Zoloft (Sertraline) and Worsening Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Support' started by Natalie Roberts, Mar 12, 2021.

    1. Natalie Roberts
      Haunting

      Natalie Roberts Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Pregnancy or mild hearing loss.. Who knows.
      Hi all! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here... I’ve had tinnitus for about 5.5 years, and have been managing fairly well for the most part. About 3 months ago I started Zoloft (Sertraline) for obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety which were severely interfering with my life. I noticed upon increasing the dose from 25 mg to 50 mg that I had increased sensitivity in my hearing and slightly worsened tinnitus. This got better after a few weeks. I just increased from 50MG to 100mg two weeks ago and again I am having a marked increase in my tinnitus and no benefit to my anxiety.

      I’ve explained my concerns to my doctor, but she wants me to increase my Zoloft dosage again to 150 mg since I am not having any reduction in anxiety. We’re trying to decide if this medicine is a good fit for me or if I need to get off of it and take something else.

      I’m concerned to increase the dosage again as the tinnitus has been so bad and also afraid that it won’t resolve after discontinuation of the medication, if it doesn’t start improving my anxiety.

      Looking for some support and words of encouragement, as I’m in a pretty low place right now.
       
      • Hug Hug x 6
    2. MBH

      MBH Member

      Location:
      Upstate NY
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Overloaded stress
      My doctor also increased my Zoloft dosage after I told her no. I was feeling OK, and she did it anyway. Well I had such bad side effects. And after blood work she switched me back and now my tinnitus is worse than it's ever been. I'm in the same boat. If you go off Zoloft, go extremely slow.
       
      • Hug Hug x 3
    3. glynis
      Feminine

      glynis Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Meniere's Disease
      I've come off 100 mg of Zoloft this month with no problem and I also came off Nortryptaline 50mg for sleep.

      My ears had never go quiet and I've been on AD meds (one for pain and another for sleep) for over 25 years. I have severe bilateral tinnitus due to Meniere's Disease.

      Well now my tinnitus has changed.

      The left ear is almost quiet and the right ear manageable without hearing aids in...

      I don't want jinx it yet but time will tell how my ears will act.

      My ears usually blast away 24/7 so fingers crossed...

      Love,
      Glynis
       
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    4. Lukee

      Lukee Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador

      Location:
      Toronto, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Wim Hof Breathing Exercises
      Please take this advice with reason and do your own research before committing to anything. I am not an expert on tinnitus or psychedelics but I have researched both of them and have spoken to some very prominent researchers in the psychedelics world. Many anxiety or MDD patients are getting partial or full remission of their symptoms using psychedelic therapy. Ketamine therapy is well documented and Psilocybin is becoming more prominent as the NIH and FDA allow for expanded research and treatment.

      For the most part, many people who have tinnitus and have tried Ketamine therapy have reported reduced tinnitus after therapy and it seems like the same is true for Psilocybin as well. If the therapy is appropriate for you, ideally you would be able to get off the SSRIs altogether or at least reduce dosage. Please consult a professional and see if its right for you. I think you can find more info on maps.org and/or browse some of the forums for some anecdotal accounts.

      I'm on the fence myself but refuse to take an SSRI for fear of worsening my tinnitus so I have been researching alternative medicines and treatments.

      Good luck and let us know if you get any good info.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    5. Paulmanlike

      Paulmanlike Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      That's good news Glynis!! So you've had a huge reduction in your tinnitus since coming off SSRIs?
      SSRIs can help with obsessive compulsive disorder but generally tinnitus as a side effect is not known. You'll hear horror stories of it but the fact is that millions of people take SSRIs like Sertraline and tinnitus is also common so it's difficult to definitely say the increased tinnitus is a result of the Sertraline.

      If your OCD is on a low or moderate level, perhaps you might want to try CBT with ERP - it'll be painful at first but if done properly, it's quite effective. I would suggest low or moderate OCD therapy alone can be effective.

      You'll need to make your own mind up with the SSRIs and increased dose.

