If you are a patient on Zoloft or seek to use it, it helps if you understand several things about the drug. These include questions like how long does Zoloft stay in your system, as well as if it is detectable to drug tests.
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The guide below will provide you with answers to these and other questions.
Doctors prescribe Zoloft for several conditions, including:
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder
The dosage varies depending on the condition and the recipient’s age, starting from 25mg to 50mg per day among children and 50mg to 200mg per day among adults. 200mg is the highest recommended daily dose, but it is only offered after smaller incremental doses have been given for weeks and months.
Zoloft is prescribed to be taken once a day, and it can be taken with or without food and have no harm on you. The only thing to avoid is consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice around the time you are taking the medication. If you maintain the same time of taking Zoloft, you will gain the medication’s full effect and experience no absorption complications.
There are few regulations guiding the use of Zoloft. It is a prescription drug, meaning you cannot obtain it without a doctor’s prescription. However, Zoloft or its primary acting compound, Sertraline is not part of scheduled substances; thus, it is not among the substances whose access is controlled.
This fact leaves a loophole for unethical sites to provide the drug without the patient showing a valid prescription. As such, the drug is susceptible to be abused, leading to addiction.
Zoloft Mechanism of Action in the Body
While Zoloft is the name of the drug, its active compound is Sertraline. Sertraline is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). As such, it slows down the rate at which your body reabsorbs serotonin, a chemical neurotransmitter. Serotonin moves electrical pulses across neurons in the brain.
It is viewed as a mood stabilizer because its levels affect the mood of every person. High serotonin levels lead to high spirits, while low ones lead to mood disorders or bad moods.
By slowing down the reabsorption of serotonin, Zoloft increases the levels of serotonin in the brain, which leads to better moods.
How Is Zoloft Stored in the Body?
Zoloft is metabolized by the liver, where it is broken down in the liver and absorbed mostly into the bloodstream from where it is eliminated after hours through the kidneys and feces. More Sertraline is absorbed into the body if you take it with food. The highest levels of Zoloft concentration in the blood are attained within 4 to 6 hours after you take the pill.
How Long Does It Take for Zoloft to Work?
Zoloft will not start working on your first day of taking the drug. You will need patience as you wait to start noticing the first effects of the drug on your moods and condition. It takes anywhere between two to six weeks for the drug to start working in your body.
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How Zoloft Affects the Brain and Body?
Scientists are still working out how the drug works. The main effect is blocking the reabsorption of serotonin through the neurons. In doing this, Zoloft strengthens the neural pathways and helps combat depression disorders by increasing the levels of Sertraline in the brain, improving your mood.
Factors that Influence How Long Zoloft Stays in Your System
The question most people using the drug have is; how long does Zoloft stay in your system? The answer for this lies in the half-life of the drug. A drug’s half-life is the duration it takes for half of the drug’s traces to leave your system. For Zoloft, this is 24-26 hours. So, it takes a day for you to reduce half of Zoloft in your system, and you continue halving each subsequent amount until you have removed all the Zoloft in your body. The half-life is only an estimate as there are other factors that will influence the exact time that the whole drug will leave your system. These are
- Dosage: Higher dosages mean higher Zoloft concentration levels in the blood, which increases the time it takes to break down the drug and eventual elimination from the body. If you have taken the drug for a longer period, it will also take longer to leave your body.
- Age and Sex: Studies show younger males break down and thus eliminate Zoloft faster from their bodies compared to younger females and both older males and females who all break down the drug at a similar rate.
- Body Mass and Weight: A larger person will take more time to eliminate the drug compared to a smaller person. A heavier person will also trap the drug in body fats which makes it take longer to eliminate it compared to a lighter person.
Other factors like your liver health and genetics factors can also affect how fast you eliminate the drug from your system.
How Long Does Zoloft (Sertraline) Stay in Your Urine and Blood?
It takes about five days for 99% of Zoloft to be eliminated from your blood. For urine, Sertraline and its components will be detected up to 9 days after taking the medication.
How Long Can Zoloft Be Detectable on the Drug Test?
Zoloft detection in a drug test will depend on the kind of drug test you are taking. Usually, you should have the drug out of your system by the tenth day. However, hair samples could test even positive months after you stopped taking the drug.
How Long Does Zoloft Stay in the Hair?
Zoloft stays in hair longer than in any other sample. The elimination period of Zoloft in hair can take several weeks to months.
How Long Does Zoloft Stay in the Saliva?
Zoloft in Saliva gets eliminated at a much faster rate lasting just 48 hours after you stop taking the drug.
What Happens if You Suddenly Stop Taking Zoloft?
If you suddenly stopped taking Zoloft, you may suffer from discontinuation syndrome. This condition will leave you experiencing symptoms like nausea, dizziness and weakness, spasms, tremors, and anxiety.
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