Does sertraline break a fast? (3+ factors at play)

In this article, we will discuss whether sertraline can break your fats. We will discuss if sertraline has calories or if it spikes your blood sugar levels – two important factors that can affect your fast. We will also discuss what one should do if sertraline affects blood sugar levels.

Does sertraline break a fast?

Sertraline may break your fast. Although sertraline does not have any component that contains calories or affects your metabolism per se, it may affect your blood sugar levels, which can trigger the release of insulin (1). 

Fasting typically lowers your insulin levels, aiding in weight loss over time and helping prevent diseases. However, sertraline can spike blood sugar levels in some people, even if they don’t consume calories. This is why there is a chance that sertraline might end up breaking your fast by disrupting the state of fasting. 

However, it is important to note that individuals are different and can respond differently to medications. Not everyone taking this antidepressant will experience high blood sugar levels, and certain individuals, like diabetics, may be more susceptible to it.

What does research suggest?

There is limited research on the effects of sertraline, particularly on fasting and how your body responds to it. However, research does indicate that sertraline can affect your blood sugar levels. 

One research study indicated that sertraline can trigger insulin secretions because of the effects of serotonin on the pancreas (2). Serotonin is an excitatory neurotransmitter, and sertraline primarily works on it. 

It inhibits the reuptake of serotonin and increases its availability to bind to its respective receptors (3). This can establish a relationship between sertraline, the release of insulin, and fasting. 

Another research study presented a case report with sertraline-induced hyperglycemia or increased blood glucose levels (BGL). (4)

A diabetic female experienced an instant increase in blood sugar levels right after taking sertraline, while her diet was controlled according to her condition (4). This indicates that sertraline itself can affect your blood sugar levels. 

Another research study indicated that sertraline can increase both insulin and triglyceride levels during the first 4-12 weeks (5). 

These studies, although they do not directly link sertraline and fasting, have explained how sertraline can affect your body’s physiological functions, which are also closely linked to fasting/intermittent fasting (IF).

What factors can affect fasting while taking sertraline?

Several factors can affect fasting while taking sertraline, including:

Blood glucose levels

Sertraline may influence blood glucose levels, potentially affecting fasting. It is important to monitor your blood sugar levels while being treated with this antidepressant. 

Insulin release

Sertraline might trigger insulin release, a key substance in glucose metabolism. This can affect the state of fasting.

Calorie intake

Fasting often involves calorie restriction. It is one of the key factors affecting weight loss. Even with IF, you won’t lose weight if you continue to consume a significant number of calories during your eating window. 

It is also important to note that sertraline can affect appetite and weight in some people, regardless of its potential effects on BGL. So make sure you keep an eye on such side effects.

Underlying conditions 

Individuals with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, are more susceptible to sertraline-induced high BGL. It is important to inform your doctor about your pre-existing health conditions to help them manage your symptoms effectively. 

Concomitant use of other medications

Some medications when used with sertraline may also influence metabolic functions, especially medications that can independently influence your BGL. This can potentially affect your fast.

What to do if sertraline is affecting your blood sugar levels?

If you think taking sertraline is affecting your intermittent fasting, reach out to your doctor. It is also advised to check your blood glucose levels after you take sertraline to determine whether the drug is having any effects on your BGL. 

If yes, it can impact your fasting and the benefits you hope to achieve from it. Intermittent fasting is a well-known approach for weight loss and can help people with metabolic disorders like diabetes. It can manage insulin resistance if you stick to low-calorie and high-nutrition food during your eating window. 

If you are concerned about sertraline affecting your fasting, you can discuss this with your doctor. If sertraline is indeed influencing your fasting or insulin secretion, your doctor will consider alternative treatment strategies, especially if you’re a diabetic patient. 

As far as weight loss is concerned, if the benefits of sertraline outweigh the risk of breaking your fast, you should consider continuing with sertraline. Weight loss can be achieved by different methods, and creating a calorie deficit is the best possible way to do it. 

You can also opt for a good workout regimen to help you burn extra calories. It is important to note that mental health conditions like depression should not be left untreated, and taking your sertraline properly is one way to do that. 

If your doctor believes that there is a better antidepressant for your symptoms, they will safely taper off sertraline and switch you to a different antidepressant. Do not make any changes to your prescription on your own.


  1. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION. ZOLOFT (sertraline hydrochloride) tablets, for oral use. Available from:
  1. Kesim M, Tiryaki A, Kadioglu M, Muci E, Kalyoncu NI, Yaris E. The effects of sertraline on blood lipids, glucose, insulin and HBA1C levels: A prospective clinical trial on depressive patients. J Res Med Sci. 2011 Dec;16(12):1525-31. PMID: 22973359; PMCID: PMC3434892.
  1. Singh HK, Saadabadi A. Sertraline. 2023 Feb 13. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 31613469. Available from:
  1. Sansone RA, Sansone LA. Sertraline-induced hyperglycemia: case report. Int J Psychiatry Med. 2003;33(1):103-5. doi: 10.2190/L2M6-Y6XT-KR7U-CAVT. PMID: 12906348. 
  1. Kesim M, Tiryaki A, Kadioglu M, Muci E, Kalyoncu NI, Yaris E. The effects of sertraline on blood lipids, glucose, insulin and HBA1C levels: A prospective clinical trial on depressive patients. J Res Med Sci. 2011 Dec;16(12):1525-31. PMID: 22973359; PMCID: PMC3434892. 

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