By Elizabeth Binsfield BA, RN
Many people receive health benefits from taking the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) Zoloft to manage specific conditions. Zoloft, also known by its generic name sertraline, is prescribed as treatment for conditions such as depression, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, and a severe form of premenstrual syndrome called premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Having such a medication available to treat the symptoms of these disorders is a tremendous relief to those affected. But it’s very important to be aware of any potential interactions with other medications, both those prescribed and those purchased over the counter.
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As with all medications, Zoloft, or sertraline, has potential side effects that you should be mindful of, especially when taking other medicines. If you take Zoloft, it’s important to check the possible side effects and interactions when preparing to take any other medications. Your doctor and pharmacist are important resources to call on to ensure you aren’t combining medications inappropriately.
Zoloft and other medications like it can make your blood somewhat thinner than it was before you began taking it. It can cause you to have nosebleeds or to bruise more easily. You might even find that scrapes and cuts take a little longer to stop bleeding while you’re on Zoloft. This is why it’s so important to learn more about the side effects of other medications to ensure you don’t make your blood even thinner still.
When we have headaches, general aches and pains, or even arthritis pain, we usually reach for what are called anti-inflammatory medications. One of the most commonly known is ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is a very helpful over the counter medication for a variety of ailments, but it also has potential side effects and interactions that are important to consider.
One of the primary concerns with the use of anti-inflammatory medications is their association with stomach upset. They are well known to cause stomach discomfort because they can disrupt the chemistry in our stomachs and cause ulcers with regular use. They also cause the blood to thin, and can lead to excessive bleeding with continuous use.
The health concerns related to thinner blood becomes more likely when you take multiple medications known to cause your blood to thin. The danger of thinner blood is that we are that much more likely to easily bleed. Nosebleeds can be one common occurrence, but of greater concern is the increased risk for bleeding in the brain, which can be extremely dangerous. If you frequently take ibuprofen for pain and you also take Zoloft, you’re at a greater risk for bleeding issues. In addition, if you are elderly, or have kidney or liver disease, your risk for bleeding is even greater.
For over-the-counter pain relief without the risk of thinning the blood, acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a safer choice because it does not have the same side effects. However, you may want to discuss other options with your doctor. There may be topical medications or patches that the doctor determines are safe for you to use in addition to Tylenol. You may also be able to save as much as 80% on your Zoloft prescription and others by using ScriptSave ® WellRx. The WellRx website also offers free helpful tools for managing, tracking, and refilling your medications.
Elizabeth Binsfield, RN is a Richmond, Virginia-based registered nurse and freelance healthcare writer, who has more than 20 years of experience in medical-surgical acute care nursing, wound care, geriatrics, and home and hospice care. She received her nursing degree from Northern Virginia Community College.