What is sertraline?

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Generic Name: Sertraline Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Know the basics

What is sertraline used for?

Sertraline is used to treat depression, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), and a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (premenstrual dysphoric disorder).

This medication may improve your mood, sleep, appetite, and energy level and may help restore your interest in daily living. It may decrease fear, anxiety, unwanted thoughts, and the number of panic attacks. It may also reduce the urge to perform repeated tasks (compulsions such as hand-washing, counting, and checking) that interfere with daily living. Sertraline is known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It works by helping to restore the balance of a certain natural substance (serotonin) in the brain.

How should I take sertraline?

Read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using sertraline and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once daily either in the morning or evening. The tablet form of this medication may be taken with or without food. The capsule form is usually taken with food after breakfast or after your evening meal.

If you are taking this medication for premenstrual problems, your doctor may direct you to take this drug every day of the month or for only the 2 weeks before your period until the start of your period.

The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.

It is important to continue taking this medication as prescribed even if you feel well. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. Also, you may experience symptoms such as mood swings, headache, tiredness, sleep changes, and brief feelings similar to electric shock. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased to reduce side effects. Report any new or worsening symptoms immediately.

Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.

How do I store sertraline?

Sertraline is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store sertraline in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of sertraline that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush sertraline down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Know the precautions & warnings

What should I know before using sertraline?

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of sertraline in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of sertraline for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder in children. However, safety and efficacy have not been established in children younger than 6 years of age.

Geriatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of sertraline in the elderly. However, elderly patients may be more sensitive to the effects of this medicine than younger adults, and are more likely to have hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood), which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving sertraline.

Is it safe to take sertraline during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this medication during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication. This medication is pregnancy risk category ___ according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown

Know the side effects

What are the side effects of sertraline?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: skin rash or hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, feeling like you might pass out;
  • agitation, hallucinations, fever, overactive reflexes, tremors;
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, feeling unsteady, loss of coordination; or
  • headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, weakness, fainting, seizure, shallow breathing or breathing that stops.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • drowsiness, dizziness, tired feeling;
  • mild nausea, stomach pain, upset stomach, constipation;
  • dry mouth;
  • changes in appetite or weight;
  • sleep problems (insomnia); or
  • decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Know the interactions

What drugs may interact with sertraline?

Sertraline may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

  • Clorgyline
  • Furazolidone
  • Iproniazid
  • Isocarboxazid
  • Linezolid
  • Methylene Blue
  • Moclobemide
  • Nialamide
  • Pargyline
  • Phenelzine
  • Pimozide
  • Procarbazine
  • Rasagiline
  • Selegiline
  • Toloxatone
  • Tranylcypromine

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Abciximab
  • Acenocoumarol
  • Acrivastine
  • Almotriptan
  • Amitriptyline
  • Amoxapine
  • Anagrelide
  • Ancrod
  • Anisindione
  • Antithrombin III Human
  • Apixaban
  • Ardeparin
  • Aspirin
  • Astemizole
  • Bivalirudin
  • Bupropion
  • Certoparin
  • Cilostazol
  • Citalopram
  • Clomipramine
  • Clopidogrel
  • Clozapine
  • Cyclobenzaprine
  • Dalteparin
  • Danaparoid
  • Defibrotide
  • Dermatan Sulfate
  • Desipramine
  • Desirudin
  • Desvenlafaxine
  • Dexfenfluramine
  • Dextromethorphan
  • Diclofenac
  • Dicumarol
  • Dipyridamole
  • Dolasetron
  • Dothiepin
  • Doxepin
  • Duloxetine
  • Eletriptan
  • Enoxaparin
  • Eptifibatide
  • Escitalopram
  • Fenfluramine
  • Fentanyl
  • Flecainide
  • Fluoxetine
  • Fluvoxamine
  • Fondaparinux
  • Fosphenytoin
  • Frovatriptan
  • Granisetron
  • Haloperidol
  • Heparin
  • Hydroxytryptophan
  • Imipramine
  • Iobenguane I 123
  • Levomilnacipran
  • Lofepramine
  • Lorcaserin
  • Meperidine
  • Milnacipran
  • Mirtazapine
  • Nadroparin
  • Naratriptan
  • Nortriptyline
  • Oxcarbazepine
  • Oxycodone
  • Palonosetron
  • Parnaparin
  • Paroxetine
  • Pentosan Polysulfate Sodium
  • Phenindione
  • Phenprocoumon
  • Phenytoin
  • Prasugrel
  • Propafenone
  • Protriptyline
  • Reviparin
  • Risperidone
  • Ritonavir
  • Rizatriptan
  • Sibutramine
  • St John’s Wort
  • Sumatriptan
  • Tamoxifen
  • Tapentadol
  • Ticlopidine
  • Tinzaparin
  • Tirofiban
  • Tramadol
  • Trazodone
  • Trimipramine
  • Tryptophan
  • Venlafaxine
  • Vilazodone
  • Vortioxetine
  • Warfarin
  • Zolmitriptan

