Does Ativan interact with Zoloft? (3+ additive side effects)

In this article, we will discuss whether there is any interaction between Ativan and Zoloft. We will also discuss some research studies and the potential benefits and risks of this combination.

Does Ativan interact with Zoloft?

Ativan does not necessarily interact with Zoloft. However, these medications should be taken cautiously as they can cause additive side effects when taken together and can lead to fatal complications if extremely high doses are consumed. 

Ativan, also known as lorazepam, is a common benzodiazepine prescribed for anxiety and insomnia (1). Zoloft, also known as sertraline, is one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants to manage anxiety, depression, and related symptoms (2). 

These medications are often prescribed together to manage both anxiety and depression more effectively. However, whenever these medications are prescribed, the doses and timings are adjusted according to the patient’s needs. 

Zoloft is typically prescribed to be taken in the morning, while Ativan should be taken at bedtime because of its sedative effects. This time adjustment helps with spacing these medications out and making the most out of them. 

In combinations where benzos are paired with antidepressants, the overall duration of treatment is kept short. This is because benzodiazepines are schedule IV drugs with a high potential for addiction and abuse, unlike Zoloft, which is not considered a drug of abuse. 

Furthermore, people are different and can respond differently to medications, so this combo might not work for everyone.

What does research suggest?

Research studies have indicated that benzodiazepines such as Ativan can be used with SSRIs, including Zoloft, Lexapro, Celexa, etc to manage depression comorbid with anxiety disorders (3). This combination can effectively work for both conditions and is generally considered well-tolerated at adjusted doses. 

The studies have also indicated that taking Ativan during the early course of Zoloft treatment can help with antidepressant-induced early anxiety in some people (3). These medications can also cause insomnia, and it takes time for people to adjust to antidepressants. 

Taking Ativan or another suitable benzodiazepine concomitantly can help with early insomnia and anxiety, making your treatment plan more comfortable until the antidepressant kicks in (3). However, misusing Ativan and Zoloft can lead to fatal complications and such cases have been reported previously (4). 

Some research studies have also indicated that Ativan can be given as part of the clinical management of serotonin syndrome triggered by Zoloft monotherapy, as it can help relax such patients (5).

What are the benefits of taking Ativan with Zoloft?

The main benefit of taking Ativan and Zoloft together is the management of depression comorbid with anxiety disorders. This combination can also help manage Zoloft-induced anxiety, agitation, and insomnia, calming people down. 

Early anxiety and insomnia are common side effects of SSRIs, which can impact patient compliance. People may believe that Zoloft is negatively affecting their health and worsening their condition. 

Furthermore, insomnia makes it even more difficult by affecting energy levels and causing lethargy, mood disturbances, etc. However, these side effects can improve when Ativan is taken along with Zoloft.

What are the risks of taking Ativan with Zoloft?

Taking Ativan and Zoloft together can cause the following additive side effects: (1,2)

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Impaired coordination
  • Loss of balance 
  • Increased risk of falls/injury

It’s important to note that this combination may affect people differently, and some individuals should not take these medications. This includes those who are elderly, have dementia or have any underlying health conditions that could be affected by this combination. 

Furthermore, individuals with psychotic disorders should avoid taking sertraline, as it can trigger manic episodes.

How to ensure the safe use of Ativan with Zoloft?

The following points are important to ensure the safe and effective use of Ativan with Zoloft: 

  • Take Ativan and Zoloft exactly as your doctor told you. Stick to the plan.
  • Do not take a higher dose, especially Ativan – which is a scheduled IV drug with a high potential for addiction and abuse. The typical dosage recommendations for Ativan are: (1)
Condition/UseStandard Dose
Anxiety Disorders2 mg to 3 mg (divided doses)
Insomnia due to Anxiety2 mg to 4 mg at bedtime
Preoperative Sedation2 mg to 4 mg
Seizures (Adjunctive Therapy)2 mg to 4 mg
  • Don’t take any other medications without telling your doctor. Some can interact with Ativan and Zoloft.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol while you are taking these meds together. Alcohol can exacerbate some of the side effects.
  • Keep an eye out for anything unusual. If you notice new symptoms, let your doctor know.

Combining benzodiazepines with antidepressants

In my experience as a pharmacist, I have seen many people taking Ativan and Zoloft together. The typical doses are 0.5mg of Ativan combined with 50 mg of Zoloft. At these doses, this combination can be well-tolerated and help overcome depression and anxiety symptoms safely and effectively. 

However, people may experience drowsiness, dizziness, tiredness, etc., when they first start taking the medication, which is important to discuss with the provider if it’s too overwhelming. Further dose adjustment can help in such cases, as Zoloft can make some people sleepy and tired. 

I also advise my patients not to engage in any activity that requires their full mental alertness right after taking these meds unless they don’t know how this combination makes them feel. If you happen to notice any unusual side effects, you should promptly report it to your doctor.


  1. Ghiasi N, Bhansali RK, Marwaha R. Lorazepam. 2023 Jan 31. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 30422485.
  2. Singh HK, Saadabadi A. Sertraline. 2023 Feb 13. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 31613469. Available from:
  3. 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.
  4. Filter ER, Gorczynski L, Fernandes JR. Fatal intoxication with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, lorazepam, and codeine. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2007 Dec;28(4):361-3. doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e31815b4c37. PMID: 18043028.
  5. Duignan KM, Quinn AM, Matson AM. Serotonin syndrome from sertraline monotherapy. Am J Emerg Med. 2020 Aug;38(8):1695.e5-1695.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2019.158487. Epub 2019 Nov 16. PMID: 31837902. 

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!