What is Zoloft®?
Zoloft® is a medication prescribed to treat:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (troubling thoughts that won't go away or a need to repeat an action over and over again)
- Panic attacks (sudden attacks of extreme fear and worry about having these attacks)
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (worrisome feelings and psychological symptoms that occur after a frightening experience)
- Social anxiety disorder (extraordinary fear of interacting with others or performing)
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (symptoms occurring before menstruation including mood swings, irritability, bloating, and breast tenderness)
How Zoloft® Works
Serotonin is a hormone that is produced naturally in the body, mainly in the digestive tract, where about 80 percent of it is made. However serotonin also is produced elsewhere in the body, including the brain. Here it acts to enhance mood.
Zoloft® (sertraline) is in a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The word "selective" is used because it works selectively on serotonin. The word "inhibitor" is used, because it inhibits brain cells from completely reabsorbing serotonin, which is how the brain usually works.
When Zoloft®, like other SSRIs, inhibits brain cells from reabsorbing (reuptaking) serotonin, it makes the serotonin more available for the transmission of messages across the gaps (synapses) between cells. Because it assists in transmitting messages between brain cells (neurons), it is called a neurotransmitter.
When more serotonin is available to help in the transmission of messages between nerve cells, researchers have found it acts to boost a person's mood.
What Form Does Zoloft® Come In?
The medication is available either in tablet form or as a concentrated liquid that must be diluted before it is taken. Patients take Zoloft® usually once a day, either in the morning or the evening and should take it about the same time daily.