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New to zoloft- need help!

I started with a teeny dose of Zoloft around Christmas of 2009 (12.5) mg, and am about to up to 50 mg this weekend. I am very sensitive to drugs, and my primary doctor gave me .25mg Xanax to help with the anxiety until we reach the therapeutic dose. I have horrible anxiety and panic attacks, and what no one ever seems to define is HOW do you know when you reach a therapeutic dose? How long will it take before kicking in? I'm new to taking meds, so any advice would be great!
3 Responses
1100140 tn?1260597869
I started out on the same dose and am now up to 100mg also sensitive to drugs and have a BIG fear of them. Its hard to explain but you just start feeling better, one day I woke up and was like "hey I feel some better" you will just know . And it does take a few weeks to reach full affect. People are all different on meds. Might take longer or might take shorter time to work.
Good Luck and hope everything gets better soon for you!!
Melinda
480448 tn?1426952138
Hi daisy, welcome!

Like melinda said above, it's kind of hard to explain when these meds start working, it is sometimes very vague, you just sort of start feeling better, and many times, you don't even realize it until you start looking back at the last few days/weeks.  It can be a very subtle change at first, but yet the improvements significant once you start comparing how you felt before the med, then after.

Sounds to me like you have a good doctor, one who is taking into consideration your sensitivity to meds, therefore starting you out at a low dose and very gradually increasing it.  Also, these meds DO typically have some unpleasant side effects at first, which the Xanax will greatly help with.  The good news about that, is that the side effects will start improving until they simply resolve.  Everyone is different, and for some people, that happens quickly, for others, it takes a bit longer to get thru the adjustment period.

Just know that with SSRI medications, it DOES take a while to be able to sincerely assess whether or not the med is effective for you, you have to give it time and be patient (which is VERY hard to do when you are seeking relief!).  To be fair and reasonable, I would advise you to give it at LEAST 6-8 weeks from the LAST dosage adjustment.  You have to take the dosage changes into consideration as well, b/c even those require time for the medication to reach therapeutic levels.  Therefore, since you are doing this gradually, it may take you slightly longer than someone who starts out at a dose closer to the intended Rx'd amount.  That's ok though, b/c doing it this way will likely minimize any side effects and allow your body to gradually adjust to the medication.

The 1st med I ever took for Panic Disorder was Zoloft, and I can tell you that it was truly a miracle for me.  It gave me my life back and allowed me to live a completely anxiety free life.  I ended up on a pretty high dose after time *(200 mg per day), but after I got to the point where my anxiety (and secondary depression) was being managed, I was easily maintained on that dose.  I started out at 50 mg and my initial target dose was 100 mg, which I reached within 2 months.  After that, I didn't require a dosage adjustment for at least about a year.  It is pretty common to require an increase in dosage with these types of medication after time, as they start not being quite as effective, but that usually is manageable with occasional adjustments in dose.  The positive thing is usually, the need to increase the dose is pretty infrequent, and for some, is never necessary.

Again, as far as how to assess it's efficacy for you, you will most likely just start noticing a change in how you feel...you will feel less anxious, and experience an overall improvement in the feeling of your general "well-being".  If you haven't, you should also consider "talk therapy", or CBT *("cognitive behavioral therapy") in addition to the meds.  While meds help many people manage the symptoms of anxiety, therapy provides us with the priceless "tools" we need for learning how to cope with anxiety, and teaches us different things we can do to battle panic or anxiety when it strikes.

Let us know how you're doing on the Zoloft.  Try not to listen to too many horror stories, remember that EVERYONE is different.  What may have been a nightmare med for one person, is the next one's miracle.  Patience is necessary going thru this process, and if you are sincerely wanting to give this a chance, then be sure to give it plenty of time before you make any decisions about how it is working.  It can be rough getting thru those initial side effects, but again, the Xanax should help keep those at bay.  Be sure to keep in communication with your doc.  If you are unsure of how it is working, or suspicious that it is giving you some side effects, always speak with your doc first and think any decision to change or stop the med through very hard...b/c the urge for some people to throw the towel in based on side effects is quite pronounced.  Meanwhile, a majority of people who stick it out and try to endure the initital side effects report that they did start improving pretty quickly, and once they resolved, they found that the med was very helpful.

Best of luck!!!
Avatar universal
Thank you for a great response.  I wish I had someone to speak to about the way I am supposed to feel starting a new drug.  I too, am drug sensitive and was given anti-anxiety meds, but the anxiety just increased tremendously and I had to stop taking them.  My last med was neurontin 300mg and I really wanted it to help my anxiety, maybe I should have given it a chance but it increased my anxiety 5 times what it was and after 3 days I couldn't take it anymore.  I was also on Wellbutrin 150mg and think that it didn't help my anxiety and don't understand how some Drs. prescribe Wellbutrin for GAD!  It helped my depression somewhat, but not my anxiety, actually it increased it.  Now I am weaning off it and going to try Lexapro 10mg. do you think I will have anxiety issues with that in the beginning?  I really am going to stick w/ it and pray that this will work for me.  Thanks for listening.
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