How it works
Sertraline is in a class of medication called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is used to treat depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks, posttraumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and other conditions. Sertraline works by increasing the amount of serotonin, a natural substance in the brain that helps maintain mental balance.
Sertraline is a non-controlled medication, which means that it is not classified as having euphoric or addictive properties. There are no cravings, no hazardous behaviors, and no examples of prolonged addictive behavior associated with it.
Sertraline may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you. Remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this medication.
How it should be used
It may take 2 to 4 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. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.
What to do if you forget a dose
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Sertraline may cause side effects. However, they tend to go away after an adaptation period. 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 can be serious. If you experience either of the following symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING or SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS sections, 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 cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
In case of emergency or overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
The information about this medication is not intended to replace medical counseling. Please consult your pharmacist and/or health provider for more comprehensive information. You can also find the Medication Guide containing the manufacturer’s patient information approved by the FDA here.
Last Revised on 04/15/2020