      You're on a tinnitus forum though and many here don't understand OCD and how difficult that alone is.

      Perhaps weigh the pros and cons up and don't be afraid to speak up your concerns with your doctor.
       
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Natalie Roberts
      Haunting

      Natalie Roberts Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Pregnancy or mild hearing loss.. Who knows.
      Yes I plan to taper off very slowly. I've only been on it about 3 months. Was your tinnitus worse when you were on it or only after getting off? How long have you been off?
       
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Natalie Roberts
      Haunting

      Natalie Roberts Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Pregnancy or mild hearing loss.. Who knows.
      Hi Glynis! Longtime no talk!! I hope you are well. Did you notice an increase to your tinnitus with the Zoloft?

      Glad your tinnitus is more manageable! Mine has been extremely manageable for the last year or two on and off, with intermittent flairs. It’s hard to tell if it’s floating up due to medication or something else, but this current spike seems to be from the meds.
       
    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Natalie Roberts
      Haunting

      Natalie Roberts Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Pregnancy or mild hearing loss.. Who knows.
      Thanks for your comments! My OCD is extremely intrusive and unmanageable at this point. I also suffer with anxiety and health anxiety, on top of having tinnitus, so it makes it difficult.

      I don’t want a medication to worsen my tinnitus as tinnitus is extremely distressing to me, almost worse than my OCD. I am doing CBT as well right now twice a week and working out, but nothing is helping so I am feeling pretty lost.
       
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Natalie Roberts
      Haunting

      Natalie Roberts Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Pregnancy or mild hearing loss.. Who knows.
      Interesting. Unfortunately due to my job I don’t think I could take any of these treatments. I am doing CBT and am still struggling heavily with my OCD and anxiety. Then the tinnitus makes it that much worse.
       
    10. glynis
      Feminine

      glynis Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Meniere's Disease
      Hi @Natalie Roberts.

      Lovely to hear from you and I bet your girls have grown up loads.

      I hope it's my meds but with many years with tinnitus and Meniere's Disease I know the nature of the beast so one day at a time.

      love Glynis xx
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    11. Lukee

      Lukee Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador

      Location:
      Toronto, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Wim Hof Breathing Exercises
      Not sure what your line of work is but I think Ketamine therapy is legal in most states though the Psilocybin likely isn’t. It’s legal in Canada and there is no lasting intoxication after the treatment. You do a few Ketamine injections (or lozenge) and there is a form of CBT or standard therapy that goes along with it. It’s usually over 4-8 session over a couple of months.

      Alternatively, you can try St. John's Wort. I have heard a lot of success with it for anxiety with no effect on tinnitus.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Natalie Roberts
      Haunting

      Natalie Roberts Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Pregnancy or mild hearing loss.. Who knows.
      Oh my goodness they have grown up so much! They are now 10, 7 and 5! If you recall, I was pregnant with my 5-year-old when my tinnitus started! Here they are being silly!
       

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    13. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Natalie Roberts
      Haunting

      Natalie Roberts Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Pregnancy or mild hearing loss.. Who knows.
      I work in emergency communications, so we aren’t allowed medical marijuana even with a prescription, and have to have scripts for everything else. I’ll look into it though. Prozac worked really well for me in the past. I’m just super nervous about this dose increase.
       
    14. glynis
      Feminine

      glynis Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Meniere's Disease
      They are beautiful.
      Thank you for the photograph.

      Yes I remember your tinnitus journey when pregnant with your daughter and the horrible time you had.

      You have come a long way xx

      I have 3 grandsons now, 9, 3 and 1.

      love Glynis xx
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    15. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Natalie Roberts
      Haunting

      Natalie Roberts Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Pregnancy or mild hearing loss.. Who knows.
      How awesome about your grandsons!! Fun ages. Yes, my journey was hard and I have come a long way. I still unfortunately suffer from tinnitus and it never did abate like the doctors said it would, but I manage!
       
      • Hug Hug x 2
    16. Psych
      Wishful

      Psych Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Many moons...
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Such good news! What do you think made the difference?
       
