What is Zoloft? | Best time of day to take Zoloft | Tips for taking Zoloft | How to save
Zoloft (sertraline) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI, prescription medication. Zoloft is used as part of a treatment plan (which may include other methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy) to treat depression and several other mental health conditions.
Healthcare professionals usually prescribe Zoloft to be taken by mouth once daily. Zoloft can be taken with or without food and should be taken at about the same time each day. You may wonder what the best time of day to take Zoloft is. The best time of day to take Zoloft may vary by how it affects you. If Zoloft makes you drowsy, you may want to take it in the evening. However, if it makes you feel more awake, you may prefer to take it in the morning. Continue reading to learn more about Zoloft, including its side effects and the best time to take it.
What is Zoloft?
Zoloft is an SSRI antidepressant that contains the active ingredient sertraline. This SSRI medication can be used to treat the following conditions:
Anxiety is a very common condition. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, about 31% of adults experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. In a 2020 SingleCare survey, 62% of respondents reported experiencing some degree of anxiety. Zoloft is often used to treat anxiety symptoms. It can take about two to six weeks for Zoloft to work to treat anxiety.
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When is the best time of day to take Zoloft for anxiety?
A dose of Zoloft reaches its maximum level in the body at about 4.5 to 8.5 hours after the dose is taken. However, Zoloft must be taken every day on a regular basis in order to work. It is not a drug that is taken on an as-needed basis. It may take several weeks or even one or two months until you notice the full effect of Zoloft. Your doctor may start you on a low dose, and slowly increase the dose if needed. You should start to notice an improvement in symptoms after several weeks. If your symptoms do not improve, consult your healthcare provider. Do not stop taking Zoloft unless your doctor tells you to do so.
You may wonder, what is the best time of day to take Zoloft for anxiety? The prescribing information for Zoloft does not recommend an optimal time to take your daily dose. So, the best way to take Zoloft would be to see how it makes you feel and decide on the best time of day that works for you. In clinical trials, about 11 to 12% of patients who took Zoloft experienced side effects like fatigue and sleepiness. If Zoloft makes you feel tired, you may decide that taking it at bedtime works for you. However, about 20% of patients in clinical trials reported insomnia, or trouble sleeping, as a side effect of Zoloft. If Zoloft causes you to have trouble sleeping, you may choose to take it in the morning so that it does not affect your sleep.
Once you decide the best time of day to take Zoloft, it’s best to be consistent and take it around the same time every day. For example, if you take it at 10:00 pm, before bedtime, take it around the same time every night. You can use a weekly pill box to keep your medications organized, or set a nightly reminder on your phone to remind you to take your medication. You can also ask your pharmacist for other ideas on how to remember to take your medication.
Tips for taking Zoloft
Before taking Zoloft, tell your doctor about any allergies to medications, as well as all of the medications you take. This includes prescription and OTC drugs as well as vitamins or supplements. Also, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Your doctor will use all of this information to determine if Zoloft is safe for you to take and ensure there are no drug interactions. Some drugs, such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), cannot be taken within 14 days of taking Zoloft. Your doctor will also screen you for bipolar disorder before prescribing Zoloft.
The following list provides tips for taking Zoloft safely:
- When you get your Zoloft prescription, carefully read the prescription label. Also, read any medication guides and information leaflets that come with your prescription. If you have any questions or concerns, consult your healthcare provider for medical advice.
- You can take Zoloft with or without food. Take Zoloft at the same time once daily. For example, if you prefer to take Zoloft at bedtime, take it at bedtime every night. You can use a weekly pill organizer or reminder app on your phone to help you remember to take your medication.
- If you or your child takes the oral liquid, carefully follow the mixing instructions and ask your healthcare professional or pharmacist if you have questions. The appropriate dose should be measured and mixed with 4 ounces (a half-cup) of water, ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, lemonade, or orange juice only. The medication should be taken immediately after mixing. Use the supplied measuring device. Do not use a kitchen measuring device.
- Take Zoloft exactly as directed. Do not take more than prescribed. Do not stop taking Zoloft suddenly, because withdrawal symptoms could occur. If you need to stop taking Zoloft for any reason, your doctor will provide you with a tapering schedule to help you stop taking Zoloft slowly and safely.
- Store Zoloft at room temperature, away from direct light, heat, and moisture. Do not store Zoloft in a bathroom. Keep out of reach and out of sight of children and pets. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
- In the event of a missed dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose. Do not take extra medicine to try to make up for a missed dose. If you are not sure what to do, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
- Avoid alcohol while taking Zoloft. Do not drive until you know how Zoloft affects you, because it can make you drowsy and affect your reactions.
- Before taking Zoloft, your healthcare professional will discuss potential side effects. Report side effects to your doctor. Some of the most common side effects of Zoloft include nausea, diarrhea, trouble sleeping, dry mouth, tiredness, dizziness, and sexual problems. Tell your doctor if you have any sexual side effects, such as loss of interest in sex. Some sexual problems can be treated.
- Serious side effects, or life-threatening side effects, such as allergic reactions or skin reactions, can occur and require emergency medical attention, such as: hives, difficulty breathing, swelling, fever, burning eyes, sore throat, skin pain, red or purple rash, or blistering or peeling skin.
- Zoloft, like any antidepressant medication, may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. In clinical studies, this occurred more in children and young adults. However, for patients of any age who take Zoloft, family members and caregivers should be alert to changes in mood and behavior or suicidal thoughts and behavior. Report any changes to the doctor, or get emergency medical attention if needed.
- Serotonin syndrome is a life-threatening condition that can occur due to a buildup of excess serotonin. This is more likely to occur during a dosage change, or if you take more than one medication that affects serotonin levels. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as fever, sweating, shivering, agitation, hallucinations, fast heart rate, stiff muscles, twitching, incoordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, require emergency medical help.
How to save on your Zoloft prescription
Medications can be expensive, and many people have difficulty affording their prescriptions. Fortunately, there are several options available to help you save on your Zoloft prescription.
- Choose generic. Generic Zoloft (sertraline) will save you a considerable amount of money compared to the brand-name version. Generics are required by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be the same as their brand-name counterparts, so they are just as effective, but cost significantly less.
- Compare prices. Most insurance companies and Medicare prescription plans cover generic sertraline. However, you may want to ask your pharmacist to compare the price with your insurance to the price with a free SingleCare card. Anyone in the US with a valid prescription can use SingleCare at a participating pharmacy. What’s more, you can use SingleCare on refills, too. Access the SingleCare website or mobile app to start saving today.