Zoloft and Xanax are two different kinds of prescription drugs that are both used to treat depression and anxiety. However, these drugs are not the same. Many people wonder if mixing Zoloft and Xanax is safe because they’re both used to treat the same things. Today we’re looking into whether you can take Zoloft and Xanax together safely and the possible risks.
What’s the Difference Between Xanax and Zoloft?
Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam, which is a type of benzodiazepine that’s used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. As a benzo, Xanax stimulates the release of the calming neurotransmitter gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA).
GABA is an inhibitory chemical messenger that reduces activity in the brain, resulting in the user feeling calmer and more relaxed. Common side effects of Xanax include:
- Dry mouth
- Impaired coordination
- Impaired memory
- Decreased libido
When prescribed for panic disorder, Xanax doses start at 0.5 mg three times daily and may be increased at intervals every 3 to 4 days by no more than 1 mg daily. When used to treat conditions like seasonal affective disorder (SAD), Xanax is prescribed at a dose of 0.25 mg to 0.5 mg three times daily.
Zoloft is the brand name for sertraline, which is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. This means that it improves symptoms of depression and anxiety by elevating levels of serotonin in the brain.
Serotonin is a chemical messenger or neurotransmitter that sends signals between nerve cells. It plays a role in various functions in the body, from your mood and emotions to your motor skills.
Serotonin is considered a mood stabilizer that also helps with sleeping, eating, and digesting. Low serotonin levels are often linked to depression and anxiety, which is why SSRIs like Zoloft are so effective in treating these conditions.
Zoloft may also produce unwanted side effects like:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Increased sweating
- Upset stomach
- Trouble sleeping
In addition to depression, Zoloft is used to treat conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder, social phobia, premature ejaculation, and vascular headaches. The usual dose of Zoloft is 25 mg to 50 mg per day with a maximum of 200 mg per day.
Are Xanax and Zoloft the Same Thing?
Zoloft and Xanax are not the same drugs, despite their similar uses. While Zoloft is an antidepressant and not a controlled substance, Xanax is a benzodiazepine and a controlled substance. However, both drugs require a prescription.
Additionally, although Zoloft and Xanax are similar in the sense that they both have a potential for abuse and addiction. It’s important to take these prescription medications as prescribed to avoid misuse and addiction.
Can You Take Xanax With Zoloft?
Although it’s possible for a doctor to prescribe these two medications together, generally speaking, you should not take Xanax and Zoloft together unless directed to by a doctor.
Possible Xanax and Zoloft side effects include:
- Extreme sedation
- Skin rash
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Serotonin syndrome
The main risk of a Zoloft Xanax interaction is serotonin syndrome. Because both medications work by increasing serotonin levels to improve mood and other mental health symptoms, taking them together could lead to a spike in serotonin, resulting in this condition.
Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:
- Rapid heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Muscle rigidity or stiffness
- Upset stomach
- Excessive sweating
- High fever
Without proper treatment, serotonin syndrome can become life-threatening. Not only do Zoloft and Xanax interact by producing high serotonin levels, but together they can also lead to an overdose if the doses are high enough.
To avoid serotonin syndrome, antidepressant overdose, and other possible negative reactions of Zoloft and Xanax, speak to your doctor to make sure that taking these medications together is safe. Although some doctors may prescribe the two together, doses are carefully measured and adjusted to prevent any negative reactions.
Do not attempt to mix Xanax and Zoloft on your own. Do not take higher doses of either drug than prescribed or take someone else’s prescription drugs.
Zoloft and Xanax – The Takeaway
Although these medications may be prescribed together depending on the nature of the person’s symptoms, you should always speak to your doctor before taking them together. Doctors take various health concerns and situations involving your health into account when prescribing prescription drugs, so to be safe, you should always consult them about any prescriptions.
Additionally, drug abuse can give way to addiction and other health risks. For those who have developed an addiction to drugs or alcohol, our Massachusetts treatment center offers prescription drug addiction treatment and other addiction services to help patients heal from the physical and psychological impact of drugs.
Most patients start with medically monitored detox, a form of medication-assisted treatment in which patients are slowly weaned off of drugs and alcohol while given medication (as needed) to manage withdrawal symptoms. Following detox, patients then move on to the therapy portion of their rehab programs.
Clients at our Massachusetts inpatient drug rehab will have the opportunity to work individually and in group settings with counselors to understand their conditions, develop sober life skills, and promote peer support. Recovery is possible for everyone, no matter how serious their addiction to drugs or alcohol is.