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How to Safely Combine 5-HTP and Zoloft

author image Leah Webber
Leah Webber began writing professionally in 2010. She contributes pro bono articles for the health section of a local community newspaper in her native Vancouver, British Columbia. Webber is pursuing her diploma as a registered holistic nutritionist at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.
How to Safely Combine 5-HTP and Zoloft
A man is talking to his doctor. Photo Credit: AlexRaths/iStock/Getty Images

Combining Zoloft with 5-HTP is not normally recommended without physician approval and supervision. The body makes 5-HTP, a chemical, from an amino acid called tryptophan, and 5-HTP is then converted into serotonin in the body. Zoloft is an antidepressant drug from the category called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. This means that Zoloft is designed to inhibit the use of serotonin in the brain. Combining the two at the same time may result in an increase of unwanted side effects normally associated with Zoloft.

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Step 1

Talk to your doctor or other qualified health professional. If you intend to combine 5-HTP and Zoloft, make sure you notify a health professional of your intentions and understand the risks involved. Symptoms that may arise include dizziness, sweating, agitation, restlessness, nausea and vomiting, among others.

Step 2

Take the 5-HTP at least three to four hours apart from Zoloft. SSRI medications, unless specifically a time-release formula, are absorbed into the blood stream within three to four hours of taking them. During this time, the effectiveness of the SSRI may be at its strongest. Taking 5-HTP apart from Zoloft may help lessen the impact of symptoms, but they are still extremely likely to occur.

Step 3

Watch for signs of sodium depletion. SSRI prescriptions such as Zoloft are known to cause sodium depletion in the body. While combining 5-HTP and Zoloft, watch for any signs of sodium depletion, such as weight loss, worsened depression, dehydration, fatigue, headaches, heart palpitations, low blood pressure and seizures. If sodium depletion is feared or suspected, contact a physician immediately.

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