Sertraline is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (bothersome thoughts that won’t go away and the need to perform certain actions over and over), panic attacks (sudden, unexpected attacks of extreme fear and worry about these attacks), posttraumatic stress disorder (disturbing psychological symptoms that develop after a frightening experience), and social anxiety disorder (extreme fear of interacting with others or performing in front of others that interferes with normal life). It is also used to relieve the symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, including mood swings, irritability, bloating, and breast tenderness. Sertraline is in a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It works by increasing the amounts of serotonin, a natural substance in the brain that helps maintain mental balance.
Side Effects Of Sertraline
Sertraline may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- dry mouth
- loss of appetite
- weight changes
- excessive tiredness
- uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
- changes in sex drive or ability
- excessive sweating
Some side effects of sertraline can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms or those listed in the WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS section, call your doctor immediately:
- abnormal bleeding or bruising
- agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, confusion, fast heartbeat, shivering, severe muscle stiffness or twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- headache, weakness, unsteadiness, confusion, or memory problems
- difficulty breathing
- Sertraline may decrease appetite and cause weight loss in children. Your child’s doctor will watch his or her growth carefully. Talk to your child’s doctor if you have concerns about your child’s growth or weight while he or she is taking this medication. Talk to your child’s doctor about the risks of giving sertraline to your child.
Sertraline may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking sertraline:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to sertraline, any other medications, any of the ingredients in sertraline preparations, or latex (found in the dropper for the concentrate). Before taking sertraline liquid concentrate, tell your doctor if you are allergic to latex. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor if you are taking monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors including isocarboxazid (Marplan), linezolid (Zyvox), methylene blue, phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), and tranylcypromine (Parnate), or have stopped taking them within the past 2 weeks, or if you are taking pimozide (Orap). Your doctor will probably tell you not to take sertraline. If you stop taking sertraline, you should wait at least 2 weeks before you start to take an MAO inhibitor.
- do not take disulfiram (Antabuse) while taking sertraline oral concentrate.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: amiodarone (Nexterone, Pacerone); amphetamines; anticoagulants (‘blood thinners’) such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) and heparin; aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn); atomoxetine (Straterra); buspirone, chlorpromazine; clopidogrel (Plavix), dextromethorphan (found in many cough medications; in Nuedexta); fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora), droperidol (Inapsine); erythromycin (E.E.S, Eryc, Ery-tab, others); fosphenytoin (Cerebyx); gatifloxacin (Zymar, Zymaxid); iloperidone (Fanapt); medications for anxiety, mental illness, Parkinson’s disease, and seizures; medications for irregular heartbeat such as flecainide (Tambocor) and propafenone (Rythmol); metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL); medications for migraine headaches such as almotriptan (Axert), eletriptan (Relpax), frovatriptan (Frova), naratriptan (Amerge), rizatriptan (Maxalt), sumatriptan (Imitrex), and zolmitriptan (Zomig); mefloquine; methadone (Dolophine, Methadose); moxifloxacin (Avelox); nebivolol (Bystolic, in Byvalson); pentamidine (Nebupent, Pentam); perphenazine; phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek); procainamide; quinidine (in Nuedexta); sedatives; sibutramine (Meridia); sleeping pills; other selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors such as citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, Selfemra), or fluvoxamine (Luvox); serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) medications desvenlafaxine (Khedezla, Pristiq), duloxetine (Cymbalta), levomilnacipran (Fetzima), and venlafaxine; sotalol (Betapace, Sotylize); tacrolimus (Astagraf, Envarsus XR, Prograf); thoridazine; tolterodine (Detrol); tramadol (Conzip, Ultram); tranquilizers; tricyclic antidepressants (‘mood elevators’) such as desipramine (Norpramin) or protriptyline (Vivactil); or ziprasidone (Geodon). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor what herbal products and nutritional supplements you are taking, especially St. John’s wort and tryptophan.
- tell your doctor if you have recently had a heart attack or stroke or if you have high blood pressure, bleeding problems, a low level of sodium in your blood, and if you have or have ever had seizures or liver or heart disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, especially if you are in the last few months of your pregnancy, or if you plan to become pregnant or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking sertraline, call your doctor. Sertraline may cause problems in newborns following delivery if it is taken during the last months of pregnancy.
- you should know that sertraline may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
- ask your doctor about the safe use of alcoholic beverages while you are taking sertraline.
- you should know that sertraline may cause angle-closure glaucoma (a condition where the fluid is suddenly blocked and unable to flow out of the eye causing a quick, severe increase in eye pressure which may lead to a loss of vision). Talk to your doctor about having an eye examination before you start taking this medication. If you have nausea, eye pain, changes in vision, such as seeing colored rings around lights, and swelling or redness in or around the eye, call your doctor or get emergency medical treatment right away.
Dosage Of Sertraline
Sertraline comes as a tablet and a concentrate (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken once daily in the morning or evening. To treat the premenstrual dysphoric disorder, sertraline is taken once a day, either every day of the month or on certain days of the month. Take sertraline at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take sertraline exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Sertraline concentrate must be diluted before use. Immediately before taking it, use the provided dropper to remove the amount of concentrate your doctor has told you to take. Mix the concentrate with 4 ounces (1/2 cup [120 milliliters]) of water, ginger ale, lemon or lime soda, lemonade, or orange juice. After mixing, the diluted solution may be hazy; this is normal. Do not mix the concentrate with any liquids other than the ones listed. Drink the diluted solution immediately.
Your doctor may start you on a low dose of sertraline and gradually increase your dose, not more than once a week.
It may take a few weeks or longer before you feel the full benefit of sertraline. Continue to take sertraline even if you feel well. Do not stop taking sertraline without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking sertraline, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, depression, mood changes, frenzied or abnormally excited mood, irritability, anxiety, confusion, dizziness, headache, tiredness, seizures, ringing in the ears, numbness, or tingling in the arms, legs, hands, or feet, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking sertraline.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.