Symptoms of a Zoloft Overdose

Woman looking at pills in hand
Paul Bradbury / Getty Images

Zoloft (sertraline) is a popular medication used to treat an array of mental disorders. It belongs to a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Zoloft is usually prescribed for anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It's also used to treat major depressive ​disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

PLEASE NOTE

If you think that you or someone else has taken an overdose of Zoloft, get help right away. If you're feeling suicidal, call your doctor, a suicide hotline, or emergency medical services.

Overdosing

A person's tolerance for a particular drug depends on several factors, including age, body weight, overall health, and whether they've taken any other drugs along with it. This makes it hard to generalize about whether a particular amount of Zoloft is potentially harmful. One dosage of this drug may be exactly right for relieving symptoms for one person, while the same amount of medication could lead to an overdose in another.

Symptoms

Someone who's taken too much Zoloft could have any one, or a combination, of many potential reactions. However, there are a few symptoms of Zoloft overdose that are common, including:

  • Sleepiness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Confusion
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Agitation
  • Drowsiness
  • Shakiness

Possible Severe Effects

The less common, but more severe, medical consequences of taking an overdose of Zoloft include:

  • Fainting
  • Heart problems
  • Changes in blood pressure (to higher or lower than normal)
  • Seizures
  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations
  • Stupor
  • Mania
  • Inflammation of the pancreas

Serotonin Syndrome

Too much Zoloft also can lead to a life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome, in which dangerously high levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin build up in the brain. Serotonin syndrome is most likely to happen if another drug has been taken along with Zoloft. On very rare occasions, people have fallen into a coma or even died from a Zoloft overdose.

Getting Medical Assistance

It's important to note that if you or someone you know has accidentally taken a higher dose of Zoloft than prescribed, it's a good idea to get help right away before the drug has a chance to cause unpleasant or dangerous problems.

If a trip to an emergency room isn't possible for some reason, call your local Poison Control center. The staff there is trained to be able to assess your situation over the phone and give advice about what to do. Poison Control is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, you can reach their toll-free national hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or by going to PoisonHelp.org. To save this information on your smartphone so you'll always have it handy, text "POISON" to 797979.

Information to Have Ready

When you go to the ER or call Poison Control, the more information you're able to share, the more precise the treatment can be. It will be helpful if you have the following information available:

  • How much Zoloft your or your loved one consumed (actual amount or your best guess)
  • Your or your loved one's regular dosage (what the doctor prescribed)
  • Your or your loved one's age, gender, and weight
  • How long it's been since the drug was taken
  • Any other drugs or supplements that may have been taken along with Zoloft
  • Whether your loved one seemed to have the intention to commit suicide
  • Your or your loved one's symptoms

Treatment

If the overdose has been taken fairly recently, it may be possible to pump your or your loved one's stomach to remove any of the drug that hasn't been absorbed yet. Another option is to use activated charcoal, which will soak up any remaining medication in the stomach.

There's no antidote for a Zoloft overdose. This means the most that can be done is carefully monitoring your or your loved one's vital signs—heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure—and treating any problems that may arise. The same is true of more serious symptoms, such as seizures.

Was this page helpful?
View Article Sources
  • Medline Plus. Sertraline. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Updated April 15, 2017.