FAQs | ZOLOFT® (sertraline HCl) | Safety Info

Frequently Asked Questions

Although your doctor is the best source for answering your specific questions about depression and treatment with ZOLOFT, you can find answers to common questions here.

General Information About ZOLOFT

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What is ZOLOFT?

ZOLOFT is a prescription medicine used to treat the following conditions in adults:

  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

ZOLOFT is also indicated to treat children with OCD age 6 to 17 years.

It is important to talk with your doctor about the risks of treating depression and also the risks of not treating it. You should discuss all treatment choices with your doctor.

Talk to your doctor if you do not think that your condition is getting better with ZOLOFT treatment.

What is the most important information I should know about ZOLOFT?

ZOLOFT and other antidepressant medicines may cause serious side effects. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms, or call 911 if there is an emergency.

1. Suicidal thoughts or actions:

  • ZOLOFT and other antidepressant medicines may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in some people 24 years of age and younger, especially within the first few months of treatment or when the dose is changed
  • Depression or other serious mental illnesses are the most important causes of suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Watch for these changes and call your healthcare provider right away if you notice new or sudden changes in mood, behavior, actions, thoughts, or feelings, especially if severe
    • Pay particular attention to such changes when ZOLOFT is started or when the dose is changed
    • Keep all follow-up visits with your healthcare provider and call between visits if you are worried about symptoms

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms, or call 911 if there is an emergency, especially if they are new, worse, or worry you:

  • attempts to commit suicide
  • acting aggressive or violent
  • new or worse depression
  • feeling agitated, restless, angry, or irritable
  • an increase in activity or talking more than what is normal for you
  • acting on dangerous impulses
  • thoughts about suicide or dying
  • new or worse anxiety or panic attacks
  • trouble sleeping
  • other unusual changes in behavior or mood

2. Serotonin Syndrome. This condition can be life-threatening and symptoms may include:

  • agitation, hallucinations, coma, or other changes in mental status
  • racing heartbeat, high or low blood pressure
  • coordination problems or muscle twitching (overactive reflexes)
  • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • sweating or fever
  • muscle rigidity

3. Increased chance of bleeding. ZOLOFT and other antidepressant medicines may increase your risk of bleeding or bruising, especially if you take the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs, like ibuprofen or naproxen), or aspirin.

4. Manic episodes. Symptoms may include:

  • greatly increased energy
  • racing thoughts
  • unusually grand ideas
  • severe trouble sleeping
  • reckless behavior
  • excessive happiness or irritability
  • talking more or faster than usual

5. Seizures or convulsions.

6. Glaucoma (angle-closure glaucoma). Many antidepressant medicines including ZOLOFT may cause a certain type of eye problem called angle-closure glaucoma. Call your healthcare provider if you have eye pain, changes in your vision, or swelling or redness in or around the eye. Only some people are at risk for these problems. You may want to undergo an eye examination to see if you are at risk and receive preventative treatment if you are.

7. Changes in appetite or weight. Children and adolescents should have height and weight monitored during treatment.

8. Low salt (sodium) levels in the blood. Elderly people may be at greater risk for this. Symptoms may include:

  • headache
  • weakness or feeling unsteady
  • confusion, problems concentrating or thinking, or memory problems

Do not stop ZOLOFT without first talking to your healthcare provider. Stopping ZOLOFT too quickly may cause serious symptoms including:

  • anxiety, irritability, high or low mood, feeling restless or changes in sleep habits
  • headache, sweating, nausea, dizziness
  • electric shock-like sensations, shaking, confusion

How long does it take to feel better with ZOLOFT?

The time it takes for ZOLOFT to work is different for each individual and condition. Even if you don't feel better right away, it is important to keep taking ZOLOFT as directed by your doctor.

How to Get Brand-Name ZOLOFT

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How can I ensure that I won’t get switched to a generic substitute?

Here are 3 suggested tips to help make sure you receive brand-name ZOLOFT and not a generic:

  1. At your doctor’s office: Ask your doctor to prescribe brand-name ZOLOFT and to indicate “DAW” (Dispense As Written)—or the language used in your state—on all of your ZOLOFT prescriptions.
  2. At your pharmacy’s drop-off: Tell the pharmacist that you want brand-name ZOLOFT—and be sure to use the ZOLOFT Savings Card. The ZOLOFT Savings Card can only be used with brand-name ZOLOFT.
  3. At your pharmacy’s pick-up: Check your pills to be sure they’re brand-name ZOLOFT—not the generic—and also check that you’ve saved on your prescription.

