In this blog, we are going to talk about zoloft induced muscle twitching. Zoloft is well known for causing muscle tension, stiffness and pain. This blog will cover how it can produce twitching and what researchers have to say about it.
Does zoloft cause muscle twitching?
Zoloft can cause muscle twitching in up to 10% of the people, usually in leg, back, neck and arm muscles. This side effect is also associated with zoloft withdrawal, which can be pretty intense if zoloft is stopped abruptly.
Zoloft induced muscle twitching in the light of research studies
A 2013 study conducted by Guangdong General Hospital in China revealed that sertraline use was found to cause uncontrollable twitching in leg muscles during sleep. This effect was seen after 8 weeks of treatment with zoloft.
Another 2018 study indicated that zoloft can cause structural changes in skeletal muscles. It was also indicated that prolonged use of high doses of sertraline can affect metabolism and functions of skeletal muscles and can cause twitching, stiffness and pain.
The study also explains how these side effects vary from person to person. Some people showed no signs of muscular side effects, while others were severely affected.
Studies suggest that medication solely is not responsible for producing effects as the reaction of your body when it is exposed to a med also matters. One more factor creates variation, that is pre-existing medical conditions.
People who suffer from underlying health conditions are more susceptible to developing side effects. Similarly, people with compromised immunity suffer a great deal as well.
One case study represented a 78 year old woman who showed signs of extreme muscle twitching just after a week of sertraline treatment. This resulted in discontinuation of treatment.
Another case study revealed muscle twitching in a 14 year old after 6 years of continuous treatment with zoloft. This teenager also had compromised mental health. Her age, mental condition and prolonged use of sertraline resulted in poor muscular health.
What could be done?
The first step is to talk to your doctor. If your muscle twitching is severe, your healthcare provider might reduce your dose. If the side effect still persists, your doctor will start tapering off zoloft and switch your treatment to a safer antidepressant.
Mild muscle twitching should not be a concern. It usually starts to disappear as your treatment is continued and your body gets comfortable with the presence of zoloft.
5 tips to help relieve muscle twitching
Following are the 5 tips that can help relieve your muscle tension:
You can try massaging your affected muscles with warm oil. It really helps reduce the swelling by increasing the blood flow, which also helps in healing broken tissues. You can try peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil to massage your sore joints.
Hot or cold press
You can try hot or cold press to relax twitching muscles. It totally depends which one suits you more. Some people get relief from cold press, while others find hot press far more soothing and effective.
It is Important to drink plenty of water. Dehydration can make your symptoms much worse. You can add different fruits to make detox water, which can help turn your boring water into a delight for your palette.
Stretching is the best way to help relax your muscles. It makes them breathe and relax all the negative energy and built-up pressure from your muscles. There are plenty of stretching videos online if you’re a beginner. Let’s take a look at few stretch moves to get you started:
|Hamstring stretch||Tricep stretch|
|Stand straight with your arms by your side. Bend over until your hands reach your feet. Touch your ankles or you can grab them for support and hold this position for a minute or two.||Stand up or sit down, whatever is best for you. Move your hands up your head and try to grab your elbows of opposite armsPut pressure on one elbow to deepen the stretch Hold this position for 2-3 minutes.Repeat on the other side|
|Shoulder stretch||Frog stretch|
|Sit down in a yoga pose. Make sure your back is straight Move your hands behind your back and hold them. Squeeze your shoulder blades and stretch outwards. Hold this position for 1-2 Minutes||Get down on all foursWiden your knees outwards until they become wider than your shoulders. You can widen your knees as much as you can painlessly. Rest your forearms on the groundHold this position for 2 to 3 minutes, or as long as you can.|
Low intensity workouts
You can try engaging in low intensity workouts which can really help strengthen those muscles. Exercise is essential for your overall health. It makes you active, tough and relaxed. It releases happy chemicals in your brain and boosts your immunity.
A balanced diet
A good diet is beneficial for you in more ways than you can imagine. Add foods which are rich in minerals like milk and other dairy foods, rice and almond milk, soy milk, fresh fruit juices, oily fish, such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel, red meat, liver, egg yolks etc.
Medications used to help relieve muscle twitching
Following are the medications and supplements used to treat muscle twitching:
Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
NSAIDS are widely used for pain and inflammation, but they come with a variety of side effects. In fact, it is not suitable to use these drugs with zoloft as they can increase the risk of bleeding.
