Since the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride) for patient use in 1999, the antidepressant medication has helped millions of adults and pediatric patients manage their mental health conditions.
If you suffer from symptoms related to major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), Zoloft may help you.
Zoloft is a type of antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). These medications help the body rebalance its levels of a neurotransmitter called serotonin.
When taken as directed, Zoloft works by blocking the way that your body’s nerve receptors typically reabsorb serotonin, making more of it available in your body at once time.
Increased serotonin levels are linked with improved mood, regulated appetite, increased energy levels, and healthier sleep patterns, among other benefits.
All SSRIs, including Zoloft, are only available for purchase with a valid prescription. If you would like to begin to take Zoloft to help you with your mental health, you must first get medical advice from a healthcare professional about your symptoms.
If they believe you might benefit from Zoloft, they will write you a prescription with the appropriate form and dosage for your medical condition.
If you have a prescription for Zoloft, you can purchase it from a local or online pharmacy. Buying your medications from reputable online sources can be a safe, effective, and cost-effective way to order the drugs you need at a price you can afford.
In this article, I’ll explain whether you need a prescription for Zoloft, and if you can buy it online. I’ll also outline what Zoloft is, how it works, and if there is a generic alternative. I’ll also talk about Zoloft’s side effects, dosages, interactions with other drugs, and its costs.
Finally, I’ll help you determine how to know if Zoloft is right for you.
Do You Need a Prescription for Zoloft?
The FDA has approved Zoloft for patient use as a prescription medication. That’s because selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Zoloft are not for everyone.
For some patients, taking an antidepressant comes with risks of side effects and drug interactions. Anyone taking Zoloft or a similar drug should do so under the consistent care of a healthcare professional.
If you believe that taking Zoloft would benefit your mental health and well-being, talk to a doctor about whether the medication is proper for you.
If they agree, they’ll write you a prescription that will allow you to purchase Zoloft from a neighborhood or online pharmacy.
Can You Buy Zoloft Online?
Once you have a prescription, buying Zoloft or other prescription drugs from an online pharmacy is both easy and convenient.
Online sources are often able to sell medications for the lowest price, so shopping with them for the treatments you need can be an effective way to keep your drug costs down. Once you order your prescriptions, they are delivered right to your door.
What is Zoloft?
It is one of seven selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that help patients balance their emotions and improve their mood by increasing the amount of serotonin that is in their bodies at one time.
For more than twenty years, healthcare providers have prescribed Zoloft to millions of Americans in need of mental health support.
It’s a safe, effective, and generally tolerable first-line treatment option for adults who suffer from major depressive disorder (MDD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder (SAD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
It is also approved to treat OCD in pediatric patients over the age of six.
Occasionally healthcare providers will use their professional judgment to prescribe Zoloft “off-label” to manage disorders that the drug is not explicitly FDA-approved to treat.
Off-label uses for Zoloft include binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
How Does Zoloft Work?
Zoloft is a type of antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Other common SSRI drugs include citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), fluoxetine (Prozac), and vilazodone (Viibryd).
Healthcare professionals often recommend SSRI medications for patients with mental health conditions because they are effective, safe, to use, and do not cause serious side effects for many patients who take them.
Zoloft and other SSRI antidepressants work by increasing and rebalancing serotonin levels in your brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that helps your brain communicate by carrying messages between different cell receptors.
It also acts as a hormone, helping your body regulate your mood, appetite, sleep patterns, energy levels, and other emotional and physical processes.
Under normal circumstances, your body reabsorbs, or “reuptakes,” serotonin after the neurotransmitter conveys its message to an appropriate cell receptor.
When you take Zoloft, however, the drug blocks the reuptake process, leaving more serotonin available for your body to use.
Researchers are still studying the relationship between low serotonin levels and mental illness.
We know that when some patients take medications like Zoloft to increase or rebalance their serotonin levels, they experience a marked improvement in their mental, emotional, and psychological health.
Is There a Generic?
Zoloft is a brand-name prescription medication manufactured by Pfizer. It also comes as a generic medication that is identically beneficial and has the same active ingredients, but is often available for purchase at a lower price.
In its generic form, Zoloft is called sertraline. It is available in tablets, manufactured by Ivax Pharmaceuticals, and in an oral liquid form manufactured by Roxane Laboratories.