What should I do if I receive a generic substitute instead of brand-name ZOLOFT?

Talk to your doctor and/or your pharmacist to ask if you should be getting brand-name ZOLOFT.

How do I know if I received brand-name ZOLOFT?

Check your pills for the distinctive shape and markings of brand-name ZOLOFT.

Saving on ZOLOFT

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What is the ZOLOFT Savings Card?

The ZOLOFT Savings Card allows eligible patients to pay as little as $4 every time they get a 30-day fill of brand-name ZOLOFT—and could save up to $1,800 a year. If you have a prescription for brand-name ZOLOFT, you can use the card for every fill through December 31, 2020.*

*Terms and conditions apply.

How do I use the ZOLOFT Savings Card?

There are 2 ways to use the card immediately. Once you’ve activated your Savings Card, you can either:

  • Bring a printed copy of it to the pharmacy
  • Show it to your pharmacist on your phone

You can keep this card with you and continue to save on each fill for ZOLOFT through December 31, 2020.

Who is eligible to use the ZOLOFT Savings Card?

To be eligible to use a ZOLOFT Savings Card, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Not be a resident of Massachusetts
  • Not be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or any other federal or state healthcare programs
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The Card is not valid for California residents whose prescriptions are covered in whole or in part by third-party insurance, a healthcare service plan, or other health coverage where a lower cost generic is available, unless applicable step therapy or prior authorization requirements have been completed.

Please check with your healthcare professional or insurer to confirm eligibility.

To learn the full details of who is eligible, please see the full Terms and Conditions.

How do I get a ZOLOFT Savings Card?

To get a Savings Card, register here and then download your card or have it sent to you via mail, email, or text.

If I already have a ZOLOFT Savings Card, how can I activate it?

You can activate your Savings Card here.

Where can I use the ZOLOFT Savings Card?

You can use the Savings Card at any participating pharmacy. Use the Pharmacy Finder to locate a pharmacy near you that has recently accepted the ZOLOFT Savings Card.

Can I use the ZOLOFT Savings Card on a previously filled prescription?

The ZOLOFT Savings Card can only be used for new prescriptions that are filled after you have activated the card.

Does the ZOLOFT Savings Card work at nonparticipating pharmacies?

Yes, for reimbursement when using a nonparticipating pharmacy: Pay for your ZOLOFT prescription, and mail a copy of the original pharmacy receipt (cash register receipt NOT valid) with product name, date, and amount circled to: ZOLOFT Savings Card, 2250 Perimeter Park Drive, Suite 300, Morrisville, NC 27560. Be sure to include a copy of the front of your ZOLOFT Savings Card, your name, and mailing address.

Does the ZOLOFT Savings Card work through mail-order pharmacies?

Yes, for reimbursement when using the ZOLOFT Savings Card through a mail-order pharmacy: Pay for your ZOLOFT prescription, and mail a copy of the original pharmacy receipt (cash register receipt NOT valid) with product name, date, and amount circled to: ZOLOFT Savings Card, 2250 Perimeter Park Drive, Suite 300, Morrisville, NC 27560. Be sure to include a copy of the front of your ZOLOFT Savings Card, your name, and mailing address.

Taking ZOLOFT

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What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking ZOLOFT?

Before starting ZOLOFT, tell your healthcare provider:

  • if you have:
    • liver problems
    • heart problems
    • bipolar disorder or mania
    • kidney problems
    • have had seizures or convulsions
    • low sodium levels in your blood
    • a history of a stroke
    • high blood pressure
    • have had bleeding problems
  • if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant: Your baby may have withdrawal symptoms after birth or may be at increased risk for a serious lung problem at birth. Talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of taking ZOLOFT during pregnancy.
  • if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed: A small amount of ZOLOFT may pass into your breast milk. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby while taking ZOLOFT.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines that you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

ZOLOFT and some medicines may interact with each other, may not work as well, or may cause serious side effects.

Your healthcare provider or pharmacist can tell you if it is safe to take ZOLOFT with your other medicines. Do not start or stop any medicine while taking ZOLOFT without talking to your healthcare provider first.

