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General information
What should I know before taking this drug?
Adverse reactions
Additional information if any
Sertraline is pronounced as: SER-tra-leen
Type: OTC / Prescription
Sertraline is a prescription drug available from your pharmacy store only with the prescription of a qualified medical practitioner. 
Sertraline belongs to a group called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). Sertraline is an anti depressant drug.  
  • Sertraline is used to treat depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, post traumatic stress disorder and pre- menstrual dysphoric disorder. 
  • Sertraline improves your mood, sleep, appetite and energy levels in the body.
  • Sertraline decreases anxiety, unreasonable fears, obsession and number of panic attacks.
  • Sertraline is also used to treat chronic headaches and sexual problems.
  • Use sertraline as prescribed by the doctor. Do not take the drug in more or less amounts.
  • Before using the sertraline concentrate, it must be diluted properly. The concentrate can be diluted with water, ginger ale, and lemon/lime soda. Do not dilute the concentrate with any other liquid other than the ones listed above.
  • Use of sertraline should not be stopped suddenly, as this may worsen your condition. If you want to discontinue it, start by slowly reducing your dosage. However, it is best to consult your doctor before you stop taking this medication. At times it is advised to continue with the medication even if you feel well.
  • Sertraline takes a few weeks to take full affect. In order to improve your condition, use the drug as long as directed by the physician.
Children: Safety and effectiveness is not confirmed in children. However sertraline can be used in children if benefits outweigh the risks under physician supervision.
Older people: Sertraline should be used cautiously as they more sensitive to adverse effects of it.
Pregnant women: Sertraline belongs to FDA pregnancy category C. This means that sertraline may harm an unborn baby if used during pregnancy but potential benefit may warrant use of the drug in pregnant woman despite potential risks. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or are planning for conception.
Lactating women: It is not known whether sertraline passes into breast milk or if it could harm the baby. Do not take sertraline with out first talking to doctor if you are breast feeding a baby.
  • Use sertraline under strict medical supervision. 
  • Before starting the treatment, inform your doctor if you have any medical history related to heart disease, glaucoma, asthma, liver problems and kidney problems. Also inform him of any personal or family medical history of any other mental/mood conditions as well as the list of substances you are allergic to.
  • In case if you have diabetes, inform your physician before hand as during sertraline treatment blood sugar levels may become uncontrolled. 
  • Before any surgery, inform your doctor/dentist that you are using this medication.
  • As the drug causes dizziness and lightheadedness do not handle heavy machinery and do not drive during the treatment. 
  • During the treatment, do not rise suddenly from sitting position as it may cause excess dizziness. Avoid activities that require alertness of mind. 
  • As the patient may experience different mental conditions during the treatment, it is advised that the family members keep the patient under constant care. This is because during the treatment the patient may develop suicidal tendency.
Common side effects of sertraline include:
  • Dry mouth 
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache, Drowsiness, Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea, Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach cramps
  • Weight gain/loss
  • Diarrhea
Store sertraline at room temp (15 – 30 degrees C). Avoid excessive heat, moisture or direct sunlight, never store in the bathroom.
Keep it out of reach of children. Make sure that any leftover portion is disposed off safely.
  • In case sertraline is consumed by a pregnant woman, her child may be born with inherent heart/lung problems. Please consult your doctor before using the medication during pregnancy.
  • Sertraline is used for treating depression. However, in younger adults below 24 years of age, the drug may cause severe side effects like mental /mood changes, suicidal tendency and increased depression. Therefore, sertraline is not recommended for people who are below 24 years of age.
  • Avoid using sertraline if you have suffered from any heart problem in the recent past and if you have taken MAO inhibitor in the last 14 days.
  • Consult your doctor immediately if you experience any severe side effect like sleep disorders, anxiety, unusual behavioral changes and panic attacks.
  • Consult your doctor frequently during the first few weeks of treatment in order to check the changes in your behavior during the treatment.


Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: August 19,2009

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