6th April 2023

Is My Jaw Clenching a Result of Zoloft?

Last Modified: May 4, 2023

Introduction to Zoloft and Its Common Side Effects

Zoloft is used to treat depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. The prescription medicine belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), these work by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.

Like all medications, Zoloft can cause side effects, although not everyone will experience them. Common side effects of Zoloft include:

  1. Nausea
  2. Diarrhoea
  3. Insomnia or drowsiness
  4. Headache
  5. Dizziness or lightheadedness
  6. Dry mouth
  7. Sweating
  8. Changes in appetite or weight
  9. Sexual problems, such as decreased sex drive, difficulty achieving orgasm, or erectile dysfunction
  10. Tremors or shaking
  11. Restlessness or agitation
  12. Blurred vision
  13. Muscle weakness or fatigue
  14. Increased sweating

Jaw clenching, also known as Bruxism, is a less common but still possible side effect of Zoloft. Bruxism is when a person grinds their teeth against each other or clenches their jaw involuntarily.

The side effects of Zoloft are usually mild and go away on their own, but some people may experience more severe or persistent side effects. Interestingly though, In rare cases, Zoloft can cause a condition called serotonin syndrome, which occurs when there is an excess of serotonin in the body. Symptoms can include

  • Agitation,
  • Confusion,
  • Rapid heart rate,
  • High blood pressure,
  • Dilated pupils,
  • And muscle rigidity.

In rare cases, Zoloft side effects such as suicidal thoughts or behaviour - (very serious side effects)!

It's also worth noting that while Zoloft is generally well-tolerated, it may not be suitable for everyone. People with a history of bipolar disorder, seizures, or liver or kidney disease should use caution when taking Zoloft. Make sure to get medical attention if you experience any of the noted symptoms

Understanding the Mechanism of Zoloft Jaw Clenching

Zoloft jaw clenching is not understood fully, but it is thought it relates to the drug's effect on serotonin levels in the brain. Zoloft works by blocking the reuptake of serotonin, which increases the levels of this neurotransmitter in the brain. Serotonin plays a role in regulating mood, sleep, and muscle tone.

Some think Zoloft jaw clenching may come from the drug's effect on muscle tone. Serotonin regulates muscle tone. When there is an increase in serotonin levels, it can cause an increase in muscle tension, including in the muscles of the jaw. This can result in jaw clenching or teeth grinding, especially during sleep.

It's important to note that not everyone who takes Zoloft will experience jaw clenching or teeth grinding. The severity of this side effect can also vary.

Alternative Medications for Depression and Anxiety Without the Side Effect of Jaw Clenching

Zoloft is one of many medications available for depression and anxiety in the world. So I've taken the time out of my day to list some alternatives for you that may not have the side effect of jaw clenching. These include:

  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin) - a medication that works by increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. It is often used to treat depression and may have a lower chance of jaw clenching as a side effect compared to SSRIs and SNRIs.
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) - like Zoloft, these work by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain. But, some SSRIs may have a lower chance of jaw clenching as a side effect compared to others. Examples include escitalopram (Lexapro) and fluoxetine (Prozac).
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) - work by increasing the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. Examples include venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta).
  • Mirtazapine (Remeron) - a medication that works by increasing the levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, but in a different way compared to SSRIs and SNRIs. It may have a lower incidence of jaw clenching compared to other antidepressants.

This article was read and reviewed by the face of DR Aesthetica himself - DR Baldeep Farmah.

If you have been experiencing jaw clenching for a while or keep experiencing jaw clenching feel free to talk to us. Don’t suffer in silence, we're here to help you. You can view a list of potential treatments for Bruxism here. But do you Want a treatment that:

  • That lasts approximately 6 months?
  • Only requires 24 hours of downtime
  • Is so painless that it requires no anaesthetic
  • Displays results by 4 weeks

Then a Botox treatment may be perfect for you! View more information on a Botox treatment here.

Post Reviewed by: Dr Baldeep Farmah
Medically Reviewed on: 6th April 2023
Dr Baldeep Farmah is the Medical Director and lead Doctor of Dr Aesthetica, a Medical Aesthetic Clinic.

"We want to empower everyone who walks through our clinic doors, to be able to look in the mirror and see a happier, brighter version of themselves."

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