Everyone is different, but some patients who take Zoloft can experience side effects. Most are mild, although occasionally, more serious adverse effects can occur. The most common side effects include:
- Nausea or upset stomach
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Dry mouth
- Drowsiness, fatigue, or tiredness
- Loss of appetite
- Sleeplessness (insomnia)
The side effects of Zoloft can also include sexual dysfunction. Patients may experience a lowered libido, impotence, and difficulty achieving orgasm or ejaculating while taking this medication.
If you are taking Zoloft and begin to develop hives, joint pain, shallow breathing, sore throat, or swelling in your face, lips, tongue, or throat, seek emergency medical attention.
These symptoms are a sign of a rare but severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. It can be life-threatening if left untreated.
In rare cases, pediatric patients and young adults who take Zoloft may experience increased suicidal thoughts and behavior.
If you or someone you know is at risk of harming themselves or others, dial 9-1-1 or immediately go to the nearest emergency room.
Does Zoloft cause weight gain?
For certain patients, there is a link between taking Zoloft and experiencing weight changes—weight gain for some, and weight loss for others.
It’s not always clear, however, that those changes are directly attributable to the medication itself.
Some people who have depression eat more or less when they are undergoing treatment because they eat more healthily when they begin to feel better. Others experience weight gain or weight loss as a side effect of the medication.
Zoloft is available in three dosage strengths:
- 25 mg
- 50 mg
- 100 mg
Often when prescribing Zoloft to someone for the first time, a healthcare provider will recommend beginning with a low dose of the medication to see how the patient responds.
If the dosage is tolerable but ineffective, doctors will slowly raise the dosage strength until the drug begins to have its intended, positive effects.
Like other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), Zoloft can interact poorly with other prescription medications, over-the-counter supplements, homeopathic remedies, and illicit drugs.
Tell your doctor about the kinds of substances you regularly ingest so they can adjust your prescriptions and help you avoid any adverse effects.
Do not take Zoloft without consulting a healthcare provider if you are taking:
- Antipsychotic medications
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- St. John’s Wort
- Tricyclic Antidepressants
- Blood thinners (warfarin)
In some cases, taking Zoloft with other contraindicated substances can cause serotonin syndrome, a serious condition in which a patient has too much serotonin in their body at one time.
Symptoms include agitation, confusion, a racing or irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, muscle tremor or rigidity, and seizure.
The condition is rare but can be life-threatening if left untreated. If you believe you are suffering from serotonin syndrome, seek medical attention right away.
Drug costs can vary depending on a patient’s dosage, insurance coverage, and pharmacy location. If you are concerned about the price of your prescription, take a moment to research ways to purchase Zoloft from less expensive sources.
Buying your drugs from reputable online pharmacies can be a great way to keep costs down.
Is Zoloft Right for You?
Zoloft has been used for more than twenty years to give millions of Americans relief from the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.
If you are experiencing excessive or intrusive mental distress that has affected the quality of your life for two weeks or more, talk to your doctor.
You may find that taking Zoloft or another antidepressant can help you manage your feelings and improve your quality of life.
Talk to a Doctor Today
If you are experiencing the symptoms of depression, anxiety, or another mental illness, you don’t have to go through it alone.
Anxiety and depression are among the most under-reported and under-treated diseases in America. Nearly 20% of adults in the US suffer from mental health illness, and fewer than half receive treatment. Our mission is to increase access to treatment for those suffering in silence.
You can start controlling your anxiety and depression and get access to the treatment you need with K Health. Starting at $19/month, get prescriptions for mental health medications plus unlimited doctor visits through the K Health app. Start your free assessment here.
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Zoloft Label (2008). https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/019839s070,020990s032lbl.pdf
Sertraline (2020). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547689/
Sertraline versus other antidepressive agents for depression (2010). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4163971/
Zoloft (2021). https://www.pfizerpro.com/product/zoloft/hcp
Double-blind study of the efficacy and safety of sertraline versus fluoxetine in major depression (1993). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8263318/
Sertraline versus fluoxetine in the treatment of major depression: a combined analysis of five double-blind comparator studies (2003). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12817154/
Suicidality in Children and Adolescents Being Treated With Antidepressant Medications (2018). https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/suicidality-children-and-adolescents-being-treated-antidepressant-medications