Can you take sertraline and valium together?

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In this blog post, we are going to talk about the safety and efficacy of the concomitant use of sertraline and valium. Both of these medicines are used for a number of mental health conditions. 

This blog will cover the possible interactions between these two drugs and we will also discuss some warnings that come with both sertraline and valium. 

Can you take sertraline and valium together?

Yes, you can use sertraline and valium together, but only if your healthcare provider has prescribed this combination. In some conditions, the combination therapy of sertraline and valium is preferred as compared to the monotherapy. 

Several research studies have come forward to explain how the use of valium can be helpful, especially during the first few weeks of your treatment with sertraline. 

Sertraline is an antidepressant. It is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and is used to treat mild to severe episodes of depression and generalised anxiety disorder. 

Sertraline inhibits the reuptake of serotonin by blocking serotonin transporters (SERT). This results in increased serotonergic activity. However, the drug takes time to make these changes in your system, but it starts to produce the side effects right away. 

The most common early side effect of sertraline is anxiety. This anxiety can get so bad that some people stop using the antidepressant before it even kicks in. This is a major problem with sertraline use and this is where valium comes into the picture. 

Valium and other benzodiazepines can be used to control early anxiety caused by sertraline. The treatment is usually continued till your antidepressant kicks in. These meds together can control multiple overlapping symptoms of anxiety and depression. These symptoms include:

  • Restlessness 
  • Extreme distress
  • Irritability 
  • Suicidal behavior 
  • Inability to engage in daily life activities 
  • Weight loss or gain, depending on the effect of the condition on eating habits
  • Excessive sweating 
  • An urge to get isolated
  • Hopelessness 
  • Worthlessness 
  • Confusion 
  • Social disconnection 

Valium is a benzodiazepine, which is an anti-anxiety medication. Individually, it is used for the treatment of anxiety, convulsions and panic attacks. This medication basically mimics inhibitory chemicals in your brain, like GABA, to control the excessive neuronal activity. 

The onset of action of valium is much quicker than sertraline. Valium typically takes a few hours to work and its effects last longer, as it is considered a long acting benzodiazepine.

A few studies indicate that benzodiazepines may play an important role in the management of depression and can be used in combination with antidepressants for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). 

The same study revealed that GABA can make an impact on your depression through GABA depression theory and benzodiazepines can control this effect. 

Another 2019 research study monitored the effects of this combination of antianxiety and antidepressants for the treatment of MDD. 

The study used various standardisation techniques and concluded that it is indeed an effective combination and can significantly help to reduce the early anxiety caused by antidepressants. 

What are the possible interactions between sertraline and valium? 

Sertraline and valium may interact with each other and cause the following side effects:

  • Increased sedation
  • Dizziness 
  • Fatigue 
  • Impaired senses 
  • Impairment of motor coordination 
  • Difficulty in concentrating 
  • Blackouts

These side effects can vary from person to person and they depend on the doses of this combination. If you are at low doses, the most common thing you can experience is dizziness and sleepiness. However, higher doses cause much more damage. 

Elderly patients are more susceptible to the interactions between sertraline and valium. They may also suffer from additional effects like memory loss, impairment of motor coordination and troubled judgement.

What are the side effects associated with the use of sertraline and valium? 

Both sertraline and valium are associated with some side effects that may range from mild to severe. It totally depends on the doses of these two meds. 

Side effects of sertraline 

  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Feeling angry or agitated
  • Weight gain
  • Inability to digest food
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of libido
  • Sweating/Night sweats
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Impotence
  • Inability to ejaculate

Some serious and rare side effects include:

  • Allergic reactions, like rash, hives are common. It also includes wheezing, difficulty in breathing, tightness in the chest, trouble breathing, swallowing, or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat. 
  • Convulsions 
  • The inability to have an erection
  • Hypothyroidism (low thyroid gland function)
  • Bone marrow failure associated with low blood counts
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Neutropenia 
  • Abnormal behaviour/mania 
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Feeling guilty all the time
  • Extrapyramidal symptoms

Side effects of valium 

  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness or fatigue 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Muscle pain
  • Vision problems 
  • Headache 
  • Hypersomnia 
  • Forgetfulness 
  • Troubled or intrusive thoughts
  • Impairment of motor coordination 
  • Constipation or diarrhoea 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Increased or decreased appetite 

Serious side effects include:

  • Allergic reaction associated with symptoms like redness of skin, itching, painful blisters, blue-purple patches, burning sensation etc. 
  • Serious respiratory depression which lowers down breathing rate and can decrease the availability of oxygen in the blood. It could be life-threatening for people suffering from asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) 
  • Dementia 
  • Abnormal behaviour
  • Blackouts 

How to ensure the proper use of sertraline and valium? 

