft do not cause psychic or physiological drug abuse as well as well as body weight gain.

Below we have collected the facts about the most popular generic medications. The following information is provided for the reference only and cannot be used as an indication for treatment.

Zoloft generics produced in India include:

  • Aleval. Form: round blue pills. Major ingredient: Sertraline Hydrochloride. Aleval is offered in different dosages: 25, 50 and 100 mg of Sertraline. Each pack contains 14 pills. Aleval is not used in patients under 18 (for panic disorders) and under 6 (for depressive states), pregnant and lactating women, and patients suffering from uncontrolled epilepsy. Aleval is prescribed for the treatment of depressive states of different aetiology, obsessive compulsory disorders, panic and post traumatic disorders.
  • Zosert. Form: pills. Major ingredient: Sertraline Hydrochloride. Zosert contains 20 mg and 50 mg of the active substance. Each pack contains 30 pills. Zosert is prescribed for treating the depressive states of different nature in patients suffering from mono- and bipolar disorders. Zosert is not recommended for people under 17, pregnant and lactating women and patients taking MAO inhibitors.
  • Serenata. Form: white pills. Active ingredient: Sertraline Hydrochloride. Serenata is produced in two dosages: 50 and 100 mg of Sertraline. The medical drug is sold in ten pill packs. It is not recommended for patients with unstable epilepsy, children under 6, pregnant and lactating women, people suffering from kidney or liver disorders, manias. The antidepressant is prescribed for treating depression of different etiology, panic and obsessive compulsory disorders.
  • Serlift. Form: pills. Active ingredient: Sertraline Hydrochloride. Therapeutic indications: agoraphobia, anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive compulsory disorder, anorexia nervosa, depression, bulimia nervosa, post traumatic stress disorder. Serlift contains 50 and 100 mg of Sertraline. The drug is sold in fourteen pill packs. Serlift is not for patients under 6, lactating and pregnant women, people suffering from epilepsy and taking MAO inhibitors.

Zoloft generics of Eastern European origin involve the following medications:

  • Asentra. Country of origin: Slovenia. Form: white round pill. Dosage: 50 mg and 100 mg of Sertraline. Therapeutic indication: depression, post traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, obsessive compulsory disorder. Contraindications: unstable epilepsy, children under 6, pregnant and lactating women, patients with drug idiosyncrasy.
  • Stimuloton. Country of origin: Hungary. Stimuloton is produced in the form of white oval pills in a dose of 50 mg and 100 mg of Sertraline. Therapeutic indications, contraindications and side effects are similar to the branded medication.
  • Sertran. Country of origin: Bulgaria. Form: film-coated pill containing 50 and 100 mg of Sertraline. Sertran is designed for treating social phobias, panic disorders, depression, obsessive compulsory and post traumatic stress disorders. Sertran is not prescribed for people suffering from epilepsy, diabetes, patients under 16 and pregnant and lactating women. Sertran is prescribed with care for people with blood pressure problems and people who take Aspirin, Tramadol or MAO inhibitors.

European and North American pharmaceutical producers have also introduced analogues of Zoloft at the market. Among them one can mention:

  • Deprefolt. Country of origin: Iceland. Form: white oval film-coated pills. Dosage: 50 mg and 100 mg of Sertraline. Each pack contains 10 pills. Active ingredient: Sertraline Hydrochloride. Deprefolt is aimed at curing the following mental disorders: depressions, panic disorders, post traumatic and obsessive compulsory disorders. The contraindications and side effects of Deprefolt are similar to other generics of Zoloft.
  • Setaloft. Country of origin: Iceland. Form: white oval film-coated pills containing 50 mg and 100 mg of Sertraline. Pack size: 30 pills. Therapeutic indications: social phobia, posttraumatic and panic disorders, depression, obsessive compulsory disorder. Contraindications and precautions: allergic reactions, age under 18, simultaneous intake of MAO inhibitors, epilepsy.
  • Zalox. Country of origin: Canada (MyCanadianPharmacyRx Recommends). Form: gelatin capsules. Dosage: 25, 50 and 100 mg of Sertraline. Zalox is prescribed for treating depressive states with or without anxiety symptoms, preventing depression recurrence, panic disorders with or without agoraphobia, obsessive compulsory disorders. The medication is not suitable for patients under 13 or suffering from allergic reactions. Simultaneous intake of MAO inhibitors is very dangerous.

Among the important players of the pharmaceutical market Turkey is holding one of the key positions with a large selection of pharmaceutical products.

