Zoloft (sertraline) is one of the most popular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Statistics even reveal that in 2013, Zoloft (sertraline) was the most prescribed antidepressant in the United States. While many people have found that Zoloft (sertraline) is a particularly effective medication, others have responded poorly to the medication and ended up experiencing a variety of complications. Because of these complications, some patients decide to quit using the medication. Withdrawal from Zoloft (sertraline), however, can be a difficult process, so there are some important pieces of information that a person should know.

Article at a Glance:

  • Zoloft dosages range from 50-200 mg and is typically taken once per day as an antidepressant.
  • Zoloft has a half-life of 24-26 hours.
  • Approximately 44% of Zoloft can be found in a person’s urine and feces nine days after ingestion.
  • Your dosage and individual physiology factors affect how long Zoloft stays in your system.

Zoloft (Sertraline) Prescription Fact

It is a wise idea to understand some important details about Zoloft (sertraline), which include the following pieces of information:

  • Zoloft (sertraline) is often prescribed to be taken once per day. The dosage can be taken with or without food.
  • Dosages for Zoloft (sertraline) range between 50 mg and 200 mg.
  • If you miss a dose of Zoloft (sertraline), do not take two doses the next time because this can have adverse consequences.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol, using illegal drugs or taking any other type of antidepressant medication while taking Zoloft (sertraline). This increases the severity of side effects from the medications.
  • Be aware of the most common side effects of the medication including diarrhea, dry mouth, headache, increased sweating and nausea. Less common side effects include difficulty with blood clotting and several other deadly medical conditions.

Zoloft (Sertraline) Regulations

Zoloft (sertraline) is not one of the controlled substances on the list of scheduled substances. As a result, some sites sell Zoloft to patients without the requirement of a valid prescription. Many people have argued that the lack of regulations have caused Zoloft to be used in a dangerous manner.

Most Commonly Abused Drugs Containing Sertraline

Sertraline is just one type of SSRI. While the medication is most commonly used to treat manic-depressive disorder, it is also used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorders and social phobia. The medication is also used for “off-label” conditions including binge-eating disorders and bulimia nervosa.

How Zoloft (Sertraline) Affects The Brain And Body

The exact way in which SSRIs like Zoloft (sertraline) work is still an area being researched by medical experts. Many physicians believe that SSRIs work by blocking serotonin (which is responsible for mood regulation) from being reabsorbed into the body’s neurons. Serotonin that is absorbed in this manner is much less effective at controlling conditions like depression. Through limiting this absorption, SSRIs help to strengthen neural pathways and combat depression.

Half-Life Of Zoloft (Sertraline)

One of the most common questions that people ask going through withdrawal from any SSRI is how long the medication will remain in their system. The answer lies in a term referred to as “half-life,” which refers to the amount of time that it takes half of the drug’s traces in a person’s system to be removed. Zoloft (sertraline) has a half-life of 24 to 26 hours, which means that it will take a person roughly a day for the drug’s presence to reduce to half the amount. In another 24 hours, the amount in a person’s body will decrease to 25% or half of the remaining amount. This division continues until the drug is removed from a person’s system. It should be noted, however, that the metabolite “Desmethylsertraline” found in Zoloft (sertraline) has a long half-life of 66 hours and, as a result, will remain in a person’s system for a long time.

Factors That Influence How Long Zoloft (Sertraline) Stays In Your System

It is important to understand that the reported half-life for Zoloft (sertraline) is only an estimate. There are numerous factors that influence the exact length of time that the medication takes to leave a person’s body, which include the following factors:

  • Dosage. The dosage of Zoloft (sertraline) that a person takes influence how quickly the medication leaves their system. While not always true, the greater amount of the medication that a person takes, the longer that it takes to eliminate the medication from that person’s body.
  • Individual Physiology Factors. Various factors cause the same amount of Zoloft (sertraline) to leave one person’s body at a faster or slower rate than another. Some of these factors include age, genetics and sex. For example, the medication tends to leave the systems of younger patients faster.

How Long Does Zoloft (Sertraline) Stay In Your Urine and Blood?

As the previous sections of this article have explained, the exact time that it takes Zoloft (sertraline) to leave a person’s blood is based on both the half-life for the drug as well as a variety of factors that change between person. Statistics reveal that 44% of a Zoloft (sertraline) is found in a person’s urine within nine days post-ingestion, with a similar 44% being recovered in feces. This can present difficulties during drug tests because Zoloft (sertraline) can show up as benzodiazepine in drug tests.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.