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Generic Zoloft



Zoloft is Sertraline hydrochloride. Zoloft belongs to a class of antidepressant drugs called SSRIs or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. It inhibits the reuptake or reabsorption of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, to make it stay longer in the synapse or nerve pathways and maintain its level of concentration. Maintaining the appropriate level of concentration of serotonin is vital because a low level of the neurotransmitter was found to lead to a number of symptoms such as depression, anger, sexuality, appetite, among others. It was found to be associated to such psychological disorders as obsessive compulsive disorder, clinical depression, irritable bowel syndrome or IBS, bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders.

The Zoloft drug is available in tablet form with dosages of 25, 50 and 100 mg. Each tablet dosage is differentiated with color; green for the 25 mg, blue for the 50 mg, and yellow for the 100 mg. It is also available in oral concentrate form in a 60 ml bottle. Each ml of the solution is equivalent to a 20 mg of sertraline hydrochloride. The minimum dose efefctivity of the drug is usually 50 mg/ day. To protect the body from its known side effects, the dosage is usually started lower, from 25 to 37.5 mg at the start of the treatment, before increasing to 50 mg. There have been cases when patients that do not effectively respond to the drug are given higher dosages; up to 200 mg.

Zoloft has a variety of side effects. The drug has been known to effect a level of delay of the onset of sexual climax or what they call anorgasmia. Because of this, the drug has been used for treating premature ejaculation. It has also been known to decrease the libido. There have been cases when the patient has already withdrawn from taking the drug that he can experience the so-called post SSRI sexual dysfunction.

Aside from this, it has been known to cause a number of sleep-related disorders such as insomnia or the trouble of sleeping, or increased sleeping time or Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) associated with narcolepsy and characterized by cataplexy or the feeling of muscular weakness especially in the face. Aside form this, bruxism or the grinding of teeth, usually while sleeping, is also experienced. The patient can also experience confusion and little or no sense of reality such as depersonalization or the "nothing is real" syndrome and asthenia or the feeling of muscle weakness without actual strength loss.

If not taken progressively, the drug will tend to increase the symptoms of depression and anxiety during the first few days or weeks of treatment. Although the symptoms will go away as the body adjusts, this can be very frustrating for the patient. Because of this, the doctor should appropriately advise this side effect before hand. For about 0.5 % of the patients, it has been known to induce mania or elevated state of mood or energy and hypomania, a lesser symptom characterized with the absence of psychotic characteristics. Patients were also known to experience dysphoria or unpleasant and uncomfortable mood.

The Food and Drug Administration has released a warning regarding the taking of the Zoloft drug. A couple of incidents and one study poitned to the possibility that the drug can increase the tendency of the patient to commit suicide, especially those afflicted with bipolar disorder. Zoloft, like other SSRI drugs, has a discontinuation syndrome or withdrawal symptoms if the dosage given to the patient is not properly tapered through the elimination process. Most patients experience difficulty in discontinuing the use of SSRI drugs.



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