It is crucial to keep yourself and your loved ones safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. Yet addiction may pose even a higher danger than the virus.

Learn about recovery during the pandemic:

Starting Zoloft(Sertraline): What to Expect and What to Avoid

safe ways of taking zoloft

Important InformationThis information is for educational purposes only. We never invite or suggest the use, production or purchase of any these substances. Addiction Resource and it’s employees, officers, managers, agents, authors, editors, producers, and contributors shall have no direct or indirect liability, obligation, or responsibility to any person or entity for any loss, damage, or adverse consequences alleged to have happened as a consequence of material on this website. See full text of disclaimer.

It is crucial to know how to start taking Zoloft properly because of the complicated steps involved in taking it. When starting Zoloft, there are certain precautions to follow to make sure the medication works well. There are also several habits and medications to avoid before and during medication.

Help Line Woman

Hope Without Commitment

Find the best treatment options. Call our free and confidential helpline

Most private insurances accepted

Marketing fee may apply

Table of Contents

Zoloft High-Risk Groups

Before starting Zoloft, it is essential to talk to a doctor or a health professional first. This step can make sertraline usage safer for a patient. It is inappropriate for some specific groups of patients to take Zoloft. Taking more pills than required may lead to sertraline overdose condition.
These group of patients includes:

Older People

Senior man taking medication while his wife reading a prescriptionTaking Zoloft as a patient above the age of 65 could have some severe consequences. The study by the US National Center for Biotechnology information found out that bone fracture or exhaustion may occur as a result in older people starting Zoloft (Sertraline).

Pregnant Women

Taking sertraline during pregnancy can be dangerous. It may cause lung problems or complications in newborn babies.  If a patient becomes pregnant, it is advised to let a doctor know immediately. She should not stop or start taking sertraline during pregnancy without a doctor’s advice.

Younger People

Antidepressants can be dangerous to young people the first time they start taking it. They can have serious thoughts about suicide, so family members should be on alert when they are taking sertraline. Also, sertraline affects sexual life of the patients. Treatment progress or any of the symptoms mentioned should be checked at a regular visit to a medical practitioner.


Do not give sertraline to children younger than 18 years old without first consulting a medical doctor. According to the FDA study, sertraline is suitable for treating children with OCD but not for depressed children.

People Taking Other Medications

Some medicines can disrupt the intake of sertraline leading to dangerous serious conditions. Patients should inform a doctor if they are taking any other medications before taking sertraline.

People with Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

Patients with severe medical conditions should avoid sertraline. It is important to tell a doctor about any medical history of illnesses that might prevent patients from starting Zoloft. These illnesses include:

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Kidney diseases
  • Ulcer
  • Liver problem
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Seizures etc.

How to Start Taking Sertraline Medication

the man is taking medicine with waterThe best way of taking this medication is by following Zoloft instructions on the prescription label. Also, a doctor can sometimes change a patient’s prescription or dose depending on the assessment of their medical condition. When prescribed, it is vital for the patient to follow the prescription keenly without taking in larger or smaller quantity. Also taking it for longer than recommended could lead to sertraline weight gain.
A patient can take Zoloft medicine with or without eating, but it is also advised to take it at the same time each day. When taking the oral suspension, use the dropper provided to measure the required dosage and mix it in a ½ cup of water, lemon soda, lemonade, ginger ale or orange juice.  Stir very well before drinking. Do not mix until the patient is ready to drink the mixture even if it looks hazy. Make sure the entire dose is taken by adding little-recommended liquid in the same glass, shake gently then drink immediately.

Zoloft and Grapefruit

Avoid mixing Zoloft with any other liquid than mentioned above, especially grapefruit juice.  Grapefruit slows down the ability of the gut to process Zoloft, so there is a possibility of increasing sertraline in the blood. Don’t eat grapefruit while taking sertraline medicine either. This could lead to Zoloft nausea, increased heart rate, headache, and sleepiness.

What Is Zoloft Starting Dose?