The most popular antidepressants manufactured by Turkish companies include:

  • Seralin. Form: gelatin capsules. Dosage: 50 mg of Sertraline. Therapeutic indication: treatment of depressive states with mono- and bipolar affective disorders, depression relapse prevention. Seralin is not recommended for people with allergic reactions, liver or kidney disorders, epilepsy.
  • Misol. Form: white oval pills. Available dosage: 50 and 100 mg of Sertraline. Active ingredient: Sertraline Hydrochloride. Therapeutic indications: depressive states, depression relapse prevention, social phobia, panic disorders with or without agoraphobia, obsessive compulsory disorders in adults and children over 6, post traumatic disorders.
  • Mistral. Form: white oval pills. Major active ingredient: Sertraline Hydrochloride. Mistral is produced in two dosages equivalent to 50 mg and 100 mg of Sertraline. Major therapeutic indication of Mistral is depressions including symptoms of anxiety, obsessive compulsory disorders, and post traumatic stress disorders. Contraindications include serious liver disorders, simultaneous intake of MAO inhibitors.

Dosage and Rules of Intake

Zoloft Dosage and Rules of IntakeUsually Zoloft is taken once a day in the morning or in the evening. The drug can be taken without the consideration of meal. As a rule, the prescribed dose of Sertraline depends upon the disease to be cured.

If the patient suffers from depression or OCD (obsessive compulsory disorder) he should start with 50 mg.

Social phobias, panic and post traumatic disorders require to start with 25 mg increased up to 50 mg of Sertraline in a week. The given treatment scheme allows decreasing the frequency of early side effects typical of panic disorders.

If the effect is not satisfactory the dose of 50 mg per day can be increased, but not more frequent than once a week. The maximal daily dose of 200 mg should not be exceeded.

Children and teenagers of 13-17 suffering from OCD are prescribed 50 mg of Sertraline (Zoloft). Children of 6 – 12 should start with 25 mg and increase the dose up to 50 mg in a week. In order to avoid overdose in children one should take into account their smaller weight if the dosage should be increased more than 50 mg of Sertraline.

Elderly patients should take Zoloft in the same doses as younger patients are prescribed.


No heavy symptoms of Zoloft overdose are revealed even if the drug is taken in large dosages. However, if Zoloft is taken together with other medications or alcohol intoxication may occur. Some symptoms of serotonin syndrome are also possible: nausea, vomiting, somnolence, tachycardia, agitation, dizziness, diarrhea, excessive sweating, mioclonia, and hyperrexlexia.

In such cases patients need an intensive care and constant monitoring of the vital health functions. It is not recommended to induce vomiting. Due to the pharmaceutical features of Zoloft the conducting of dialysis, hemoperfusion or blood transfusion may turn to be ineffective. Sometimes activated carbon may turn to be more effective.

Contraindications and Side Effects

Despite the fact that Zoloft is one of the most popular medications applied in the treatment of mental disorders it has certain restrictions and contraindications as well.

Zoloft is not prescribed for patients who take MAO inhibitors and pimozide. Pregnant and lactating women are recommended to refrain from taking the given medication. However, if it is vitally important to start taking Zoloft lactating women are recommended to discontinue breeding. Zoloft is not for use in children under 6 years old and patients with different allergic reactions to the medication components.

Zoloft should be prescribed very carefully if the patient has organic cerebropathy including mental retardation, epilepsy, liver decompensation, kidney failure or evident weight loss. In the above-mentioned cases the doctor should prescribe smaller dosages or increased intervals between the drug intakes.

If the patient who suffers from the above-mentioned diseases does not follow the recommended scheme of therapy with Zoloft he or she may face stronger side effects that may lead to serious health disorders.

Zoloft side effects may negatively influence nearly all the systems of the human body.

Gastrointestinal system may show the following disorders: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, stomach aches, pancreatitis, dryness of the mouth, hepatitis, liver failure, loss of appetite (sometimes turning into anorexia). The cessation of the medication results in the normalization of the health state.

Cardio-vascular system may respond with heart beating, tachycardia, and arterial hypertension.

Central and peripheral nervous system is one of the most damaged systems in case of inadequate treatment with Zoloft. The patient may suffer from extrapyramidal disorders such as dyskinesia, akathisia, grinding of teeth, gait disorder. The other nervous disorders involve spasms, paresthesia, somnolence, fainting, headaches, migraine, dizziness, insomnia, trepidation, anxiety, agitation, hypomania, mania, euphoria, nightmares, hallucinations, psychosis, decrease of libido, coma, or suicide.

The other systems of the human body may also be affected during the treatment with Zofolt:

  • Endocrine system: hyperprolactinemia, hypotheriosis;
  • Respiratory system: bronchial spasm, oscitation;
  • Bone and muscle system: muscle cramps, arthralgia;
  • Reproductive system: sexual dysfunction (decrease of libido), galactorhea, gynecomastia, priapism, menstrual disorder;
  • Sense organs: vision problems, mydriasis, ringing in the ears;
  • Hematopoietic system: possible development of leucopenia and thrombopenia.