They also contribute to zoloft induced acid reflux and exacerbate abdominal pain associated with it. Make sure you do start using any medication, even over-the-counter meds, without your doctor’s approval.
Mineral and vitamin supplements
Mineral and vitamin deficiency can make your muscles weak and more susceptible to drug induced side effects. Minerals like sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus are important for your muscle health.
Your doctor may run some tests to check the levels of these minerals. Vitamins also play a very important role in maintaining our muscular health, including vitamin D and vitamin B-complex.
Natural products are also used to help control your muscle twitching. One study revealed that pickles juice can help release the muscle tension and spasms in a short span of time.
Another study revealed the importance of cherries and blueberries for your muscular health.
When to call your doctor?
It is extremely important to inform your doctor about your side effects. If your dose is too high for you, your doctor will tone it down for you.
If low doses do not produce enough therapeutic response and high doses cause side effects, it indicates that zoloft is not the right choice of antidepressant for you.
In this blog, we learned about zoloft induced muscle twitching. This antidepressant is safer as compared to other antidepressants, but it does have some drawbacks, one of which is muscular problems.
Zoloft can cause muscle tension, stiffness, inflammation, cramps and twitching. Around 20 to 30% of people taking zoloft have reported some kind of muscular issue.
Some studies suggest that prolonged use of zoloft is associated with uncontrollable leg movements during sleep. It was also reported that prolonged use led to muscle weakening. Experts believe that these side effects vary from person to person.
It depends on how their physiological makeup reacts to the presence of medication. It was also observed that people with underlying health conditions are more sensitive to zoloft induced side effects.
FAQs: zoloft muscle twitching
Can SSRI cause muscle twitching?
Yes, SSRIs can cause muscle twitching, muscle tension, cramps, and stiffness.
Do Zoloft tremors go away?
Zoloft induced tremors usually go away after stopping the use of zoloft. It usually depends on your drug dose and the severity of your tremors. If it’s manageable, the treatment is continued and tremors begin to subside within 2 to 3 months.
Can Zoloft make you jittery?
Zoloft is found capable of inducing jitteriness in people just after a few hours of taking the first dose. This side effect is often mistaken for a psychological symptom of your mental health condition.
Jitteriness is a condition associated with nervousness and shakiness. Some people might fear talking or engaging in activities, while others experience involuntary movements or jerks.
How do I know if I’m taking too much Zoloft?
Ask your healthcare provider if your dose is too high. It’s best to start from the lowest effective dose of zoloft. The dose is then increased if you tolerate zoloft well. Taking too much zoloft can cause disturbing side effects similar to the symptoms of serotonin syndrome. These include:
- Excessive sweating
- Restlessness and fatigue
- Headache, which often feels like your head is pounding
- Changes in blood pressure and/or temperature
- Muscle twitching and muscle pain
- Shivering and goosebumps
How long does it take 25mg of Zoloft to get out of your system?
The half-life of sertraline (zoloft) is 24 hours, which means that it usually takes a day for the drug’s concentration to reduce to half of the original amount. In another 24 hours, the drug’s concentration is further reduced to half of the remaining amount.
Does your brain go back to normal after antidepressants?
Your brain does go back to normal after you stop using antidepressants, but it takes time and this time taken depends on the duration of your antidepressant therapy. It could take up to 10 months to go back to your normal mental state, after long-term antidepressant therapy.
- Bin Zhang et al. Sleep Med. (2013) – Sertraline and periodic limb movements during sleep: an 8-week open-label study in depressed patients with insomnia https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24210602/
- Diego Bulcão Visco et al. Pharmacol Res. (2018) – Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors affect structure, function and metabolism of skeletal muscle: A systematic review https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30196103/
- Adriana Rua, MD and Joana Damásio, MD – Tics Induced by Sertraline: Case Report and Literature Review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6353397/
- N Ghaziuddin et al. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. (2001) – Myoclonus during prolonged treatment with sertraline in an adolescent patient https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11436961/
- Abdurrahman Altindag et al. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. (2005) – The emergence of tics during escitalopram and sertraline treatment https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15812270/
- Bhanu Prakash Kolla et al. Sleep Med Rev. (2018) – The influence of antidepressants on restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movements: A systematic review https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28822709/
- ZOLOFT Side Effects by Likelihood and Severity https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-35/zoloft-oral/details/list-sideeffects
- Sertraline https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/sertraline-01
- Sertraline – oral use https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/sertraline-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20065940?p=1
- Calcium fact sheet https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/
- Vitamin D https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/