    17. glynis
      Feminine

      glynis Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Meniere's Disease
      Left ear is still quiet but right is loud.

      I got sinusitis and conjunctivitis at the moment. I think the meds I'm on caused it...

      Too soon to celebrate, could be a fluke...

      love Glynis
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    18. Jack Straw
      Balanced

      Jack Straw Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990s
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection, Acoustic Trauma
      @Natalie Roberts, did your spike subside? I have read that some supplements like Curcumin can help with ototoxic effects from medication. Do some research and see if you think it will be beneficial.
       
    19. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Natalie Roberts
      Haunting

      Natalie Roberts Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Pregnancy or mild hearing loss.. Who knows.
      It’s still pretty loud but I increased the dose of Zoloft anyway at the direction of my doctor. Hoping it subsides.
       
      • Hug Hug x 3
    20. Forever hopeful
      Depressed

      Forever hopeful Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015 resolved, 4/20 L ear, increase 2/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2015,noise,2020-21 SNHL
      @Natalie Roberts

      When I first got tinnitus in 2015, my anxiety was crazy out of control. The doctor put me on sertraline. She eventually worked me up to 200 mg which was too high for me because I didn’t have OCD but that’s a therapeutic dose for OCD, (I know this because I’m a psychotherapist by training). In the end I had no side effects except for an upset stomach when I first started taking it. My anxiety was under control and I was better able to deal with my tinnitus.

      However coming off of 200 mg was very difficult. I would definitely say a very, very slow and safe taper is the best, as some of the discontinuation syndrome symptoms can be tough.

      Yesterday I had a meeting with a Neuro/otologist well known in his field. I asked him about medications. He said every single medication lists tinnitus as a side effect. He said if one person reports it to the FDA they have to list it. He said the only meds that he really worries about people taking that he feels is truly ototoxic is NSAIDS and even then he said that once people stop them the tinnitus should resolve and it really only affects people who take them for very long periods of time at very high doses. And of course there’s some antibiotics that are known to be ototoxic as well as chemo meds.

      But of course there’s lots of folks on this site who report getting tinnitus from a whole host of medications and it not resolving. And there’s also a whole host of people on this site will have sang the praises of taking antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds to help them cope with tinnitus, to help them get to the other side. I guess it’s really individual.

      I’m actually considering going back on so trying to get my anxiety under control. Perhaps another medication might be better for you.

      Best,
      Danielle
       
    21. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Natalie Roberts
      Haunting

      Natalie Roberts Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Pregnancy or mild hearing loss.. Who knows.
      This information was actually super, super helpful! I did increase my dose to 150 MG and I have severe OCD and anxiety. I have noticed it is starting to help a bit, but not completely. My ears are still ringing like crazy. I am hoping this is temporary. I had a spike when I first got on Prozac as well and eventually at a certain dose it tapered off.

      It is reassuring to know that the doctor thinks tinnitus caused by medication will improve upon discontinuance of the medicine. How long were you on Zoloft when you tapered down? I’ve been on 3 months and giving it another few weeks before we decide for sure to move forward or wean off.

      I am super sensitive to some medications so I’m having side effects like diarrhea (has happened each time I’ve upped my dose) and some dizziness and fatigue. Dizziness is most annoying. If I do get off, I definitely plan a slow taper.
       
    22. Forever hopeful
      Depressed

      Forever hopeful Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015 resolved, 4/20 L ear, increase 2/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2015,noise,2020-21 SNHL
      @Natalie Roberts, I’m glad I was of some help. Too bad no one in my house thinks so. LOL.

      I was actually on Zoloft for probably close to three years. I was on it way longer than I needed to be and to be honest, my prescriber was not all that conservative. She really should’ve been reevaluating my dose and the length of treatment. As I previously referenced, I was really on a dose that was too high for me. It certainly helped with my anxiety though. So much so that I didn’t care much about certain things I should have, like oh yeah, I can afford that $500 bag. Probably not something I should’ve been buying. I mean I went to work and I cared about work and my family and stuff so it wasn’t that I didn’t care about important things, but I was probably a little bit more lax about things I should’ve been more conservative about. So after a few years I realized that it was time to come off the meds. I had also put on a fair amount of weight with it, and after having been on fertility meds to have my second child more weight was the last thing I needed.

