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Missed taking zoloft for few days and feeling like almost passing out. Safe remedy?

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General & Family Physician
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My 89 year old father forgot to take his zoloft for 5 days. He feels like he is dying. He can't sleep, can't eat, anxious, confused. I'm not sure how much longer he can take this at his age. He has taken his regular dose for 3 days again now.
Posted Mon, 11 Mar 2013 in Medicines and Side Effects
Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 44 minutes later

Thank you for your query.

It appears your father is experiencing withdrawal symptoms from discontinuing zoloft (sertraline).

Patients discontinuing sertraline experience the withdrawal symptoms much earlier than patients on other medications from the same drug group. The reason for this is the short half-life (half the time taken for a substance to be eliminated from the body). Thus, patients on sertraline are advised to slowly and gradually reduce the dosage and get out of the habit of these medications.

The bad news is that, these withdrawal symptoms can last from one to four months in few individuals. The method used to get rid of these withdrawal symptoms is to switch to a drug with a longer half-life (under the supervision of your doctor of course), and then discontinuing from that drug (eg. fluoxetine, citalopram, etc.).

Thus, my advise would be to visit your fathers treating doctor for this change. I hope this information helps. Feel free to write back to me for any further clarifications.

Best wishes.
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