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HomeHealth articlesdepressionSertraline | Uses | Dosage | Side Effects | Drug Warnings | Precautions

Sertraline - Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Drug Warnings, and Precautions

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Sertraline - Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Drug Warnings, and Precautions

5 min read


Sertraline is an antidepressant. Learn about its uses, dosage, drug warnings, side effects, precautions, drug interactions, and more.

Written by

Dr. Lochana .k

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Anjali Viswanath

Published At December 17, 2020
Reviewed AtMarch 10, 2023


Sertraline is a drug that is used to treat many mental health conditions. It is available in the name Zoloft. It is an oral tablet and available as a prescription drug. It was first formulated to treat anxiety and depression. Keep these medicines away from children, as it can be fatal even if they swallow these tablets. It can be used in combination with other drugs. To prevent the interactions and their risks, consult a doctor before starting the medications.

Drug Group:

Sertraline belongs to the group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The other drugs belonging to this group are Fluoxetine, Fluvoxamine, Citalopram, Escitalopram, Sertraline, Paroxetine.

What Is Sertraline Used For?


  • They are the most preferred drugs for anxiety disorders.

  • It is used for severe cases of premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

  • It is used to overcome many mental health disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic attacks.

  • It improves the sleeping pattern and helps in insomnia conditions.

How Does Sertraline Work?

Depression occurs when there is an imbalance in the levels of serotonin. Serotonin is known to be a hormone that gives happiness. So Sertraline is prescribed for conditions where there are depression and mood disorders. These drugs increase the availability of serotonin at the receptors in the central nervous system and enhance serotonergic activity. Generally, serotonin is easily reabsorbed. But these selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors make the serotonin to remain in the neurons for a longer period of time. This is the reason why Sertraline drugs have a prolonged duration of action. The absorption of sertraline may be improved when taken with food.

Onset Of Action:

The onset of action begins after seven days. Some people require a prolonged duration for the drug to show its effects. The time required for Sertraline to start its action varies from patient to patient. The dosage needs to be changed based on the patient’s response to the medicine after seven days.


This drug is known to be addictive in some patients. Generally, all antidepressants are known to be habit-forming.

Expiry Date:

These drugs should not be consumed after the expiry date. The expiry date will be printed on the back of the pack.

What Is the Dosage of Sertraline?

The dosage of Sertraline will be decided by your doctor based on your age, weight, and other medical conditions. You will be first started on a low dosage, and depending on how your body reacts, the dosage will be modified. Sertraline is available from 10 mg up to 200 mg strength.

Sertraline dosage for adults:

Sertraline dosage for adults

Sertraline dosage for children:

Sertraline dosage for children

How to Use Sertraline?

Sertraline is a drug that shows results after some time. So, it is necessary that you take these tablets continuously until it begins to show its advantageous effects. Whether it is before or after the expression of positive effects, always consume these tablets as recommended by your doctor. It is usually given for long-term methods of treatment. It can be consumed orally in the form of tablets. Children should stay away from the reach of such medications.

Missed Dose:

If you miss a dose, your medication might stop working very abruptly. It is highly recommended not to miss a dose. If you happen to miss it, do not take excessive doses at a time. Taking a small extra dose can be very dangerous. The negative aspects of missing these doses are:

  • Headache, nausea, and vomiting.

  • Anxiety and restlessness.

  • Confusions and tremors.

What Are the Drug Warnings and Precautions?

When you are taking Sertraline, you should avoid taking a few other drugs. This is because both are known to interact with each other and cause many side effects. Inform the doctor if you have any of these conditions:

  • Pregnancy: Some doctors prescribe Sertraline during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, it can cause some serious problems like premature birth and maternal weight loss. You should get advice from your doctor.

  • Breastfeeding: The drug Sertraline does not enter the baby much through the breastmilk. But considering the antidepressant effect, take these medicines if you have postpartum depression as per your doctor’s advice.

  • Suicidal thoughts: Sertraline can increase the state of depression. If you experience any suicidal thoughts, consult a doctor immediately.

  • Weight loss: Sertraline has caused weight loss in some patients. It is necessary to check with your doctor or dietitian regarding your diet.

  • Seizures: Some patients are reported to get seizures. Patients having epilepsy should ask their doctor’s advice before taking these drugs.

  • Abnormal bleeding: This drug is known to cause unnecessary bleeding in patients who are taking Aspirin and Warfarin.

  • Driving or operating heavy machinery: Sertraline can cause dizziness and disturbances in vision. It is not advised for patients to drive or operate any other heavy machinery. The alertness of mind is required while doing these activities.

  • Kidney problems: Sertraline can cause serious ill-effects in patients with kidney problems.

  • Liver diseases: Correct antidepressants should be chosen for patients with liver disease. It is necessary to give recommendations from your doctor.

  • Serotonin syndrome: Linezolid also increases the possibility of getting serotonin syndrome. Drugs such as Isocarboxazid, Tranylcypromine, and Phenelzine belonging to the group monoamine oxidase inhibitors are known to cause serotonin syndrome in the patient.

What Are the Side Effects of Sertraline?

The common side effects seen in Sertraline are:

  • Increased sweating.

  • Tremor or shaking.

  • Sexual problems, including decreased sex drive and failure of ejaculation.

