Does zoloft cause night sweats? (5 Things you need to know) 

In this blog, we will learn about zoloft induced night sweats. We will also discuss the reason behind it and how to overcome this condition. If you’ve noticed you are sweating more than usual, you need to take a look at your medication list.

Does zoloft cause night sweats?

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Yes, zoloft is associated with many side effects, one of which is excessive sweating at night, called ‘night sweats’. In fact, zoloft induced night sweats are one of the most disturbing side effects. 

The thought of sweating profusely, in the might of the night, even during winters, is quite disturbing. Zoloft not only causes excessive sweating at night, but at any part of the day. 

Not only zoloft, a lot of other antidepressants do the same. Zoloft belongs to the class of SSRIs. SSRIs increase serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin can affect hypothalamus, which is responsible for regulating your homeostasis. 

It can have an impact on your body temperature and your ability to sweat. Abnormal sweating, is in fact, a very common side effect of SSRI antidepressants, occurring in around 10–20% of patients. It usually sticks around, or even worsens. 

Antidepressant-induced sweating is different for everyone. For some people, it is so severe that they need to find a different drug, or quit antidepressants altogether. 

Is zoloft induced excessive sweating that bad?

Excessive sweating is quite problematic. In short, it is disabling. It affects the quality of life as it ends up disturbing people more than they could imagine. It becomes socially embarrassing for them, and in some cases, they are embarrassed in front of their spouses as well. 

Imagine snowing outside, literally it’s that cold. You wake up in the middle of the night just to find out that you’re sweating profusely. It not only ruins your sleep quality, but also your hygiene as well.

Zoloft induced sweating is more prominent in the upper body, face, scalp, neck and chest. Do not wait for it to subside on its own. This does not go away that easy. 

What could be done? 

If the night sweats are disrupting your life that terribly, one of the few things might help:

Dose reduction

Dose reduction can be considered, if possible. If there’s a chance of your condition worsening with a lower dose, then this option is not so helpful. But if there is a chance to minimise side effects by reducing the dose, without affecting the therapeutic response, this might help. 

Consider changing antidepressant

If feasible, you can switch to a different SSRI or any other class of antidepressant (except bupropion, which has a higher rate of night sweats as compared to any other antidepressant). 

For example, if zoloft (Sertraline) is inducing night sweats in you, ask your healthcare provider to prescribe another antidepressant of the same family (SSRIs), which might help you with depression without inducing excessive sweating. 

Give your body time

Your body might need some time to adapt to the presence of zoloft. These meds affect your brain and alter the amounts of excitatory neurotransmitters, to get rid of your anxiety and depression. It can not happen overnight. 

Side effects associated with zoloft start to fade away within a few weeks. Make sure you give your body enough time to adjust. Do not stop your med abruptly.

What if it gets worse?

If your night sweats get worse and even after weeks of treatment, this side effect persists, your healthcare provider may prescribe some medical treatment to overcome your night sweats. Medications used to reduce excessive sweating include:

TERAZOSIN 

Terazosin is an alpha-1 adrenergic antagonist, generally used in the treatment of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia and management of hypertension. 

In a study conducted in 2013, it was observed that in the beginning of the study, 48.5% patients suffered from high grade sweating. After 14 days of treatment with terazosin, the percentage reduced down by half.

This concludes that terazosin is effective in decreasing sweating severity in patients using zoloft (Sertraline).

Side effects of terazosin 

As it’s nothing new to know that every medicine has its own side effects. Let’s take a look at side effects associated with the use of terazosin. 

  • Chest tightness and pain
  • Dizziness/lightheadedness/vertigo
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Unconsciousness 
  • Arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat.
  • Swelling of lower extremities
  • Impotence (inability to have an erection)
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Stuffy or runny nose

One thing that I always try to tell my readers is, every human body is different, and no I don’t mean physically or the way we look, I mean internally! Just like every human being reacts differently to different situations.

Similarly every human body reacts differently when they are exposed to medications. Every single individual out there has a different physiological composition. A certain medicine might be beneficial for one but ends up producing serious side effects in another. 

GLYCOPYRROLATE AND OXYBUTYNIN

Glycopyrrolate and Oxybutynin are also known as ‘The sweat pills’. Glycopyrrolate (sold under the brand name Robinul) is one of the anticholinergics used most often in the treatment of excessive sweating. 

The effectiveness of glycopyrrolate is often related to the dose a patient is able to handle, and obviously how the patient responds to the drug. Studies suggest that glycopyrrolate reduces sweating efficiently but it is not tolerated by some people because of its side effects.