Zoloft prescription varies for people with different disorders. It is advised to follow a doctor’s prescription or the directions on the label. If a patient misses the required dose of Zoloft or forgot to take it, it is advised to take sertraline as soon as possible. If it’s near the next dose, the missed dose can be skipped then continue at next dose regularly to avoid double dosing.

Can One Snort Zoloft?

It is possible to snort Zoloft, but it won’t be as effective as taking it orally. Such consumption also not recommended by FDA experts. Snorting a drug gives it quick access to the brain and may lead to Zoloft high, but with occasionally deadly consequences.

It can damage body in short-term or long-term use just as snorting crystalline substances. This includes the general effects and damages done from the psychoactive or systematic use of drugs.

Snorting Zoloft has not been deeply studied by experts, but reports from people proved this to be very dangerous.
The side effects associated with snorting Zoloft often include irritability in the nasal cavity, bruises in the nostrils, pains that last for about an hour or more, infections in the nasal cavity, seizures, symptoms of serotonin syndrome, etc.

When to Take Zoloft

Most people are confused about the best time to take Zoloft. Zoloft can be taken once a day either in the morning or in the evening. When taking Zoloft, it is essential to keep a constant schedule. Take Zoloft at the same time of each day to ensure that one has the proper amount in bloodstream. For example, it can be taken immediately after brushing teeth every morning. To ensure more accurate timing, a patient can set a daily alarm to remember when to take Zoloft.

Zoloft can be taken on an empty stomach or within meals.

Best Time of the Day to Take Zoloft

young woman taking pills at right timeEveryone reacts differently with different side effects when taking antidepressants. However, experts advice that SSRI drugs like Zoloft should be taken in the morning. The reason being that this class of antidepressants can cause disruption in sleep and can make people feel more energized especially when starting the medication.

Storage Method

Storing Zoloft is very important to avoid reactions or expiration. Store Zoloft in a closed container at room temperature. Avoid heat, direct sunlight or any form of moisture.
Keep out of the reach of children and avoid keeping expired medicine around. When disposing of, ask a doctor about how to properly dispose of this medicine.

What Else to Avoid

When starting the treatment plan, it is highly recommended to avoid mixing alcohol with Zoloft. A patient should inquire from a doctor before taking painkillers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug for arthritis, fever, swelling, etc.
Other drugs include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, celecoxib, diclofenac, meloxicam, etc. Using these drugs with Zoloft may cause patients to bruise or bleed easily. When taking certain medications, it can interfere with sertraline. Patients should also inquire from a medical doctor before taking sleeping pills, medicines for anxiety, muscle relaxer or drugs for seizures.
Also, don’t mix sertraline and medical cannabis as well as with other over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Patients should inform their doctors about all current medicines or medications that was started or stopped.
When on Zoloft medications, coordination and reactions might be impaired. Patients have to be very careful when driving or actions that require them to be alert.

How Long to Wait Before One Sees Results

When a person is starting Zoloft, it may take about four weeks before a patient can start seeing results. They should keep using the medicine as prescribed by the doctor and should report if they don’t see any sign of improvement. Patients should also report any symptoms they experience to a doctor when on medication.

Help Line Woman

Hope Without Commitment

Find the best treatment options. Call our free and confidential helpline

Most private insurances accepted

Marketing fee may apply

View Sources
Medically Reviewed By Michael Espelin APRN
Nena Messina

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.


Leave a comment

  • Valerie
    Hi Elmira, I was off Zoloft for a week and I couldn’t do without so I started it again and yes all the side effects came back, I felt like throwing up every morning I couldn’t eat, it wasn’t pretty, and that was just being off of it for a week
  • Felipe rodriguezr
    Have been on zoloft for six weeks 50 mg. Also take 75 mg. Tramadol and 4mg. Of clonezepam my anxiety has increased, please advise.
    • Brandy
      Very bad combination! Can cause serotonin syndrome. Tell another dr about the combination and see if you can get something different then tramadol
  • brittneyjduhhh
    that’s weird i took zoloft my whole pregnancy…my doctor actually told me it’s one of the safest depression meds you can take while being pregnant….