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Alprazolam
  • Carbamazepine
  • Cimetidine
  • Darunavir
  • Efavirenz
  • Fluphenazine
  • Ginkgo
  • Lamotrigine
  • Lithium
  • Metoclopramide
  • Propranolol
  • Rifampin
  • Thiotepa
  • Zolpidem

Does food or alcohol interact with sertraline?

Sertraline may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug, especially grape fruit juice.

What health conditions may interact with sertraline?

Sertraline may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have, especially:

  • Bipolar disorder (mood disorder with mania and depression), or risk of or
  • Bleeding problems or
  • Diabetes or
  • Glaucoma, angle-closure, or history of or
  • Hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood) or
  • Mania or hypomania, history of or
  • Purpura (purplish or brownish-red discoloration of the skin), history of or
  • Seizures, history of—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
  • Liver disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.

Understand the dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication.

What is the dose of sertraline for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose of Sertraline for Depression:

Initial dose: 50 mg orally once a day.

Increase dose by 50 mg increments no more often than weekly.

Maintenance Dose: Can increase once a week, to a maximum of 200 mg once a day.

Usual Adult Dose of Sertraline for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:

Initial dose: 50 mg orally once a day.

Increase dose by 50 mg increments no more often than weekly.

Maintenance Dose: Can increase once a week, to a maximum of 200 mg once a day.

Usual Adult Dose for Panic Disorder:

Initial dose: 25 mg orally once a day, after one week, the dose may be increased to 50 mg once a day. Increase dose by 50 mg increments no more often than weekly.

Maintenance dose: Can increase once a week, to a maximum of 200 mg once a day.

Usual Adult Dose of Sertraline for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:

Initial dose: 25 mg orally once a day, after one week, the dose may be increased to 50 mg once a day. Increase dose by 50 mg increments no more often than weekly.

Maintenance dose: Can increase once a week, to a maximum of 200 mg once a day.

Usual Adult Dose for Social Anxiety Disorder:

Initial dose: 25 mg orally once a day, after one week, the dose may be increased to 50 mg once a day. Increase dose by 50 mg increments no more often than weekly.

Maintenance dose: Can increase once a week, to a maximum of 200 mg once a day.

Usual Adult Dose for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder:

Initial dose: 50 mg orally once a day, either throughout the menstrual cycle or limited to the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (depending on the clinical judgement of the physician).

Patients not responding to a 50 mg per day dose may benefit from dose increases (at 50 mg increments/menstrual cycle) up to 150 mg per day when dosing daily throughout the menstrual cycle, or 100 mg per day when dosing during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. If a 100 mg per day dose is established with luteal phase dosing, a 50 mg per day titration step for three days should be utilized at the beginning of each luteal phase dosing period.

What is the dose of sertraline for a child?

The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How is sertraline available?

Sertraline is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

Tablet 25 mg; 50 mg; 100 mg

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

Symptoms of overdose may include:

  • hair loss
  • changes in sex drive or ability
  • drowsiness
  • excessive tiredness
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • excitement
  • uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
  • seizures
  • hallucinating (hearing voices or seeing things that do not exist)
  • unconsciousness
  • fainting

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of sertraline, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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