Side effects of Glycopyrrolate 

Side effects include:

  • Dry mouth (the most common side effect) 
  • Dry eyes or decreased lacrimation
  • Constipation
  • Nausea 

Drinking more water, mints, eye-drops and increased fibre consumption might help fight these side effects.

Fear of serotonin syndrome 

Yes, it is very important to rule out serotonin syndrome as sometimes, you think that excessive sweating is a side effect you’re getting from the use of zoloft, but what if it’s something else? 

Serotonin syndrome (SD), also known as serotonin toxicity, is a potentially life threatening condition involving excessive serotonergic activation. It has many symptoms to talk about. 

The basic cause of this condition is the serotonin overload and the antidepressants are considered the main culprit for this condition. The syndrome is pretty rare, so it is unlikely to occur when a patient is sticking to the dose recommended by the healthcare provider.

Sometimes, they combine the use of these types of medications, for the sake of achieving better results, so if you are already on a stable dose but you combine zoloft with other medications. 

Other non psychological medications, which somehow increase the amount of serotonin in the body, it also results in serotonin syndrome. 

For example, if selene, which is a Parkinson’s disease medication, is also added on a patient when a patient is already on zoloft, it increases the risk for serotonin syndrome. 

Now, let’s briefly talk about the path of physiology behind this condition. It all begins with the amino acid tryptophan, which is used to produce serotonin. 

It actually undergoes a couple of enzymatic reactions and ends up producing serotonin, which can act on a variety of different receptors in the brain to modulate mood, appetite, sleep and attention but it also has other regulatory functions in the body. 

One of the main symptoms of serotonin syndrome is profuse sweating, which is why I had to mention this condition, as oftentimes it is not even a side effect of zoloft but an actual syndrome, and the patient has no clue of it. 

Signs and symptoms of serotonin syndrome 

  • Excessive sweating 
  • Restlessness and fatigue
  • Headache, which often feels like your head is pounding
  • Changes in blood pressure and/or temperature
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bradycardia
  • Tremors
  • Muscle twitching and muscle pain
  • Shivering and goosebumps

Conclusion

Zoloft, an antidepressant, is often seen to be associated with profuse sweating, especially at night. This is indeed a pretty depressing condition, as it decreases the quality of life. 

In this blog, we discussed the options you have if you’re going through this problem. You can either reduce the dose or change the kind of antidepressant you’re on right now. If that doesn’t solve your problem, then terazosin and glycopyrrolate are prescribed to take your excessive sweating down a notch. 

In the end, always look out for serotonin syndrome. Immediately notify your healthcare provider, if you feel excessively increased heartbeat, chills and fever along with sweating. 

FAQs : Zoloft night sweats 

How long do night sweats last with Zoloft?

It depends on the dose you’re prescribed. Antidepressants usually take 4 to 6 weeks to produce their effects, as well as side effects. Most probably, these side effects subside when your body adapts to the presence of the med. 

Some side effects don’t. Make sure you discuss the do’s and don’ts with your healthcare provider. 

Why do antidepressants cause night sweats?

SSRIs induce sweating by blocking muscarinic receptors. Abnormal sweating, is in fact, a very common side effect of SSRI antidepressants, occurring in around 10–20% of patients. 

It usually sticks around, or even worsens. Antidepressant-induced sweating can take various forms, one of which is night sweats.

For some patients, the antidepressant-induced sweating is so severe that they need to find a different drug, or quit antidepressants altogether.

How do I stop night sweats from antidepressants?

As we have discussed in this blog, dose reduction can be considered, if possible. If there’s a chance of your condition worsening with a lower dose, then this option is not so helpful. But if there is a chance of doing so, this might help. 

Consider changing your antidepressant, if feasible. You can switch to a different SSRI or any other class of antidepressant (except bupropion, which has a higher rate of night sweats as compared to any other antidepressant).

In severe cases, terazosin or glycopyrrolate are recommended. 

Can paroxetine cause night sweats?

Yes, it can. Paroxetine is a member of SSRIs family. Its side effect profile is somewhat similar to other members of this class of antidepressants. Make sure you don’t exceed the recommended dose. 

What are the most common side effects of Zoloft?

Most common side effects include nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, loss of appetite, increased sweating, diarrhoea, upset stomach, trouble sleeping, weight gain and decreased libido. 

Nausea and vomiting may be more likely to occur with initial use of zoloft. It improves over time when the body starts to accept it. Within a few weeks, gastrointestinal side effects subside. 

Always remember, the proper use of medicines is the key to their maximum beneficial effect. Avoid deviating from the dose suggested by your healthcare provider, and never stop it abruptly.

References 

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