Sertraline and its Side Effects

Type of Drug:

Antidepressant; SSRI; mood-elevating agent.

How the Sertraline Works:

The actual antidepressant mechanism of sertraline is not known. It is presumed that it works by blocking the uptake of serotonin, a chemical found in the brain.

Uses of The Sertraline:

To treat major depressive disorder, obsessions and compulsions in adult patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Unlabeled Uses: Has been used to treat generalized social phobia.

Pregnancy: There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Use only if clearly needed and the potential benefits to the mother outweigh the possible hazards to the fetus.

Breastfeeding: It is not known if sertraline appears in breast milk. Consult your doctor before you begin breastfeeding.

Children: Safety and effectiveness have not been established for uses other than OCD in children 6 years of age and older.

Drug Interactions:

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or if you are planning to take many over-the-counter or prescription medications or dietary supplement with sertraline. Doses of one or both drugs may need to be modified or different drug may need to be prescribed.

  • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
  • Flecainide (Tambocor)
  • Hydantoins (eg, phenytoin)
  • Lithium (eg, Eskalith)
  • MAOls (eg, phenelzine)
  • Propafenone (Rythmol)
  • Sumatriptan (Imitrex)
  • Tolbutamide (eg, Orinase)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (eg, doxepin)
  • Warfarin (eg, Coumadin)

Side Effects of Sertraline:

Every drug is capable of producing side effects. Many sertraline users experience no, or minor, side effects. The frequency and severity of side effects depend on many factors including dose, duration of therapy, and individual susceptibility. Possible side effects include:

Digestive Tract: Nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; indigestion; constipation; gas; appetite changes.

Nervous System: Headache; dizziness; tremor; fatigue; nervousness; anxiety; drowsiness; agitation; sleeplessness; decreased or abnormal skin sensations.

Circulatory System: Pounding in the chest; chest pain.

Other: Dry mouth; vision disturbances; ringing in the ears; back pain; muscle pain; decreased sexual interest or performance; excessive sweating; rash; yawning; fatigue; weakness; general body discomfort; flushing.

Guidelines for Use:

  • Dosage will be individualized. Take exactly as prescribed.
  • Do not change the dose or stop taking, unless directed by your doctor.
  • Administer once daily, either in the morning or evening.
  • Shake oral concentrate well before using.
  • Do not use in combination with MAOls or within 14 days of treatment with an MAOl.
  • If a dose is missed, take it as soon as possible. If several hours have passed or it is nearing time for the next dose, do not double the dose to catch up, unless advised to do so by your doctor. If several doses are missed or it is necessary to establish a new dosage schedule, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Avoid alcohol when using this drug.
  • May cause drowsiness, dizziness, or blurred vision. Use caution while driving or performing other tasks requiring alertness, coordination, or physical dexterity.
  • Significant weight loss or gain may be an undesirable effect of sertraline therapy.
  • Inform your doctor if you are pregnant, become pregnant, are planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
  • Store at room temperature (59 to 86 F).

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