Zoloft heart palpitations (5 Tips to relieve heart palpitations)

In this blog, we will learn about zoloft induced heart palpitations and what to do if you have them. We will also learn about other factors, related to your lifestyle or other medication you might be using, that might contribute to your heart palpitations and how they can affect you. 

Can zoloft induce heart palpitations?

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Some people have experienced their heart beating too hard and fast after taking zoloft. This side effect is most commonly experienced after an increase or decrease in dose, or when you start on a dose which is too high for you. 

It is also experienced while tapering off zoloft. If you feel this way after taking your first ever zoloft tablet, it could mean that the med doesn’t suit you or you’re too sensitive for the dose you are starting it with. 

Report it to your doctor immediately, investigate any other explanations for it, and discuss what measures can be taken to address the problem.

It may be that zoloft is not wise to use at the current dose you are taking, or that a different drug or a non-drug therapy would be more appropriate to work with at this point.

What are heart palpitations? 

Heart palpitations are abnormal heartbeats, which are too hard and fast. You can literally feel your entire heart beating in your chest. You may notice heart palpitations in your chest, neck or shoulders.

They can be scary or bothersome. Palpitations are not that harmful and can fade away on their own, but they are considered dangerous when coupled with following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting

5 tips to relieve heart palpitations

Following are a few tips that might help relieve palpitations:

Try relaxing techniques

Relaxing techniques can surely calm a racing heart. You can try:

  • Deep inhaling and exhaling
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • If you’re working, try to take a break.
  • Sit down comfortably and have a cup of your favourite tea. 

Avoid taking stimulants

If you’re experiencing heart palpitations, the worst thing to do is consuming things which can stimulate cardiac muscle contraction even more. These include:

  • Illicit drugs
  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Drinking too much caffeine and carbonated beverages
  • Appetite suppressants

Make sure your electrolytes are balanced

Electrolytes like sodium, potassium, calcium etc play an important role in cardiac muscle contraction. Make sure your electrolytes are within normal range, not too low or not too high.

Stay hydrated

Make sure you drink plenty of water. Dehydration can disturb your blood volume which can trigger heart palpitations. 

Exercise regularly

Make sure you make exercise an important part of your routine. Cardio workouts can strengthen your heart muscles and make them able to withstand stress and pressure. This not only keeps your heart healthy, but can also prevent heart diseases. 

Other medications than can cause heart palpitations

Some medications can cause heart palpitations, these include:

  • Anti-asthmatic medicines, which include salbutamol and ipratropium bromide
  • Antihypertensive agents 
  • Antihistamines, also called anti-allergies.
  • Antimicrobial therapy with macrolides, which include drugs like erythromycin, clarithromycin etc. Azithromycin of this class is the most common antibiotic for triggering heart palpitations in women. 
  • Antifungal medicines, which include ketoconazole, itraconazole etc.

Always contact your healthcare professional before starting the use of any medication.

Other causes of heart palpitations

Other health related causes of heart palpitations include:

  • lifestyle factors
  • emotions and psychological triggers
  • hormone changes
  • heart rhythm problems
  • heart conditions
  • other medical conditions

Lifestyle factors

Lifestyle factors are considered most important in regulating your heart rate and blood pressure. Palpitations can be triggered by high intensity exercises, excessive use of alcohol and caffeine, poor sleep quality, overeating or eating too much spicy food.

Palpitations triggered by such factors are not so dangerous and can go away on their own. However, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle if you don’t want them to come back.

Emotional or psychological factors

Heart palpitations are also often caused by emotions or psychological issues, such as excitement or nervousness, stress or anxiety and panic attacks (sudden, uncontrollable attacks of fear and worry. A patient might unwillingly exaggerate a certain condition and gets frightened)

Hormonal changes

Heart palpitations in women can sometimes be the result of hormonal changes that happen during periods, pregnancy, or menopause. In these cases, the palpitations are usually temporary and are not something to be concerned about. 

