Does sertraline affect adrenaline? (3+ factors at play)

In this article, we will discuss whether sertraline affects adrenaline levels. We will also talk about some research studies and discuss additional levels that may affect your adrenaline levels.

Does sertraline affect adrenaline?

Sertraline does not typically affect adrenaline levels. However, it might alter the effects of adrenaline in some cases. Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, is not a hormone but a neurotransmitter; the term adrenaline is typically used for the hormone (1). 

Sertraline is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) which is used as an antidepressant and can alter brain chemistry, but it does not typically act on epinephrine (2,3). It primarily inhibits the reuptake of serotonin and can have little to no effects on other chemicals, such as norepinephrine and dopamine (4). 

However, sertraline can cause side effects that are similar to the effects of increased levels of adrenaline in the body. In some cases, it might increase the release of epinephrine. 

It is important to note that individuals taking sertraline can respond differently to it and can have different factors affecting their health. So, make sure you closely monitor your side effects and report them to your healthcare provider.

What does research suggest?

There is limited research on the effects of sertraline on adrenaline. However, research does suggest that sertraline can potentiate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) system and increase the secretion of epinephrine (5). 

This can affect people differently, and some people may experience side effects as a result of this. It is worth noting that this effect is not always clinically significant, and some people could be more susceptible to this. 

The mechanism of action of sertraline is quite simple, and it does not have an affinity to bind to a huge variety of receptors in your body. 

As the name of this class of antidepressants indicates, sertraline selectively works on serotonin levels and does not affect other chemicals as much (2,4). However, hormonal changes, including adrenaline, have been reported.

What are sertraline-induced high adrenaline-like side effects?

Some of the sertraline-induced side effects are adrenaline-like, including: (6)

  • Headaches 
  • Increased sweating/night sweats 
  • Tremors 
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety 
  • Restlessness
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Weight gain
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Memory issues
  • Palpitations
  • Muscle tension
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nervousness 

These side effects are commonly associated with sertraline, and most of these are experienced during the early course of treatment. These effects are also common when adrenaline levels in the body go high.

What factors can affect your adrenaline levels while taking sertraline?

Various factors can influence adrenaline levels while taking sertraline, include:


The amount of sertraline prescribed can impact adrenaline levels. Higher doses may have different effects on neurotransmitters, potentially influencing the release and regulation of adrenaline in the body.

Underlying health conditions

Certain health conditions may independently affect adrenaline levels. It’s important to consider an individual’s medical history, as conditions like cardiovascular issues or hormonal imbalances could contribute to changes in adrenaline levels while using sertraline.

Other medications you’re taking

Concurrent use of medications with sertraline may interact and affect adrenaline levels. It’s crucial to communicate all medications to your healthcare provider to monitor potential interactions and their impact on the body’s physiological responses, including adrenaline release.

Body physiology

Each person’s body responds uniquely to medications. Factors such as genetics and individual physiological differences play a role in how sertraline interacts with the body’s systems, including those regulating adrenaline.

What to do if you think sertraline is affecting your adrenaline levels?

If you think sertraline is affecting your adrenaline levels, please reach out to your provider. 

Sertraline does not typically affect adrenaline levels, but if you are a susceptible individual and have underlying conditions that could also possibly affect your adrenaline levels, it’s best to discuss the use of sertraline with your doctor. This ensures that your treatment strategy is safe and effective for you. 

As a pharmacist, I always recommend following your doctor’s orders to ensure the efficacy of your treatment. Furthermore, it is important to manage other comorbidities as well if they affect your depression or your treatment with sertraline.


  1. Dalal R, Grujic D. Epinephrine. 2023 May 1. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 29489283. 
  1. Singh HK, Saadabadi A. Sertraline. 2023 Feb 13. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 31613469. Available from:
  1. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION. ZOLOFT (sertraline hydrochloride) tablets, for oral use. Available from: 
  1. Shelton RC. The role of sertraline in the management of depression. Clin Ther. 1994 Sep-Oct;16(5):768-82; discussion 767. PMID: 7859236.,%2C%20dopaminergic%2C%20and%20adrenergic%20receptors
  1. Ahrens T, Frankhauser P, Lederbogen F, Deuschle M. Effect of single-dose sertraline on the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal system, autonomic nervous system, and platelet function. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2007 Dec;27(6):602-6. doi: 10.1097/jcp.0b013e31815abf0e. PMID: 18004127. 
  1. National Library of Medicine. Sertraline: MedlinePlus Drug Information [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. National Library of Medicine. Available from: 

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