Does Zoloft Cause Diarrhea?
In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses diarrhea as a side effect of taking Zoloft (sertraline).
I have been taking 50 mg of Sertraline for almost a month and I am experiencing major diarrhea. Could it be from that?
Diarrhea is one of the most commonly reported side effects of Zoloft (sertraline) therapy. In fact, gastrointestinal side effects, in general, are well-known to occur in those taking SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) medications.
The gastrointestinal side effects of Zoloft occur most frequently when you first start on the medication, or when you increase your dose, but they do tend to decrease over time.
Taking your medication with food can help to reduce the incidence and severity of diarrhea too.
The prescribing information for Zoloft states that 20% of individuals taking the medication experience diarrhea/loose stools. In fact, it is the second most common side effect (behind nausea which comes in at 26%).
Additionally, diarrhea was the second most common reason (again, behind nausea) as to why participants in clinical trials for the drug discontinued it.
Guidelines for the treatment of 'Major Depressive Disorder, discuss the side effects of antidepressant therapy and list 'gastrointestinal effects' as the most common. It states the following:
SSRIs commonly cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These adverse events are generally dose dependent and tend to dissipate over the first few weeks of treatment. In some patients, however, diarrhea persists.
Saying these effects are 'dose-dependent' means that the risk of them occurring is higher with increasing dosages.
What To Do
Taking Zoloft with food is likely your best bet to reduce the severity of diarrhea you are experiencing.
You should start to experience the medication being better tolerated as you continue taking it. However, if it doesn't seem to be getting better, even after being on it for a few weeks, discuss your options with your doctor.
They may recommend lowering your dosage and tapering up based on how you tolerate it, or they may even recommend a medication switch.
SummaryDiarrhea is one of the most commonly reported side effects of Zoloft (sertraline), which an incidence rate around 20%. Taking it with food may help to make it better tolerated.
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