Zoloft is a commonly prescribed antidepressant. If you’re wondering whether you should ask your doctor about Zoloft for depression or other conditions, or if you’ve already been prescribed Zoloft, it’s a good idea to learn about other patients’ experiences with it first.
In this article, I’ll go through a variety of Zoloft reviews to help you make a decision on whether Zoloft is right for you. I’ll focus on common Zoloft side effects, how it interacts with other drugs, and how users think it compares to other similar medications for depression and anxiety.
What Is Zoloft? What Does It Do?
Zoloft (sertraline) is a prescription-only selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). SSRIs work by decreasing (“inhibiting”) the re-uptake, or reabsorption, of serotonin into the brain, thus making more of it available.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, sexual desire, social behavior, and other necessities of everyday functioning, such as memory and sleep. Having more serotonin available in the brain allows many of those with depression and other psychiatric disorders to function more effectively.
Zoloft is used most commonly to treat depression, along with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
Zoloft is the most commonly prescribed antidepressant in the U.S. and the second most commonly prescribed psychiatric medication. Millions of adults take it every year.
Zoloft Reviews for Depression
Many users take Zoloft for depression and report it to be effective.
Zoloft has a 7.2/10 average rating from patients using it to treat depression on Drugs.com. On WebMD, reviewers have given Zoloft an average of 3.5/5 stars for treatment of depression. Most users who didn’t like Zoloft report side effects that outweighed the positives (we’ll get more into side effects later).
Some Zoloft reviewers, like Kitten.666 from Drugs.com, who reports that she is a 20-year-old female, claim that the medication saved their life:
“I love Zoloft! I can live again! I’m laughing and going out with friends, not laying in bed all day. I can finally breathe, my surroundings seem so much brighter, I don’t harbor hate anymore, I’m me again…More ambitious and creative like I was before I fell into this self destructive path of depression two years ago.”
Many reviewers echo this sentiment, saying that Zoloft was enough to lift them out of their depression.
While most Zoloft users report a strong positive or negative reaction to the medication, a few don’t experience much of a reaction at all, or report that it is mildly helpful in treating their depression. User cisuggs from Drugs.com offers one such Zoloft review, reporting a more manageable state of mind overall on the drug:
“Overall I definitely experienced less crying and general hopelessness on Zoloft. I still had my bad days but in general it’s manageable.”
Zoloft Reviews for Anxiety
Overall, Zoloft fares slightly better with online reviewers who use(d) the medication for anxiety-related issues, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder.
WebMD Zoloft reviewers who use Zoloft for panic disorder have given it an average of 3.87 out of 5 stars, and patients who use Zoloft for anxiety have given it an average rating of 7.7/10 on Drugs.com.
Many Zoloft reviewers report that Zoloft was helpful in curbing their panic attacks and overall sense of nervousness.
One (anonymous) WebMD reviewer, who gives Zoloft five stars on all counts, says, “Zoloft has helped me with my panic attacks and my everyday uneasiness and anxiety.”
One common problem reported by Zoloft reviewers is the medication’s tendency to increase anxiety before it begins to treat it, or to eventually stop working in curbing anxiety after initially working very well.
One Drugs.com Zoloft review describes this rollercoaster:
“I’m a 29 year old female. I’ve been suffering from horrible social anxiety disorder and panic attacks for over 2 years. I’ve been on Zoloft (technically sertraline since I’m on the generic version) for 4 months…I had little to no social anxiety anymore and almost felt like I had my life back. After 2 months I felt I plateaued. I started getting the anxiety/panicky feelings back. So I upped my dosage to 50 mg. For now it is still doing the trick but it’s nowhere near what it was in the beginning.”
A WebMD Zoloft reviewer, newts18, advises other Zoloft users to stick with the medication even if anxiety symptoms increase at first, noting that one’s reaction to the drug may shift over time:
“I started on this medication about a year ago due to panic attacks and extreme anxiety…The first week was rough, my anxiety got worse, but I stuck with it…My panic attacks have gotten less severe, and I’m able to participate in life more.”
Reviews on Zoloft Dosage
Most online Zoloft reviewers report being on an initial dose of 50 mg, which is the standard Zoloft dose.
The initial therapeutic dosage of Zoloft is 25 to 50 mg. It can be upped to 200 mg over time depending on tolerance.
The most common issue reported by Zoloft reviewers regarding dosage is that their reaction to the drug plateaus over time, requiring their doctor to increase their dosage in order to be effective. Some reviewers even report having to switch medications eventually once they increased their Zoloft dosage as much as possible.
For example, one Drugs.com Zoloft reviewer, MaryKrazy1, writes:
“Zoloft worked AWESOME for my extreme anxiety and major depression. It worked for many years but eventually (as all good things do), it stopped working as well and once my dosage couldn’t go any higher, I had to start the whole process of finding the right medication and the right ‘cocktail’ for me.”
Other Zoloft reviewers warn against starting with a high dose of Zoloft, noting that it can increase negative side effects, such as weight gain and a loss of libido. Ricardo7171, a WebMD Zoloft reviewer, says that he switched to a lower dose of Zoloft for this very reason:
“The one negative was the sexual side effects at the higher dose. Fortunately, at 25 mg, I have none of these issues.”
