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Zoloft .... er, why is it shit?


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I am not well versed in meds, I take what I am given. Really I do.

Total trust in doctor person.

I don't google about it - or I then start believing that the 0.01% people who experience anal leakage will be me ... and then I fret and have to keep checking, which is not ideal.

I am on a new set of meds (have been off since 2005, and have zero idea what I was on then or before) - my initial pdoc put me on NUZAK (which I think is a generic for Prozac, me thinks).

New (1 week in) pdoc said he preferred Zoloft and gave me a list of reasons - I really did not pay attention, it is neither here nor there to me as I have no base of comparison.

But I was lurking around CB and I keep seeing people making reference that Zoloft is really not so good. (I think the words Zoloft is shit have been used, among others)

I have just started on it - 4 days in - what am I missing? Or is there a surprise waiting for me that I do not know about?

So far they are little while pills that go down my throat with a cup of tea ..... granted I am only 4 days in on the script.

What am I not panicking about?

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well, it really varies for everyone. you could take zoloft well, with no complications. for me, zoloft made me want to sleep like 18 hours a day, a couple of times on the weekends i would sleep for 16-18 hours straight, and only wake up b/c someone woke me up. i felt like a zombie, during the week when i couldn't sleep much, i felt absolutely awful, like a zombie just going through the motions. and nauseous and dizzy and felt sick all the time. and my emotions were crazy. my sex drive also went down to like negative fifty. but, it really varies for everyone, though. if you're fine on it, and don't experience any side effects on it, then I wouldn't worry about it, and keep taking it.

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Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, Luvox and Lexapro are all basically equally effective. Everyone reacts to them differently and may get worse on one while improving on another, for example. I don't see why Zoloft wouldn't be just as good as any of that group. I know it's preferred to Prozac because it doesn't interact with as many different drugs. They generally all have the same side-effects but with Zoloft it tends to be stomach-related more often than with others. Paxil is more sedating and causes sexual disfunction more often. The side-effects differ more between SSRI's than efficacy.

Personally, I liked Zoloft more than any of the others. It more or less cured my panic disorder. I used to have a couple of attacks a week but once I was above 100mg of Zoloft I didn't have a single one. I was on it about it a year and a half. I have come off it now because I've been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and antidepressants are possibly not so good to take if you are bipolar. So yeah, it was GREAT for my anxiety. Even now that I've weaned off it I still haven't had a panic attack. I'm so grateful for that. It didn't really help much with my depression, but I've taken many antidepressants and none of them helped with that.

It's an extremely popular drug, you're in good company taking it, so don't feel like you're a guinea pig. It's been around quite a long time and taken by many people. It's as good an option as any of the other antidepressants. I did have the stomach trouble initially and whenever the dose was increased, but once my body got used to it I was fine.

I hope it works for you.

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Zoloft was too speedy for me. There are always, always exceptions, but SSRIs don't tend to be a good idea for people who are bipolar, although from your signature your unipolar with GAD, is that correct?

Someone will correct me if this assertion is mistaken: my understanding is that careful use of SSRIS helps with anxiety. SSRIs also tend to have much less serious side effects than tricyclics and MAOIs, which are the Old Skool anti-depressants. There are extensive dietary restrictions on MAOIs, although some of the original forbidden foods have been removed from the list; in the 70s the restricted list was much longer. But for people who are treatment resistant, going old school may be worth the restrictions. I forget what the issue was with tricyclics, I know there are some contraindications.

But anecdotally, I seem to be seeing a lot more people with tricylics in their signature, either for migraine or depression. The one we tried was for migraines, pamelor, messed up my mood, which had been good until then. But I think I am an outlier anyway. I cannot remember how long it took me to recover from the med induced symptoms.

This is NOT a warning against tricyclics, I am just telling you my experience. That is kind of why you have to do your own research. For this kind of illness, you need to be knowledgible. Which is really helpful for pdocs; they are restricted to a 15 minute med check. What is helpful about the CBs: You get to hear about positive, negative, and neutral outcomes in from people who took it. Sometimes, you may have a rare side-effect, and with the size of this crowd, someone will almost always volunteer their experiences.

And there is nothing wrong with researching medications, or discussing with a doctor what meds you are interested in trying if your current meds poop out. Just filter the bullshit. When you have a good relationship with your p-doc (but you said you didn't?) it is more like a collaboration, where the p-doc gets the final word.

And you can find info here, both peer reviewed and anecdotal, which both are useful. I find anecdotal stuff to be more useful for figuring out if I am having a side effect, and it is great to have such a diversity of experience of people on the boards.

