Non biological entities

As with any other type of drug, the effectiveness of sertraline is closely linked to its chemical structure. The effects of sertraline are not the same for all individuals. Some people may not respond to sertraline and some may respond very well.

Sertraline does not cause drowsiness, but some people may experience dizziness and lightheadedness. As with any medication, sertraline can cause side effects.

Sertraline may interact with a range of other medications. It is not known whether these interactions increase or decrease the effects of sertraline. Consult your doctor before adding a new medication to your treatment plan.

Risks and warnings

Sertraline may cause side effects, particularly in the first few weeks of treatment. These side effects are mild and resolve with time. Symptoms may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Dizziness
  • Unusual excitement
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Headaches
  • Mood changes
  • Anxiety or irritability
  • Agitation
  • Dry mouth
  • Sexual problems
  • Weight gain
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears

Serious side effects are uncommon. Symptoms may include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Difficulty controlling anger
  • Lowered appetite or weight loss
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Headache
  • Seizures
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Diarrhea

Sertraline is not recommended for children younger than 12 years.

Sertraline warnings

This drug comes with several warnings.

Allergy warning

Sertraline can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:

  • Skin rash
  • Swelling of the face, tongue, or throat
  • Trouble breathing
  • Low fever
  • Serious swelling of the face, lips, tongue, throat, or tongue

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

Alcohol interaction warning

Consuming drinks that contain alcohol can increase the effects of sertraline. Drinking alcohol can also increase your risk of suicidal thoughts or actions. Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol.

Warnings for people with certain health conditions

For people with liver disease: If you have liver disease, you may not be able to clear sertraline from your body as well as other medications. This can cause more side effects.

For people with heart disease: Sertraline may cause a rare but serious side effect in some people called torsades de pointes. This can lead to abnormal heart rhythm. You may need to have an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to monitor your heart rhythm.

For people with seizures: Sertraline may cause seizures that may be life-threatening. Call 911 right away if you have a seizure while taking sertraline.

Warnings for other groups

For pregnant women: Sertraline is a pregnancy category B drug. That means two things:

  1. Studies of the drug in pregnant animals have not shown a risk to the fetus.
  2. There aren’t enough studies done in pregnant women to be certain how the drug might effect the pregnancy.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

For women who are breastfeeding: It isn’t known if sertraline passes into breast milk. If it does, it may cause side effects in a child who is breastfed. Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this drug.

For seniors: Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dosage may cause levels of this drug to be higher than normal in your body. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dosage or a different dosing schedule.

For children: This medication hasn’t been established as safe or effective for use in people younger than 12 years.

Take as directed

Sertraline is used for short-term treatment only. It comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all: Your symptoms of depression may not improve. You may even have a more severe episode.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule: Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much: You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • Tremors
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Muscle weakness

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

If you think someone has taken too much of this drug, get medical help immediately. If the amount of the drug you take is severe, call the poison control center at 8002221222.

What to do if you miss a dose: Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working: You should have less severe symptoms of depression.

Important considerations for taking sertraline

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes sertraline for you.

General

  • Take sertraline at the same time each day. Take it at the same time each day even if it’s the same time each day. This helps you remember to take your dose.
  • You may experience more side effects if you take this drug for a long time. If you have side effects, they may last longer.
  • Take sertraline with food. Taking it with food can make it easier to keep down.

Storage

  • Store this drug at room temperature between 68 F and 77 F (20 C and 25 C).
  • Keep this drug away from light.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

Refills

A prescription for this medication is refillable. You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t harm your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled container with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Self-management

Your doctor may ask you to check your blood pressure at home. You should check your blood pressure at home at least twice a day. Make sure that the cuff is on the same arm each time.

In conclusion

Sertraline is a drug that’s used to treat depression. It belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This drug works by increasing levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. It’s used for a variety of symptoms of depression.

Sertraline is available as a generic drug and in a brand-name version. It’s also available as the brand-name drug Zoloft. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, they may not be available in all strengths or forms as the brand-name drug.

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