Risks Of Mixing Cocaine And Zoloft (Sertraline)

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D on October 11, 2021

Mixing cocaine and the antidepressant Zoloft can cause a life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome. This happens when there is too much serotonin in the body and can lead to death in some cases.

Dangers Of Mixing Cocaine And Zoloft

Mixing cocaine and Zoloft, known by its generic name as sertraline, can result in serious, life-threatening complications.

Zoloft is an antidepressant, and mixing any antidepressant with cocaine is never a safe combination.

Cocaine causes a “rush” of serotonin. Zoloft is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), and as the name suggests, this means they prevent the reuptake of serotonin in the brain.

Mixing these causes a massive flux of serotonin. Creating dangerous levels of serotonin can have major negative impacts on the body and brain.

Learn more about what happens when you combine multiple drugs

What Are The Risks Of Mixing Cocaine And Zoloft?

Some medical professionals have used Zoloft to treat cocaine addiction, but this does not mean that the two should be taken together.

Mixing cocaine and Zoloft at the same time can be dangerous if enough of the substances are ingested.

Leads To Serotonin Syndrome

The biggest concern with mixing cocaine and Zoloft is serotonin syndrome. This is a condition characterized by high levels of serotonin in the brain.

An overload on serotonin can lead to mild symptoms, including:

  • excessive sweating
  • low fever
  • anxiety
  • restlessness
  • tremors
  • increased heartbeat
  • shaking and shivering
  • diarrhea
  • abnormal skin color

More serious side effects that can lead to death include:

  • seizures
  • coma
  • delirium

Fatal serotonin syndrome is unlikely, but it is possible. If it’s treated early enough, the life-threatening symptoms of the syndrome can be reserved.

But according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the mortality of severe serotonin syndrome ranges from 2% to 12%, and there were 93 deaths in 2002.

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Why Might Someone Mix Cocaine And Zoloft?

This is not necessarily a common drug combination for those looking for a stronger high. People often mix cocaine and Zoloft because they’re treating depression.

Many people who use cocaine are also battling depression. As a stimulant, cocaine activates the reward center of the brain.

When the drug is removed, this can create a physical and emotional letdown. Repeated use can lead to physical dependence and, in many individuals, depression.

Because Zoloft is an effective antidepressant, many turn to this medication to ease the symptoms of depression and get their body back to normal.

However, mixing these two substances is not safe, even if Zoloft is being used to treat depression.

Finding Treatment For Cocaine And Zoloft Addiction

If you or a loved one are struggling with cocaine and Zoloft, there are safe treatment methods to address both the addiction and co-occurring disorders like depression.

Many addiction treatment programs specifically address these co-occurring disorders because substance abuse walks hand-in-hand with emotional well-being.

Call our helpline to learn about treatment centers like this and recovery programs that might work for you or your loved one.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D on October 11, 2021
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