Someone may very well have said "Zoloft is shit." But in reality, it was shit for that person. You can't extrapolate from other people's experiences how *you* will respond. My p-doc in Pittsburgh, who has since gone on to be a well respected academic, preferred Zoloft, too. Prozac was the first huge SSRI, and Zoloft was hard on its heels. My dad did some of the early research prozac (FDA phase III), and while he used it, he ended up using it mostly for other things other than depression. And even having done Prozac research, he too liked Zoloft better. But as more meds came out, both fell way down his list. You will find that doctors have their own opinions about certain meds, and there is always going to be a doctor (or Big Pharma rep) who favors a particular med within a larger class. I just found out my pdoc hates Seroquel, for instance, and would only use it as a last ditch effort. But from reading around the boards, it is one of the most frequent AAP's prescribed

My pdoc likes that I research meds to suggest, if I feel like I need a tweak. Again, he still gets the last word. But he is always interested in my suggestions, and sometimes agree to let me try something suggest. And he is excellent at explaining why he won't prescribe a particular med that I have raised. Seriously, if a doctor is annoyed by your even bringing up a med, I would find a new doctor.

But remember, as sick as you are of hearing this, YMMV, significantly. I am having a total brain fart as to what he used it for, but I have seen other people on here use SSRIs for a variety of diagnoses. At the time, Zoloft was pretty much the only SSRI available if you couldn't use prozac (which I can't, it causes med. induced mania for me). I didn't like Zoloft, but it helped my mood. But wellbutrin (generic) hit the sweet spot.

I feel like I need a concluding paragraph, but can't really think of one.

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crtclms user_popup.png - thanks, I appreciated the information ..... I like information (thought at the moment I get easily flusterred as I my rational decision making has appeared to have left me and paranoia and chaos seem to have remained behind to make my decisions for me)....... so I do appreciate your informative response.

Your second follow up post made me snort and smile, so thanks for that, too.

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I did horribly on zoloft, but my sister does absolutely wonderfully on it.

There is no rhyme or reason to it whatsoever, unfortunately. While one MIGHT be able to make SOME general observations about classes of medications, past that point, it's a bit of a crapshoot.

Give the zoloft 6--12 weeks and see, minus any severe adverse effects or S.e.s you absolutely cannot tolerate. That's really the best way to handle ANY new drug.

Anna

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I tried Zoloft---my doctor told me that it is often the first AD that doctors try with a new patient. I had absolutely no ill effects from it, but it also didn't do anything for my depression. As everyone has said, we are all very different.

It has been my experience that you need to give an AD at least 6-8 weeks for a trial, and 12 weeks is even better.

olga

PS Moved topic to AD forum

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I just started taking Zoloft about a week and half ago. I haven't noticed much so far period. So no positive or negative feedback yet.

I did notice that when I increased my dosage from 25mg to 50mg as per instructed by my doctor, I became restless. But it only lasted the

first day of dosage upping. It may have just been in my mind, who knows.

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My wife takes 200mg zoloft daily. She finds it to be really good for her MDD.

I personally like prozac, but it varies from one to another

I say if you arent getting bad side effects from the get go, then great, stick with it. A lot of people get horrible side effects in those first few weeks.

You should notice some improvements in anxiety and depression after 4-6 weeks.

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I too am always very anxious whenever starting a new med and seem to spend way too much time dwelling on it. Zoloft was my first ever crazy med - and it did nothing at all for me - I could have had the same results by eating sugar cubes.

But - it was a start and was helpful in the sense that it provided other paths for my pdoc to direct me too. And so the journey began. Yours will continue as well as you continue to find your "path". Stay in close touch with your feelings and observations - and communicate often with your doctors. Everyone of us is different. We are as individualistic as our treatment plans. Keep plugging away until you feel you are safely on your path.

Best of luck with all of your journeys!

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I first started on Effexor XR never had another AD (without effexor xr) since. Let me tell you the symptoms of schizoaffective pale in comparison to the <insert swears> of that med BUT it has halped me tons. for two weeks i could not sit still anxiety worse and i cried harder blah blah.................... but i stuck past two weeks and do not regret it. since i have had NO relapse of depression unless drinking or taken depressants. :/

but naturally no rebound :D

just sayin' that stick past two weeks most side affects subside and the 4-6 weeks you see the benefits.

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Zoloft helped me graduate (at 250mg/day) however I was always tired and felt emotionally flat lined, but I have heard from people who say that it's done wonders for them. It really is a trial and error sort of thing.

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You have to start somewhere, and like everyone has been saying what works awesome for one person might not work for you. It's a fun trial and error adventure. Sometimes a doctor prefers something because it's his favourite, maybe he just got some money from a pharmacy company ;), or recently has been having luck with his other patients. Give it a good while to see if it works. The tiredness might just be your headspace.

In saying that, zoloft made me batsh*t crazy when I was a kid. I don't think I've tried it since then (too freaked), but been on all the other ssris with varying response.

Good luck. Feel better.

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I am pretty sure my present drug cocktail is not "right" for me.