Problems associated with heart rhythms

Palpitations can also be triggered by some heart conditions associated with arrhythmia. These conditions include:

  • A condition called atrial fibrillation, in which heartbeats are fast and irregular.
  • A condition known as supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), which is characterised by unusual fast heartbeats.
  • A condition called ventricular tachycardia, which is a dangerous condition. It involves irregular heartbeat and can sometimes cause unconsciousness 

Other medical conditions

Other medical conditions that can cause heart palpitations include:

  • Hyperthyroidism, a condition in which there is overproduction of thyroid hormones by thyroid gland, as a result of its over activity
  • Hypoglycaemia, which in simple words mean low blood glucose level.
  • Anaemia, which indicates the deficiency of red blood cells. In this condition, the heart works faster to provide enough oxygen to all cells of the body. 
  • Orthostatic hypotension, a condition which causes dizziness triggered by standing up too fast.
  • Fever
  • Dehydration 

Other side effects of zoloft to look out for:

  • 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

Zoloft, sometimes, causes serious side effects. Consult your healthcare provider as soon as you can if these symptoms occur:

  • Seizure/convulsions
  • Eye pain with vision problems
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Memory problems/Dementia 
  • Severe weakness and inability to move

When to call your doctor

You don’t necessarily have to call your doctor if you experience palpitations, especially after your doctor has increased the dose of your antidepressants. 

Seeking medical care depends on the intensity of your palpitations. If they are strong and disabling, immediately contact your healthcare provider. If they are mild, don’t worry! It’s just your body trying to adapt to the new dose of zoloft.

How to properly administer zoloft

Zoloft is available in both tablet and oral liquid form. 

  • Tablets:

Tablets can be taken with food or on an empty stomach. It’s best to eat something before taking it, in order to avoid acid reflux. Make sure you take it as directed by your healthcare provider. 

  • Oral solution:

Oral solution comes with a measuring device. Measure the amount accurately. You can dilute it in water. If water is too bland for you, you can mix it in some lemonade, ginger ale or lemon soda, to mask the taste better.

General drug facts

  • Do not suggest medications, unless you are a healthcare professional yourself. Do not share medications. You might think your conditions match but oftentimes they don’t. It’s actually pretty dangerous.
  • If you fail to understand how to use the drug properly or have any other question, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
  • In case of overdose, immediately reach out to the hospital. Make sure you properly guide them about how much drug you have taken and when. 
  • Do not stop zoloft abruptly. If it’s time for you to stop zoloft, your doctor will simply make 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. 
  • Zoloft tends to 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. 

Conclusion

In this blog, we covered the topic “zoloft heart palpitations”. We learned that zoloft might cause palpitations in some people, a condition characterised with your heart beating harder and faster. You literally feel as if your heart will jump out of your chest and run away. 

This feeling is normal when you shift from lower to higher doses of zoloft. As we already know antidepressants are those medicines which need time to settle in your body. They don’t work like pain relieving medicines which start working in an hour or two. 

Palpitations are also experienced in case of zoloft withdrawal. But again, you need to give your body some time to adapt if you’re shifting from no antidepressant to antidepressant and vice versa. 

FAQs: Zoloft heart palpitations

Can Zoloft cause irregular heartbeat?

Zoloft can cause irregular heartbeat, especially at high doses. Make sure you inform your healthcare provider about any unusual symptom you may experience.

Can sertraline affect your heart?

Sertraline, and other SSRIs are considered safer than other antidepressants, when it comes to cardiac toxicity, but they can increase your heartbeat and can cause palpitations. In rare cases, sertraline has been found to be associated with elongation of the QT interval.

Can sertraline cause a racing heart?

Yes, sertraline can cause a racing heart, especially at high doses. This is more common when you shift from lower to higher doses and vice versa.

Which antidepressant does not cause heart palpitations?

Fluvoxamine, fluoxetine and paroxetine, other members of the SSRI family, are considered safer for the cardiovascular system. They can be used to cure depression and anxiety in people living with cardiovascular diseases. 

When should I be worried about heart palpitations?

Immediately reach out to your healthcare provider if you experience shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain and fainting.

How long does it take to feel the effects of Zoloft?

Zoloft, like other antidepressants, usually takes 3-4 weeks to start working. These meds don’t work overnight. You need to give your body some time to get used to the presence of medicine.

References

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