Can I take ZOLOFT with other medications?

Do not take ZOLOFT if you currently take, or have taken within the last 14 days, any medicine known as an MAOI (including intravenous methylene blue or the antibiotic linezolid). Allow 14 days after stopping ZOLOFT before starting an MAOI. Taking an MAOI with ZOLOFT can cause serious or even life-threatening side effects.

Before taking ZOLOFT, tell your doctor and pharmacist about all prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements you take or plan to take, including: those to treat migraines, psychiatric disorders (including other antidepressants or amphetamines) to avoid a potentially life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome; aspirin, other NSAID pain relievers, or blood thinners because they may increase the risk of bleeding.

Do not take ZOLOFT with other medicines containing sertraline (sertraline HCL, sertraline hydrochloride, etc.)

Do not take ZOLOFT with the antipsychotic medicine pimozide (Orap®) because this can cause serious heart problems.

Do not take Antabuse® (disulfiram) (if you are taking the liquid form of ZOLOFT) due to the alcohol content.

How should I take ZOLOFT?

  • Take ZOLOFT exactly as prescribed. Your healthcare provider may need to change the dose of ZOLOFT until it is the right dose for you.
  • ZOLOFT Tablets may be taken with or without food.
  • ZOLOFT Oral Concentrate may look cloudy or hazy after mixing—this is normal.
  • ZOLOFT Oral Concentrate must be diluted before use:
    • Do not mix ZOLOFT until you are ready to take it.
    • When diluting ZOLOFT Oral Concentrate, use only water, ginger ale, lemon/lime soda, lemonade, or orange juice.
    • The oral dropper contains latex. If you are sensitive or allergic to latex, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about the best way to measure your medicine.
  • If you miss a dose of ZOLOFT, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of ZOLOFT at the same time.

If you take too much ZOLOFT, call your healthcare provider or poison control center right away, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away.

What should I avoid while taking ZOLOFT?

ZOLOFT can cause sleepiness or may affect your ability to make decisions, think clearly, or react quickly. You should not drive, operate heavy machinery, or do other dangerous activities until you know how ZOLOFT affects you. Do not drink alcohol while you take ZOLOFT.

How should I store ZOLOFT?

  • Store ZOLOFT at room temperature, 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C).
  • Keep the ZOLOFT bottle closed tightly.

Safety & Possible Side Effects

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What are the possible side effects of ZOLOFT?

ZOLOFT may cause serious side effects, including:

The most common side effects in adults who take ZOLOFT include:

  • nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, or indigestion
  • increased sweating
  • tremor or shaking
  • agitation
  • change in sleep habits including increased sleepiness or insomnia
  • sexual problems including decreased libido and ejaculation failure
  • feeling tired or fatigued
  • anxiety

The most common side effects in children and adolescents who take ZOLOFT include abnormal increase in muscle movement or agitation, nose bleeds, urinary incontinence, aggressive reaction, possible slowed growth rate, and weight change. Your child’s height and weight should be monitored during treatment with ZOLOFT.

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. These are not all the possible side effects of ZOLOFT. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Who should not take ZOLOFT?

Do not take ZOLOFT if you:

  • take a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you are not sure if you take an MAOI, including the antibiotic linezolid.
  • have taken an MAOI within 2 weeks of stopping ZOLOFT unless directed to do so by your healthcare provider.
  • have stopped taking an MAOI in the last 2 weeks unless directed to do so by your healthcare provider.
  • take any other medicines that contain sertraline (such as sertraline HCl or sertraline hydrochloride).
  • take the antipsychotic medicine pimozide (Orap®) because this can cause serious heart problems.
  • are allergic to sertraline or any of the ingredients in ZOLOFT. See the Medication Guide for a complete list of ingredients in ZOLOFT.
  • take Antabuse® (disulfiram) (if you are taking the liquid form of ZOLOFT) due to the alcohol content.

People who take ZOLOFT close in time to an MAOI may have serious or even life-threatening side effects. Get medical help right away if you have any of these symptoms:

  • high fever
  • rapid changes in heart rate or blood pressure
  • uncontrolled muscle spasms
  • confusion
  • stiff muscles
  • loss of consciousness (pass out)
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