I can't say it is the Zoloft, the Xanax or the other other things I have in my clear lunch box with a blue lid, but I am feeling too anxious, paranoid and edgy for this to remain as a good idea.

I am seeing my tdoc once a week, and we are starting CBT now that we have got the "get to know you part of the conversation" out of the way, and my pdoc next on 17 August, so we can address it then.

My work environment has set of a series of panic/anxiety reactions, and I feel pretty "edgy" most of the day. By the time nighttime gets here I am ready for some Xanax + Stillnox + cup of tea and a very long lie down. (I have 37 minutes until the kids are in bed and then I will be doing just that)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think it might be overprescribed. I'm a bit disappointed in my pdoc, since there are such obvious interactions with medications I have to take (not for MI) that my issues with zoloft should've been seen from a mile away. I had some fairly intolerable side effects with it (along with a combo of meds) that I've mentioned in other threads. For now, the experience has scared me away from any other antidepressants. I feel I'm currently cycling into a depressed state, though, so I might be back on something eventually.

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I am on a high dose (200mg) of Zoloft and truth be told I don't feel like it helps my depression but it does help with the PMDD. I don't really have any side effects even at such a high dose. Everyone is different. I tried Paxiil and it made me super anxious, Celexa gave me scary high blood pressure but the Zoloft hasn't cause those side effects. Don't worry too much about how others experience it, it's good to know other's experience but you have to remember that everyone is different and you may reactive very differently.

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I have another pdoc appointment tomorrow and need to review my brown chemist bag.

I have felt very panicky, anxious and jumpy this month - I was also on Xanor which I took twice a day, and either I misunderstood or filled an incorrect script as I went from 2 per day to 0 per day - by Saturday I was feeling quite strung out and more paranoid and panicked.

I am not sure I am over presribed or under prescribed, but I am not feeling any better, actually more spiralling than anything else.

My only up - is that I am not crying all the time. Other than that, things do feel a bit bleak, and I do not feel like my depression is plateau'ing it is in this plane free fall towards the ground. But I am hoping that between scripts and CBT and me hiding from me having a "respite" to work from home will equal some sort of normality soon.

I think my DH is at his wits end, and has suggested that maybe relooking at a clinic stay might not be the worst idea we have ever had. I am not totally disagreeing with him. But I feel I want to give it another week or two to see if I can just get through the worst of the storm -- my fear is that I have not even hit the eye of the storm yet.

But thank you for all your insights.

I really try not to google - else I start reading way too much - and the majority of it is not a levelled opinion based on personal experiences/.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Only thing I'd add to the great responses here is that the effect of a med can change over time even at the same dose, and with each dose increase the effects could creep in almost unnoticed, so keeping a mood chart or blog helps many people to see any patterns which emerge. For me, it was only after being given another med to help with sleep and alcohol reliance that I stumbled on articles about Sertraline making the potential for alcohol reliance in some people into a real problem. I looked back on my mood/blog records, correlated my alcohol intake with dosage increases, and realised I need to think about ditching the sertraline before I become an "alcoholic". I just wanted to put this out there incase it rings any bells for others who had never heard of these potential side-effects. All that said, I believe that without sertraline at the time I was given it, I'd be a lot worse than a potential alcoholic. Just don't be too quick to judge a med unless the effects are truly unbearable, cos it takes many months to COMPLETELY level out for you to know if it's right for you.

Hope that helps x

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I'm not sure if I replied to this post or not before, but zoloft is not shit. My sis takes it with great success, and has for years. It really works well for her. My son was briefly on it when in day hospital and for awhile afterwards when he was suicidal due to a terrible teacher who targeted him (he has ADHD and she had OCPD, not a good mix, heh) and he also did well.

I cannot take zoloft as I am BP I, so for me it's a terrible med. But zoloft is no shittier than any of the other SSRIs, they are all slightly different as to side effects and effects. it is supposed to be quite good for anxiety as well as depression, provided you are diagnosed correctly. The GI thing can be a bit upsetting. I find it killed my appetite completely, that was hard.

I just kind of wanted to say that no drug is "shit" for everybody. Everyone responds differently and has different side effects (or not), so it's just really a matter of being open minded, logging what you notice, and going from there. And working with Pdoc.

SSRIs are kind of a pain mainly as they take a while to work. So finding the "right" SSRI can sometimes take up to a year or so, from what I've seen. Or a non SSRI med may be better. It's all a matter of trusting the process and staying calm.

Anna

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Anna is right. Zoloft works really well for millions of people. My wife is one of them. Unfortunately for some people the side effects are really bad. Normally at least one of the SSRI meds will work for most people for anxiety & depressive disorders. So basically you need to be willing to put up with the first 4-6 weeks, and change to another SSRI if necessary. Good dr's will normally prescribe a benzodiazepene like valium, klonopin, atvian or xanax for the 4-6 week period that it takes for an ssri to work, to help deal with the jittery syndrome etc.

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