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Sertraline is used for the treatment of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

How it works

Sertraline belongs to 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.

Common side effects

Vomiting, Nausea, Pain in extremity, Tingling sensation of extremity, Flatulence, Abdominal bloating, Altered libido, Change in body weight, Constipation, Convulsion, Diarrhoea, Dizziness, Drowsiness, Dry mouth, Fatigue, Headache, Increased sweating, Loss of appetite, Muscle stiffness, Sore throat, Tachycardia, Heart rate irregular, Uncoordinated body movements, Weakness, Fever, Abdominal pain, Confusion, Hallucination


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Expert advice

  • Do not start or continue sertraline and consult your doctor, If you develop a rash or other allergic reactions (like itching, swollen lips or face or shortness of breath), If you have fever, muscle stiffness or tremor, changes in your mental state like confusion, irritability and extreme agitation (serotonin syndrome or neuroleptic malignant syndrome), If you have suicidal tendencies.
  • Do not suddenly withdraw or discontinue therapy on your own.
  • Do not take this drug if you are consuming other antidepressants (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) or have been taking them within the previous two to five weeks.
  • Sertraline can impair mental and physical coordination and, therefore, caution has to be taken before operating an automobile or machinery or engaging in activities requiring mental alertness and coordination.
  • Do not start or stop taking this medicine during pregnancy without your doctor's advice.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol as it can increase certain side effects of sertraline.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is sertraline addictive?
Sertraline is not addictive. However, sudden discontinuation or decrease in dose of sertraline may cause effects like dizziness, numbness, sleep disturbances, agitation or anxiety, headaches, nausea, vomiting and shaking. Patients should follow the advice of the doctor regarding its use and discontinuation.
Q. Is sertraline a mono amine oxidase inhibitor/steroid?
No, sertraline belongs to a class of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which alter the levels of a chemical called serotonin in the brain and help improve depression.
Q. Is sertraline safe?
Sertraline is safe, if used at prescribed doses for the prescribed duration as advised by your doctor.
Q. Does sertraline cause insomnia/hair loss/ weight gain or loss/acne/sick feeling?
Insomnia, headache, weight gain or weight loss and sick feeling are side effects reported with the use of sertraline. However acne has not been reported. Patients should consult doctors regarding the possible side effects.
Q. Can I take sertraline for anxiety?
Sertraline is used for the treatment of social anxiety disorder. But, consult your doctor regarding the use of sertraline for your anxiety complaints.
Q. Is sertraline a stimulant?
No, sertraline belongs to a class of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) antidepressants. It does not stimulate the brain, but improves depression by increasing the levels of a chemical called serotonin in the brain.
Q. Can I take sertraline with diazepam/ Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine)/ alcohol/ Tylenol (paracetamol)/ mirtazapine/ amoxicillin/ Nyquil (acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, doxylamine)/ Co codamol (paracetamol and codeine)/ ibuprofen?
With tramadol there is an increased risk of hypertension, amitriptyline may possibly change the blood levels of fluoxetine, and alcohol may alter the effect of fluoxetine. No clinically observed drug interaction has been reported with diazepam, Co codamol, Nyquil, ibuprofen and mirtazapine. Please consult your doctor when using concomitantly.
Q. How long can I take sertraline/ Can I take sertraline forever?
It is advisable to take this drug only till prescribed by the doctor.
Q. Does sertraline expire?
Yes, like all drugs, sertraline has an expiry date. Please refer to the package insert or the information on the tablet strip to find out when your medicine expires.

Content on this page was last updated on 04 October, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)