  • Nausea.

  • Loss of appetite.

  • Diarrhea and indigestion.

  • Altered sleeping habits.

  • Increased sleepiness and insomnia.

  • More frequent urination and urine leakage.

  • Tiredness and fatigue.

  • Nose bleeds.

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding.

The above-mentioned symptoms are usually mild. They might disappear in a few days. If it prolongs for many days, you should consult your doctor immediately.

The most severe symptoms are:

  • Impulsive and risk-taking behaviors.

  • Aggressive or violent behaviors.

  • Hallucinations and delusions.

  • Suicidal thoughts and attempts.

  • Worse depression

  • Anxiety or panic attacks

  • Agitation and anger.

  • Stiff muscles.

  • Loss of consciousness.

  • Eye pain.

  • Seizures and coma.

  • Swelling or redness in the eye.

  • Increase in heart rate.

  • Altered blood pressure.

  • An altered vision such as blurred vision and double vision.

Allergic reactions:

  • Rashes and blisters.

  • Breathing difficulties.

  • Swelling of your face, mouth, tongue, and eyes.

  • Abnormal bleeding.


  • Reckless behavior.

  • Abnormally excessive energy.

  • Talking faster than usual.

  • Excessive happiness or irritated feeling.

What Are the Interactions of Sertraline?

It is common for all drugs to interact with other drugs, food, and supplements. This interaction can result in certain unwanted side effects. The common interactions of Sertraline are:

With medicine:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

  • Linezolid.

  • Cimetidine.

  • Pimozide.

  • Fentanyl.

  • Tramadol.

  • Amitriptyline.

  • Desipramine.

  • Imipramine.

With disease:

  • Liver diseases.

  • Seizures.

  • Serotonin syndrome.

With alcohol:

Sertraline, along with alcohol consumption, can be very harmful. It might cause a loss of clarity in thoughts and makes the person stay in a confused state all the time.

What Are the Common Brands or Trade Names of Sertraline?

The common brand or trade names of Sertraline are:

  1. Tablet Sertin 50 mg.

  2. Tablet Obzin 50 mg.

  3. Tablet Lincer 50 mg.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Are the Side Effects of Sertraline?

Common Sertraline side effects are:
- Agitation or insomnia.
- Tiredness or drowsiness.
- Sweating.
- Diarrhea, nausea, indigestion, loss of appetite.
- Sleep problems.
- Shaking or tremors.
- Decreased sex drive.
- Difficulty in attaining orgasm.


How Does Sertraline Make You Feel?

Sertraline helps to increase the levels of a chemical called serotonin in the brain. This hormone provides a soothing feeling. Antidepressants such as Sertraline help to jump-start your mood, which makes you feel better.


How Long Does It Take for Sertraline to Work?

It takes about one week to six weeks for Sertraline to start its effect. After four to six weeks, Sertraline helps to attain a steady-state in your body, which means it's fully absorbed and active at a steady dosage every day.


Is Sertraline Good for Anxiety?

Sertraline is used to treat panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. This drug is very good for anxiety and panic attacks.


Does Sertraline Change Your Personality?

Medication can change people's personalities. When taken correctly, antidepressants will not change your character.


What Happens When a Patient Who Is Not Suffering From Depression Takes the Tablet?

If a person who is not depressed takes antidepressants, they do not improve that person's mood or functioning.


Does Sertraline Function Like a Magic Pill?

It is not a pill that is magically causing happiness. It is known to improve the mood only in patients who are under depression.


Does It Cause Any Emotional Changes?

Sometimes, people experience a loss of emotions when they are on certain antidepressants. Loss of emotions can be a serious problem.


How Will I Know Sertraline Is Working?

Improvement in some physical symptoms is considered as an early signal that the medication is working. Energy, sleep, or appetite may show some positive changes within a couple of weeks.


How Do I Come off Sertraline?

Your doctor may suggest coming off Sertraline if you have been feeling better for six months or more. Doctors will probably recommend reducing the dose gradually over some weeks, or longer if you have been taking Sertraline for a long time.


Does Sertraline Affect Fertility?

There is some evidence that Sertraline might reduce sperm quality. But, there is no strong evidence to prove that taking Sertraline will reduce fertility in women. If you're planning to get pregnant, then consult with a pharmacist or your doctor. They may review or modify your treatment plan and dosage.


Can You Get High on Sertraline?

Sertraline does not have euphoric effects like other drugs have. In other words, Sertraline cannot get you high. Since Sertraline improves mood, high doses must provoke euphoria, but that is not how the drugs work. Sertraline works overtime, accumulating in the brain.


Sertraline Is Taken Before Food or After Food?

Sertraline is taken with or without food. The dosage of the medication is very important. You should talk to your doctor regarding the dosage.


Should You Take Sertraline at Night or in the Morning?

It can also be taken at any time, as long as you stick to the same schedule. If you are facing disturbances in sleep, then it is best to take it in the morning.


What Is the Brand Name for Sertraline?

Sertraline is an antidepressant that is categorized as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). Zoloft is the brand name for Sertraline, which are sold to customers, and also, there is a generic version.
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Dr. Anjali Viswanath
Dr. Anjali Viswanath



depressionobsessive compulsive disorderinsomniasertralineanxietyzoloft euphoria
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