      I’m generally not very sensitive to medication and I rarely get a lot of side effects. The only side effect I got from the Sertraline was an upset stomach when I first started taking it and then it leveled off.

      As I said though, coming off of it was not easy. It wasn’t awful either but it definitely took time and I definitely had some symptoms that I had to deal with.

      But Sertraline is one of the SSRIs that is considered to have one of the lowest side effect profiles. Certainly better than the older anti-depressants.

      Medications are so strange. Incidentally, when I was first prescribed Sertraline, the first thing I did was call my ENT. I asked her if I could take this medication without making my tinnitus worse. And she said that Zoloft was actually studied as a potential treatment for tinnitus because people reported improved tinnitus on it. Although it was not proven to be an effective treatment for tinnitus, she felt that I was safe in taking it. I suspect maybe what Zoloft was doing was managing folks’ anxiety and consequently people didn’t experience their tinnitus to be as intrusive.

      I also just read a study of a woman who did report getting tinnitus on Zoloft and it did disappear after she stopped taking it. I believe it took a couple of months.

      I hope your tinnitus improves.
       
    23. TomBradyGOAT

      TomBradyGOAT Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Who knows
      So I thought ketamine helped my tinnitus at first but it really hasn't changed it. You would build a tolerance usually and have to go up. The tinnitus will go up with it but temporarily while on ketamine. Ketamine for OCD is ok. It again is like 4 hours of getting away from intrusive thoughts but it always comes back. Magic mushrooms you can either microdose or of course use large amounts. Microdose did not help my OCD and I am not going to do a large dose. Afraid of HPPD and my wife would be mad at me be out for 12 hours mentally. The OCD life isn't easy.
       
    24. juliob
      Confused

      juliob Member

      Location:
      Brazil
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Antidepressants / Loud Sound Exposure
      I feel you. I hope your tinnitus goes back to your baseline level or even fades away soon.

      I am in a similar boat needing help for my OCD. But I am tapering benzos for more than 2 years and I am holding 2.5mg of Valium for 2 months. Now, noticing that Zoloft wasn't helping with my OCD, my doctor decided to make me cross-taper to Lexapro.

      5 days ago I went from 150mg of Zoloft to 125mg and today I am taking 2mg of Lexapro. I wonder if I did things too quick, but this afternoon I got a spike and I am worried. I hope we find ourselves well soon.

      For those that are recommending a slow taper: how slow is slow? What tapering scheme would you recommend?
       
    25. DT_N_DA_CLUB

      DT_N_DA_CLUB Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2011
      I’m on Zoloft and doctors say that is one of the more forgiving SSRIs if you miss doses. I was so scared to take it because of experiences from Tinnitus Talk members.

      It ended up helping my anxiety immensely and has not conversely affecting my tinnitus.
       
    26. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Stress and anxiety must be managed otherwise there is a risk of the tinnitus increasing. One of the best ways to do this is with antidepressants and counselling if necessary. It all depends on the person and whether there are additional problems in one's life contributing to the stress and anxiety besides the tinnitus? Unfortunately there is a lot of negativity surrounding antidepressants which often is not helpful. This is the reason I advise people not to read negative posts about antidepressants and follow the advice of their doctor, when it comes this type of medication.

      Tinnitus has a direct impact on a person's mental and emotional wellbeing. It is alright for those that are able to manage their stress and anxiety without additional help of medication or counselling. However, each person is different and therefore, no-one knows the intimate details of a person's life and what is affecting them.

      I am pleased that you found the medication helpful and hope things continue to go well for you.

      All the best
      Michael
       
    27. Rajin

      Rajin Member Benefactor

      Location:
      PA
      Tinnitus Since:
      9/7/17
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hearing loss ,noise
      I will not take this medication anymore. I will try other ways to reduce stress.

      Feel better!
       
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