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Sertraline (Zoloft) for Anxiety: Dosage, Efficacy, Side Effects

Sertraline for anxiety

Sertraline (Zoloft) for Anxiety: Dosage, Efficacy, Side Effects

Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology

Umar Javed



The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs.

Anxiety can be a debilitating condition affecting one’s social, professional, and even academic life. Thankfully, patients can refer to an array of treatment options. Among them is medication use, and one of the most popular ones is Sertraline.

What Is Sertraline?

Sertraline is a generic version of the brand name Zoloft. It is one of the antidepressants that also treat anxiety, among other mental health conditions. It belongs to a group of drugs known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). And as an SSRI, it works by increasing serotonin levels, one of the neurotransmitters in the brain. Sertraline prevents serotonin reuptake so that with time the level rises, improving communication between brain cells. It is especially important for processes controlled by serotonin—like mood.

Thanks to its success and tolerable side effects, Sertraline is one of the most prescribed medications in generalized anxiety disorder treatment. For the best results, patients taking Sertraline for anxiety should also attend cognitive therapy.

Anxiety can be treated effectively. Get your prescription online at MEDvidi.

What Is Sertraline Approved for?

The FDA approved the use of Sertraline in 1991 for several uses, including:

Sertraline helps patients to improve their mood and brings back their interest in daily living. It helps anxiety patients be less fearful and decreases the intensity of unwanted thoughts, volume of panic attacks, and general anxiety. Sertraline achieves these effects by restoring and maintaining the chemical balance in the brain by providing higher levels of serotonin.

The effectiveness of Zoloft is a testament to its efficacy, and its availability as a generic medication resulted in its widespread use. It is among the essential medicines on the list by the World Health Organization, and in one 2016 survey [1*] , it appeared to be the most prescribed medication for psychiatric conditions. In 2019, it was the 12th most prescribed medication overall in the US, having over 37 million prescriptions.

Sertraline Dosage for Anxiety

Sertraline is available in both tablet and oral solution forms. The tablets come in three strength dosages: 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg. In general, the Zoloft dosage for anxiety is usually 25 mg to 50 mg a day.

The liquid version is available in a 60 ml bottle. The liquid has a menthol scent and is a clear and colorless solution. It contains 20 mg of sertraline for every milliliter. The medication also has a dropper calibrated at 25 mg and 50 mg points. It can be mixed with 4 ounces/120ml or half a cup of water, lemonade, lime soda, orange juice, or ginger ale before consumption. Patients should mix just when they are about to take the medication and not prepare it in advance.

Patients can take either form of medication with or without food, and it can be either in the morning or evening. It is important that they take the medication as per the doctor’s instructions since the dosage depends on the individual. When selecting a dose, the doctors consider factors like the severity of anxiety, tolerance to side effects of Sertraline, and other conditions a patient could have, among other things.

Receive a treatment plan that will be developed individually based on your symptoms and health history.

How Long Does Sertraline Take to Work for Anxiety?

The working mechanism of Sertraline means you will not see immediate changes. It takes time to build up in the system to impact serotonin levels. Some people will likely notice a change within the first week of treatment.

It takes about one week for the sertraline levels to build up in the body and then several days to weeks for the body to adapt to its effects. Generally, it takes three to six weeks for the full benefits to be realized. Among the early symptoms will be improved appetite, better sleep, and increased energy levels.

How long does Sertraline take to work for anxiety

Sertraline: Side Effects

Side effects of sertraline are largely mild, though, in some circumstances, they may be severe.

Common side effects include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nervousness
  • Nausea
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headaches

Severe side effects are:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Yellowing of the eyes
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Consistent vomiting
  • Changes in urine and stools
  • Increased bleeding
  • Sexual problems

MEDvidi doctors are ready to adjust your treatment plan if you experience any side effects of the chosen medication.

Alternatives to Sertraline for Anxiety

While using Zoloft for anxiety works for most people, it may not prove as effective in some instances. That’s because most antidepressants only work for 60-70% [2*] of their users, so patients may have to try a second or third drug. In that regard, there are several alternatives, such as:

  • Other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: include citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil and Pexeva), and escitalopram (Lexapro).
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors: these medications act on both serotonin and norepinephrine. They include levomilnacipran (Fetzima), duloxetine (Cymbalta), desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), and venlafaxine (Effexor XR).
  • Atypical antidepressants: these are medications that do not fit in the other standard categories. They include bupropion, trazodone, mirtazapine, and vilazodone.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants: These drugs tend to cause more side effects, so they are usually prescribed if a patient has no response to other types of antidepressants.
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors: these act on the enzyme monoamine oxidase and are used for conditions that do not respond to other treatments. They include phenelzine, isocarboxazid, and tranylcypromine.

Summing Up

The effects of Sertraline may not be seen in a couple of days, but it brings significant results in the long run. It is approved by the FDA for treating several depressive and anxiety disorders and has demonstrated its efficacy. However, the medication, its dosage, and additional treatment aspects are determined individually by the doctor. If you want to know which medication will help you best, contact MEDvidi today and book an appointment with a mental health expert.


+2 sources
  1. Top 25 Psychiatric Medications for 2016
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  2. Treatment-resistant depression: therapeutic trends, challenges, and future directions. (2012)
    Source link
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology

Umar Javed


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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

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This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.