Different dermatological and allergic reactions include skin redness, hot flashes, alopecia, photoallergy, Urticaria, itching, anaphylactoid reaction, angioedema, periorbital edema, face edema, Stevens-Johnson syndrome and epidermal necrolysis (very rare).

Zoloft and Other Medical Drugs

Sertraline has certain restrictions while being prescribed together with some medical drugs. Simultaneous intake of Zofolt with some medications may cause serious health disorders.

MAO inhibitors

If Sertraline is taken together with MAO inhibitors (including selective inhibitors and inhibitors with reversible action) the patient may suffer from heavy health complications like serotonin syndrome, hyperthermia, rigidity, myoclonia, instability of vegetative nervous system, changes of psychic state including increased irritability, expressed agitation and mental confusion that may turn to the delirious state or coma. Similar complications (sometimes with lethal outcome) may occur if MAO inhibitors are prescribed together with antidepressants that inhibit neuronal uptake of monoamines.

Alcohol and central nervous system depressants

Combined application of Sertraline and central nervous depressants requires strict control. It is forbidden to drink alcohol and take medication containing ethanol during the course of Sertraline therapy.

Anticoagulants of indirect action

Simultaneous intake of anticoagulants and Sertraline cause insignificant increase of prothrombin time. In such cases patients are recommended to control the prothrombin time when the treatment is begun and right after its cessation.

Zoloft vs. Other Antidepressants

Zoloft vs Prozac

Zoloft and Prozac are the most popular antidepressants prescribed for patients suffering from mental disorders. Both Zoloft and Prozac are used for the treatment of depressive states, obsessive compulsory disorders and so on. Both medications are not prescribed for pregnant and lactating women and patients suffering from epilepsy, severe kidney disorders or taking MAO inhibitors.

Zoloft vs Lexapro

Zoloft and Lexapro refer to the SSRI group. It treats anxiety and depressions of different etiology. Contraindications, side effects and medical action are similar to those of Zoloft. The difference is only in the active ingredients of Zoloft and Lexapro that are Sertraline and Escitalopram correspondingly.

Special Notes

In the course of treatment it is vitally important to control the patient’s behavior in order to prevent suicide attempts until he or she shows improved psychic state as a result of the conducted treatment. Sertralin is prescribed after 14 days of MAO inhibitor therapy cessation. Women of reproductive age should apply adequate contraceptive methods during the treatment with Zoloft. While taking Zoloft one should be careful while driving a car or performing other activities requiring boosting attention span and high speed of psychomotor action.

Withdrawal syndrome

After the Zoloft therapy rare cases of the withdrawal syndrome occur. Zoloft withdrawal symptoms may include depression, paresthesia, hypesthesia, hallucinations, aggressive reactions, psychomotor agitation, anxiety or symptoms of psychosis. As a rule, all these symptoms cannot be differed from the basic diseases.

The duration of the withdrawal syndrome usually depends upon the duration of Zoloft treatment and the general health state of the patient. Usually, such symptoms appear within the first two weeks and disappear by the end of the third week after the therapy of Zoloft is finished.

It is very difficult for the patient to start working or doing regular house work when he or she suffers from the withdrawal syndrome. That is why it is much better not to stop the Zoloft therapy sharply. The patient is usually recommended to get prepared for that within a certain period of time.


F-A-QDoes Zoloft cause weight gain?

Yes, Zoloft may cause weight gain or loss in rare cases. It depends upon the health state of the patients, his diagnosis and hormone balance, if the patient notices any sharp changes in his weight he should apply to the doctor for the medical consultation.

Is it possible to take Zoloft during pregnancy?

No, Zoloft is not recommended for the pregnant or breast-feeding women. However, if there is a strong necessity for the woman to start the therapy with Zoloft she should discontinue lactating.

Can I take alcohol and Zoloft together?

No, you cannot as it may cause serious problems with health. Alcohol nullifies the effect of Zoloft and at the same moment it may produce unexpected effect being it sudden unconsciousness or, on the contrary, rampage. Moreover, alcohol stimulates additional adrenalin rush that always results in higher blood pressure, strong or irregular heartbeat etc.

What are the symptoms of Zoloft overdose?

Zoloft is known to have no heavy symptoms in case of overdose. Nevertheless doctors recommend that patients take Zoloft with care and adhere to the medical instructions. They should avoid other medications that are not co-administered with Zoloft and alcohol as they may cause undesired side effects.