Immediately talk to your healthcare provider if you experience unusual side effects while taking valium and sertraline together. Do not recommend this combination to someone else and use it as long as your doctor has advised. 

Inform your doctor if you’re pregnant, trying to conceive. Valium should not be used by pregnant women and sertraline can also be dangerous for the fetus, especially when used in the third trimester. 

Inform your doctor if you’re a breastfeeding mother. Both of these drugs are capable of passing into the breastmilk and may cause side effects in newborns. 

Sertraline comes with a black-box warning as it may induce suicidal behavior in users younger than 24 years of age. If you have someone who shows suicidal behavior or you see hopelessness in them, make sure you keep an eye on them and get medical attention as soon as you can. 

One of the side effects of valium include respiratory depression, which is dose dependent. 

A person with normal respiratory function might not even notice this side effect on the normal therapeutic dose, but people with chronic breathing disorders like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema etc, can suffer from significant breathing difficulties. 

Similarly, sertraline is considered safe to be used in cardiac patients, but it could cause QT elongation and make pre-existing arrhythmia even worse. Valium is also known for causing an addiction, which is why it is not suitable for prolonged use. 

Doctors usually recommend using it as long as your antidepressant kicks in. After that, both anxiety and depression can be managed by sertraline and valium is slowly tapered off because it is not safe to use benzodiazepines for a long period of time. 

Do not stop valium or sertraline abruptly. If it’s time for you to stop one or both of these meds, your doctor will simply recommend a taper schedule for you, which should be followed vigilantly if you wish to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay. 

Report any problems with bleeding or bruising to your doctor. If you see any unexplained blisters or rashes on your body, or experience any problems with urination, or if you feel changes in your vision, immediately report to your healthcare provider. 

If the combination of valium and sertraline makes you sleepy, make sure you avoid the following activities:

  • Do not drive when you’re feeling tired or drowsy. Driving requires your full physical and mental alertness and it’s in your best interest to avoid it when you’re tired and have low energy levels.
  • If you’re an employee in some factory where you are supposed to operate heavy machinery, don’t! Your drowsiness might cause an accident and can make you or others around you severely injured. 
  • Make sure you’re not taking any other medication that might be contributing to your drowsiness. Do not drink alcohol, or you’ll end up dulling your senses even more. 

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have discussed the concomitant use of sertraline and valium. These may interact with each other and increase the risk of sedation, dizziness, fatigue, impaired senses and difficulty in concentrating. 

Elderly patients are more susceptible to these side effects and may suffer from additional effects like memory loss, impairment of motor coordination and troubled judgement. However, these two meds are still used together. 

The dose at which you take these two drugs can make a huge impact on your health. Make sure you use these two meds only when the combination treatment is preferred by your mental healthcare professional. Do not start any other medication along with your prescribed antidepressant. 

FAQs:Sertraline and valium

Is sertraline the same as Valium?

No, valium and sertraline are not the same. Valium is a benzodiazepine. It is used to help control anxiety, convulsions and panic attacks. This medication basically mimics inhibitory chemicals in your brain, like GABA, to control the excessive neuronal activity. 

Sertraline, on the other hand, is an antidepressant. It is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). This med inhibits the reuptake of serotonin by blocking serotonin transporters (SERT). This results in increased serotonergic activity which can treat mild to severe episodes of depression and generalised anxiety disorder. 

What medications can you not take with Valium?

  • Other anti-anxiety medications or sleeping pills. The concomitant use can dangerously increase the sedation and may cause confusion. 
  • Antipsychotic medications
  • Opioid drugs, including painkillers and anti-tussive (cough relieving) medications. The concomitant use can cause serious psychological side effects and respiratory depression. 
  • Alcohol

What drugs should not be taken with sertraline?

  • Monoaminoxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). The combination use can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome. 
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). The combination use can increase the risk of bleeding. 
  • Pimozide. The concomitant use can increase the plasma concentration(availability of a drug in the blood) of pimozide to much higher levels. It can result in life-threatening arrhythmia.
  • Controlled substances, including all narcotic analgesics. The concomitant use can cause severe psychological side effects. 
  • Mood stabilisers 
  • Alcohol 

Can you take diazepam with antidepressants?

Yes, you can take diazepam with antidepressants if your healthcare provider has prescribed these meds together. Valium and other benzodiazepines can be used to control early anxiety caused by antidepressants. 

The treatment is usually continued till your antidepressant kicks in. These meds are also used together for the treatment of comorbid anxiety and depression. 

Is Valium good for anxiety?

Yes, valium is good for anxiety. In fact, it is known as an anti-anxiety medication because it is specially used to treat anxiety. It belongs to the class of benzodiazepines and it starts working soon after taking the first ever dose. It not only treats your anxiety, but also helps you sleep better. However, it is not recommended to use these agents for a long period of time because they cause addiction. 

References 

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