The Zoloft dose that you take will depend on what you are being treated for. As I mentioned in my page about the Zoloft antidepressant, this medication is used to treat several disorders including depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder, just to name a few. To dosing information for each disorder is provided below.
The Zoloft dose information below pertains to adults only except in the case of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) where it has been approved for use with children 6 – 17 years of age. Also, this medication should be taken once per day and can be taken anytime without regard to meals. However, it is recommended that the medication be taken at the same time each day – in the morning or evening. Some things to keep in mind – it takes approximately 7 days for the medication to fully effect you. Also, if you have a liver disease the dosing information below would be too high and will be adjusted down by your physician.
Typically, the initial dose is set at 50 mg / day. Depending on your response to this dose it may be increased gradually over time until an effective dose is determined. However, the dose will not go above 200 mg / day.
If you are taking this medication for PMDD, your doctor will advise you whether to take this medication for the 2 weeks prior to your period or if you should continue taking it throughout your cycle. As with depression, the starting Zoloft dose is 50 mg / day. However, if this is insufficient, your doctor will increase the dose in 50 mg increments at the beginning of each cycle. The maximum dose is 100 mg / day if you are doing the 2 week treatment and a maximum of only 50 mg / day for the first 3 days. If you are on the full cycle treatment plan you are limited to a maximum of 150 mg / day.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Social Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder
The starting Zoloft dose for all three of these disorders is 25 mg / day. Your doctor will increase your dose to 50 per day typically after your first week of taking this medication. Maximum for these disorders is 200 per day. Zoloft does have a 24 hour half-life, meaning it takes 24 hours for the strength of the medication to be cut back 50%. Because of the 24 hour half-life, your doctor should not change your dose earlier than 1 week intervals.
With respect to the treatment of OCD, if the child is 6 – 12 years of age they will start out at 25 per day. Patients 13 – 17 years old will start out at 50. If the dose is increased it should only be done after 1 week of a particular dose. The dose can go up to 200 however, it may not be recommended because of children having lower body weight than adults. Children under the age of 6 should not take this medication.
It is important to note that overdosing on Zoloft can prove to be fatal and the side effects of overdosing are quite serious. They include tremors, intense vomiting, convulsions, potential coma, volatile heartbeat, hallucinating and feelings of delirium. If you have taken too much of this medication you should get medical help immediately.
There are some precautions to consider when taking this medication. Do not take this medication, an SSRI, within 14 days of taking an MAOI. The reason being is that SSRI’s and MAOI’s do not go well together. In fact, taking them within 14 days of each other can result in serious, sometimes fatal consequences.
Also, if you are pregnant or thinking about it then read my pages about Zoloft in pregnancy and Zoloft and breastfeeding.
Before embarking on this as your medication of choice you might want to consider reading some other pages as well including Zoloft common side effects and Zoloft withdrawal symptoms. Also, read the comparison between Lexapro vs Zoloft.
Photos courtesy of 123RF.com