How Long Does It Take for Zoloft To Work?

Share This Post

Millions of Americans suffering from common mental health conditions like depression and anxiety have considered turning to prescription drugs like Zoloft for relief of their symptoms. 

When your mental health is suffering, it’s natural to want to see improvement as quickly as possible, but how long does it take for Zoloft to work?

What is Zoloft?

Zoloft is a brand name prescription drug that is also sold under the generic name sertraline.

Zoloft is a popular antidepressant medication that belongs to a class of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which treat a number of different mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety

Zoloft was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1991 and is currently one of the most commonly prescribed SSRIs on the market today. Other SSRIs include paroxetine (Paxil), escitalopram (Lexapro), and fluoxetine (Prozac).  

Zoloft is prescribed for the treatment of a number of different mental health conditions, including:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Anxiety and panic disorders (feelings of anxiety, fear and unwanted thoughts) including generalized anxiety disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Bipolar disorder II
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)

Seek medical advice to determine if Zoloft is the right medication for you.

How does Zoloft work?

Zoloft is an antidepressant that works by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that acts as a type of chemical messenger in the brain, sending signals between neurons and influencing your mood. 

Under normal circumstances, the neurons of the brain absorb serotonin quickly. Patients who do not have enough serotonin may experience a depressed mood under these conditions. 

SSRIs like Zoloft work by inhibiting the absorption of serotonin by the neurons, which allows the serotonin to transmit more messages and increases the levels of the neurotransmitter in the brain.

As a result, many patients with depression and other mood disorders experience a boosted mood.  

How long does it take for Zoloft to work?

Like all antidepressants, Zoloft works slowly compared to other medications because it needs time to impact the brain chemistry.

Increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain takes time, so patients should not expect to notice a change in their symptoms right away. 

Patients taking Zoloft may begin to notice an improvement in their symptoms in one to two weeks, but most patients will not notice full effects of the medication until they have been using Zoloft regularly for between four and six weeks. 

The symptoms that most commonly improve in the earliest weeks of use are improvements in sleep, appetite, and energy levels.

As a result, patients experiencing symptoms of anxiety may find that the medication impacts their symptoms significantly in just a few weeks. 

By contrast, symptoms of depressed mood and a lack of interest in activities you used to enjoy may take up to six weeks or more before improvement is noticed.

However, if you notice changes to the physical symptoms of depression, as noted above, you can have some confidence that the medication is working and your other symptoms will improve with time.

What are some common side effects of Zoloft?

Possible side effects associated with Zoloft generally fall into two categories: common adverse side effects and rare but serious side effects. 

Common side effects associated with Zoloft include:

Rare but serious side effects associated with Zoloft include:

  • Angle-closure glaucoma
  • Low sodium blood levels, as indicated by weakness, memory problems, and difficulty concentrating 
  • Extremely high blood pressure
  • Serotonin syndrome caused by high serotonin levels, as indicated by shivering, confusion, fever, severe muscle tightness, and more
  • Increased risk of suicidal thoughts in young adults

Patients who stop taking Zoloft without the advice of a medical professional may experience withdrawal symptoms. There is also a chance that patients will experience an allergic reaction to Zoloft.

Summary

Zoloft is a long-term antidepressant medication that typically takes four to six weeks to reach its full effects.

Physical symptoms of depression, including changes to sleep, appetite, and energy levels, are typically the first to improve while using Zoloft; patients may experience improvement in these areas as soon as the first week of taking sertraline. 

However, mood-related symptoms of depression such as feelings of sadness and lack of interest in doing activities you once enjoyed may take up to six to eight weeks to improve.

Zoloft may have adverse drug interactions with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

Taking Zoloft at the same time as over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen can cause an increased risk of bleeding if used over a long period of time. 

Speak to a healthcare provider to determine whether Zoloft is right for you.

Sources:

https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Treatments/Mental-Health-Medications/Types-of-Medication/Sertraline-(Zoloft) 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2248234/?tool=pubmed 

https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-1/sertraline-oral/details 

https://www.healthline.com/health/sertraline-oral-tablet

Sesame Care

Find the best price for great doctors and specialists

  • Thousands of doctors and specialists
  • $13,000,000+ saved by patients
  • 95% patient satisfaction
  • 4.3 on TrustPilot
     

Popular Destinations

Health

Medication

Telehealth Reviews

Shop

Pharmacist Membership

About Us

Pharmacy Near Me

Recent Articles

Share On:

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

More To Explore

Cerebral Review: Online Depression & Anxiety Treatment

Today, we’re deep diving with a Cerebral review to give you some insider info to help you narrow down your choices.

What are the signs of Depression?

In this article, we will discuss the signs and symptoms of depression as well as some treatment options for this condition.

Can You Use Gabapentin For Anxiety?

While Neurontin is the most common brand name for gabapentin, other forms (such as Horizant and Gralise) may be prescribed depending on the specific

Zoloft and Weight Loss: Everything You Need To Know

When it comes to Zoloft and weight loss, here’s everything you need to know.

What is Zoloft?

If you have been recently diagnosed with depression and are given Zoloft, you may want to know how the medication works, what common side

What is Venlafaxine HCL ER?

Common mental illnesses like major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder affect millions of Americans every year. While many different treatment options

Using Prozac With Alcohol: What Are the Risks?

Prozac has become perhaps the most well-known antidepressant in the United States since its approval for the treatment of depression in 1986. Since then,

How Long Does Clonazepam Stay in Your System?

Clonazepam is a popular medication that is most commonly associated with treatment for panic disorder, but the medication was originally developed as a treatment

What is Sertraline and What are the Side Effects?

Sertraline is the generic form of Zoloft, a medication that belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs like

Turn On, Tune In, and…. Heal Your Brain? Psychedelics Return as Potential Therapy for Mental Health Disorders

Before they fell out of favor over half a century ago, psychedelic drugs, like psilocybin and LSD, were studied for various psychiatric diseases such

How Long Does Alprazolam Stay in Your System?

Alprazolam is a fast-acting medication, but exactly how long alprazolam stays in your body varies tremendously based on the form of the medication taken,

Paxil vs Zoloft: Differences, Similarities and Which is Better

Paxil and Zoloft are both popular Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved antidepressants that are used to treat a wide range of mental health conditions.

A Supplement for Stress? The Science Behind Adaptogens

Stress is part of all our lives. Adaptogens are a group of herbal supplements studied throughout history as a way to improve the body’s

Does Buspirone Cause Weight Gain?

Many antidepressants can cause weight gain as a side effect. Buspirone may cause an altered appetite as a side effect, which can lead to

Duloxetine Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment

Duloxetine withdrawal is very common and well documented, affecting nearly half of all patients. Common withdrawal symptoms include dizziness, headaches, and nausea, and symptoms

Cymbalta vs. Prozac: Comparison Guide

Cymbalta and Prozac are commonly prescribed medications to treat mental health conditions such as major depressive disorder. The medications are similarly effective, although one

How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System?

Ativan is a commonly prescribed prescription drug that is used by millions of Americans for anxiety, insomnia, and seizure disorders. It is the brand

Why is Mental Health Important?

As the saying goes, “There is no health without mental health,” but why is mental health so important? The reality is that although we

BuSpar: What is it? Uses, Costs, Benefits, and Doses

If you’re one of 40 million American adults suffering from an anxiety disorder or experiencing symptoms of anxiety, you might think that your battle

What are Long-Acting Injectable Antipsychotics? 

Long-acting injectable (LAI) antipsychotics have been shown to prevent psychosis relapse in patients with schizophrenia. To combat poor medication adherence, LAIs are a great