What is Lustral used for?
Lustral is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that works by helping to restore the balance of serotonin. Serotonin is a naturally occurring substance in the brain that plays a role in regulating mood, digestion, sleep, and more. Lustral has been approved to treat mental health conditions such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and more.
Is Lustral the same as Zoloft?
Lustral and Zoloft are two brand versions of the generic medication sertraline. Lustral is a Pfizer product and Zoloft is manufactured by Viatris.
Brand Name vs Generic Sertraline
Many brand name drugs are available for a lesser cost in a generic form. The FDA claims that approved generic drugs are just as effective as their brand name counterparts because both types have the same active ingredient. However, when it comes to antidepressants, research has shown that generic medications may not necessarily deliver the same results as brand name versions. A recent study in Taiwan revealed that patients treated with generic products of sertraline and several other commonly prescribed antidepressants were at a higher risk of psychiatric hospitalization than those treated with their brand-name counterpart.
Compared to most generic antidepressants, brand name drugs exhibited more protective effects on psychiatric hospitalization for depressive patients. While the generic form of these medications may come at a lower cost, it is important for both prescribing clinicians and patients themselves to be aware of the decreased effectiveness.
Lustral is available in 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg capsules. A typical dose for adults is 50mg per day, but a doctor may prescribe an introductory dose for a small period of time and eventually increase it – in some cases the dose may increase all the way up to the maximum dose of 200mg per day. Lustral can be taken at any time based on personal preference, as long as it is the same time daily. However, it is recommended that individuals who have trouble sleeping take this medication in the morning. If a dose is missed, that dose should be skipped and the next dose should be taken at the usual time. Never take 2 doses to make up for a forgotten dose of this medication.
Common side effects for Lustral include nausea, headaches, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, feeling dizzy, feeling tired or weak, dry mouth, and diarrhea. More serious side effects are rare, but you should contact a healthcare professional if you experience any of the following:
- Changes in menstruation, such as irregular heavy bleeding, spotting, or bleeding between periods
- Feelings of overwhelming happiness (euphoria), excessive enthusiasm or
- excitement, or a feeling of restlessness that prevents you from being able to stand or
- sit still
- Jaundice – the whites of your eyes or your skin turning yellow
- Coughing up blood or seeing blood in urine, stool, or vomit
- Bleeding gums, bruises that appear or seem to grow without cause
Does Lustral cause weight gain
Like other SSRIs, Lustral is known to potentially cause a small weight gain from 1% to 1.6% of initial body weight when used over 6 months to 1 year. While weight gain is likely on this medication, it is unclear if this is actually due to the medication itself. There are many theories on what might cause weight gain among people on Lustral. Some people experience a loss of appetite when they are depressed.
When they take Lustral and start to feel better, they might be more likely to eat more and therefore gain weight. Another theory proposes that Lustral might stimulate the appetite and make people feel hungrier than normal by affecting their ability to suppress the urge to eat. Most people who are prescribed Lustral stay on it for long periods of time, and even a small increase in calorie intake will cause weight gain over time if it is not paired with an increase in activity level.
Lustral cost will vary based on insurance coverage, it is cheaper with insurance and more expensive without. With no insurance at all, the drug is available at a cash price, and even that can vary between different pharmacies. Online coupons are available for these medications in some cases. A lower price option for Lustral would be choosing the generic version.
However, it is important to note that although the FDA says generic medications can be substituted for brand name medications without impacting effectiveness, in this specific case research has shown this to be untrue. People who take generic antidepressants are more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric reasons than those taking brand name antidepressants.