Reviews on Zoloft Side Effects and Drug Interactions
Zoloft users frequently report that the first week to four weeks on Zoloft produced many negative side effects, such as flulike symptoms, racing thoughts, increased anxiety, insomnia, gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea and constipation, night sweats/terrors/nightmares, tremors, nausea, fatigue, muscle pain, apathy, and irritability.
However, most of these users say that the initial side effects did subside once their body adjusted to Zoloft.
A 27-year-old male Zoloft user reports in a review on Iodine.com, “In the beginning you will feel terrible. Flu-like is the best way for me to describe it. Tightness in the jaw, no appetite, and stomach issues when you begin to eat. Diarrhea and constipation.”
A 17-year-old man who took Zoloft for OCD agreed that the first weeks on Zoloft resulted in negative side effects, writing on Iodine.com, “Potential for increased anxiety at first. Also caused severe insomnia for a few weeks.”
A 27-year-old female patient, also writing a review on Iodine.com, concurred: “Take vitamins; the adjustment period causes muscle fatigue. Crazy vivid nightmares are normal too.”
Most Zoloft reviewers offer light at the end of the tunnel if you’re willing to stick through the initial side effects, though.
One Zoloft review on Everyday Health states, “The side effects at first were horrible – headaches, nausea, dizziness; had to leave work one day because of them. After a week the side effects had eased and after a month they were gone.”
While most of the negative side effects of Zoloft seem to be manageable and temporary, some of them are more serious. Some Zoloft users report worsened anxiety or depression and even suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
Read this account from a Zoloft user at Everyday Health:
“I went in for anxiety and slight OCD issues, as well as light depression…As I took this my depression got worse and worse, and I began a self harm addiction…I honestly believe Zoloft not only did nothing for my anxiety and slight OCD, but made my small depression issue into a monster. I would never take this again.”
Other serious side effects reported by Zoloft reviewers include racing heart, heart palpitations, and increased blood pressure.
Loves to read, one Zoloft reviewer, writes of their experience with these side effects on Drugs.com: “I went to my Doctor and asked for medication for general anxiety and depression. I was prescribed Zoloft. I took it with a meal and about two [hours] later, I felt like I was having a heart attack as I had chest pain, racing pulse and palpitations. And I took my Blood Pressure and it was 140/90, Pulse 110. My usual Blood Pressure is 106/70, pulse 75.”
Other serious side effects that Zoloft reviewers mention include extreme withdrawal symptoms and difficulty coming off the drug. If you take Zoloft or are taking Zoloft and experience these or any other negative side effects, contact your doctor or 911 to make sure you’re safe.
Zoloft Reviews: How Does It Compare to Other Medications?
One of the most common questions that Zoloft users and potential users have is how Zoloft compares to other SSRIs and other psychiatric medications. Let’s take a look at some user reviews from patients who have taken both Zoloft and other antidepressants to see how it stacks up.
Many Zoloft reviews describe Zoloft as the first antidepressant that worked.
WebMD reviewer MKRPK says, “Zoloft makes me cheerful, relaxed, undepressed, not anxious. I have switched between it and other antidepressants many times over many years, trying to find the best combo of benefits and least side effects. I keep going back to it.”
Drugs.com Zoloft reviewer Kitten.77 agrees: “I have tried several antidepressants, but nothing seemed to work. However, I started Zoloft about a week ago, and I am officially sold on it. It makes me feel more optimistic about life.”
Take note that if you are switching from one antidepressant to another, you should let your doctor know ahead of time, and do so carefully.
Sc00bs, a Zoloft reviewer on Drugs.com, warns readers, “Was switching from 40mg of Celexa [citalopram, another SSRI] to 100mg of Zoloft. Felt great first two weeks. Then it was pure hell after that. I ended up with Serotonin syndrome during the switch.”
Serotonin syndrome is a collection of dangerous symptoms, including increased body temperature, irritability, aggression, tremors, diarrhea, and heightened reflexes, that can occur if you switch antidepressants, add a new drug to your medication regimen, or increase your dosage of a psychiatric medication.
Several other Zoloft reviewers have reported similar experiences when attempting to find the right medication to treat their depression.
Finally, if you or your doctor think you may have a mood disorder such as bipolar disorder rather than or in addition to depression, Zoloft reviewers warn against using Zoloft and other SSRIs, as they can worsen your symptoms.
TWG74, a Zoloft reviewer on Drugs.com, says, “I was prescribed this medicine in 2004 to help with depression. Instead of getting better I progressively got worse and my psychiatrist’s answer was to put me on Xanax. Long story short, I ended up in a psychiatric hospital. Turns out I have bipolar II and since I wasn’t on a mood stabilizer I essentially lost my mind. Horrible experience.”
Several other reviewers who have since been diagnosed with mood disorders report negative experiences taking Zoloft. Make sure that you check in regularly with your doctor if you start taking Zoloft, keep track of your side effects, and don’t be afraid to change medications (under the advice of a medical professional) if Zoloft isn’t working for you.