Can doxylamine be taken with sertraline? (5 side effects)
In this article, we will discuss whether doxylamine can be taken with sertraline. We will discuss the potential risks of this combination and some alternative strategies to avoid this combination.
Can doxylamine be taken with sertraline?
Doxylamine can be taken with sertraline, but this combination might not be suitable for some individuals. Doxylamine does not interact with sertraline; it does not affect the metabolism of the antidepressant or alter the way it works (1,2).
Sertraline, on the other hand, does not affect the pharmacological action of doxylamine. However, the major issue with taking these two drugs together is the increased risk of side effects or the risk of additive side effects, which occur when two drugs that can cause similar side effects are used concomitantly (3,4).
It is also important to note that these side effects can vary from person to person, and some people can safely take these meds together. However, not everyone can. Different people have different factors affecting their health.
If someone with comorbidities takes these meds together or someone sensitive to either doxylamine or sertraline, such people can experience additive side effects and should avoid such combinations.
What are the potential risks of taking doxylamine with sertraline?
The potential risks of taking doxylamine with sertraline are (3,4):
Combining doxylamine with sertraline can increase drowsiness, leading to excessive sleepiness and lethargy. This high sedative effect can affect your physical and mental health.
Taking doxylamine with sertraline may contribute to increased weakness, potentially affecting overall physical strength. This side effect can be significant for individuals with pre-existing health conditions or who are susceptible to fatigue.
Concurrent use of doxylamine and sertraline can result in increased dizziness, lightheadedness or instability – which can be problematic, especially when standing up or moving too quickly.
Impairment of motor coordination:
Taking doxylamine with sertraline can increase the risk of impaired motor coordination, especially in elderly individuals. This can significantly increase the risk of falls and injuries, as such people tend to lose their balance.
Prolonged use of doxylamine with sertraline may contribute to forgetfulness or memory issues. This cognitive side effect does not affect you right away and persistent use of medications that can affect your brain or cause sedation can lead to this.
Is it okay to take doxylamine if sertraline causes insomnia?
It might be okay for you to take doxylamine if sertraline causes insomnia. However, it’s best to discuss sertraline-induced side effects with your healthcare provider for the best course of action to mitigate them. Zoloft-induced insomnia is considered temporary but can affect people severely.
If sertraline is affecting your sleep to the point where you need a sleep aid, your doctor will help you out and recommend the safest medication for that. Both OTC and prescription meds can be used as sleep aids.
It is also important to note that people with severe insomnia associated with sertraline may take a suitable benzodiazepine for the first few weeks of their treatment or until sertraline kicks in (5).
This can help with both anxiety and sleep disturbances and is beneficial for people with depression and anxiety comorbid with clinical insomnia (5). However, benzodiazepines are prescription meds with a high potential for addiction and abuse, so it might not be a good treatment approach for certain individuals.
However, OTC sleep aids like doxylamine, diphenhydramine, etc, can be taken in such cases. It is important to note that these medications can cause other additive side effects, like dizziness, and should be taken if recommended by a healthcare professional.
What are the non-sedative alternatives to doxylamine for allergy symptoms?
If you’re taking doxylamine with sertraline for allergy symptoms, there are some safer alternatives you can try.
Second-generation antihistamines, including cetirizine, loratadine, fexofenadine, etc, are known as non-sedative antihistamines and can help manage your allergy symptoms without causing sleepiness as first-generation antihistamines such as doxylamine.
However, it’s important to note that while cetirizine is generally non-drowsy, some individuals may experience sedation as a side effect. So, if you are someone who feels drowsy after taking cetirizine, you should take other second-generation antihistamines, like loratadine and fexofenadine.
What to do if you have accidentally taken doxylamine with sertraline?
If you have accidentally taken doxylamine with sertraline and your head feels heavy, just lie down and get some sleep. This combination does not cause dangerous or life-threatening complications unless dangerously high amounts are taken. So, if you have taken both, try and relax.
Do not engage in any activity that requires you to be focused or mentally alert, like driving or operating machinery, as this can increase the risk of accidents. If you’re too dizzy, just lie down and avoid walking unnecessarily to avoid falling and potentially hurting yourself.
However, if you or someone you know feels unusual after taking this combination and has other comorbidities, seeking medical attention is important.
As a pharmacist, I have seen people overdosing on these medications or even OTC sleep aids, as these drugs are easily available compared to prescription medications.
This is an unsafe approach, and even OTC medications can cause unpredictable side effects when taken in higher amounts. So, it’s best to talk to your provider and discuss your health issues for a safe and effective treatment approach.
- Singh HK, Saadabadi A. Sertraline. 2023 Feb 13. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 31613469. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547689
- Brott NR, Reddivari AKR. Doxylamine. 2023 Jun 5. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 31869110. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551646
- National Library of Medicine. Sertraline: MedlinePlus Drug Information [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. National Library of Medicine. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a697048.html
- National Library of Medicine. Doxylamine: MedlinePlus Drug Information [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. National Library of Medicine. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682537.html
- Dunlop BW, Davis PG. Combination treatment with benzodiazepines and SSRIs for comorbid anxiety and depression: a review. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2008;10(3):222-8. doi: 10.4088/pcc.v10n0307. PMID: 18615162; PMCID: PMC2446479. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18615162/