Does Zoloft cause swollen lymph nodes? (An indirect side effect)

In this blog post, we are going to discuss the impact of zoloft on the lymphatic system. This antidepressant is associated with a lot of side effects, ranging from mild to severe. This blog will cover the possibility of zoloft causing swollen lymph nodes. 

Can zoloft make your lymph nodes swollen? 

Zoloft may make your lymph nodes swollen, but not directly. This antidepressant is associated with a number of side effects which may have an effect on your lymph nodes. 

Some studies suggest that zoloft induced sore throat could cause inflammation of lymph nodes present in your neck. Another study revealed that zoloft may cause an allergic reaction in certain individuals who can not tolerate this antidepressant well. 

This reaction can also include swelling of lymph nodes. In some cases it is also seen that zoloft can cause extreme acid reflux and can exacerbate the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which may result in damage to your esophageal protective membranes.

These injuries may cause swelling in your lymph nodes as an immune response to fix the damaged tissues. Zoloft induced swollen lymph nodes is rare and is only present when other side effects severely damage your tissues. 

Make sure you inform your healthcare provider as soon as you start observing any abnormal or unusual side effects. Swelling of lymph nodes usually indicates an infection, either viral or bacterial in origin. 

Ask your healthcare provider to rule out any underlying infection that might be present along with your zoloft induced side effects. Monitor your symptoms closely and look out for other symptoms of infection including chills, fever, flu, or any other unusual pain. 

One case study represented a patient who suffered from streptococcal throat infection, just after 2 weeks of taking zoloft. The infection was completely unrelated to the antidepressant, but it did contribute to throat pain which was associated with zoloft induced gastroesophageal reflux. 

In one research survey, several hundred thousand people taking zoloft were monitored to study the effects of this antidepressant on lymph nodes. 

A few people did complain of swollen lymph nodes, but none of them was connected to the use of zoloft. This confirms that zoloft is not associated with causing swelling in your lymph nodes by itself. 

What to do if you’re suffering from swollen lymph nodes? 

There are a few things you can do if you observe swelling in your lymph nodes. These include:

Reach out to your healthcare professional 

Inform your doctor about your symptoms and ask if the swelling of your lymph nodes is associated with any side effect of zoloft. There are many underlying health conditions that may cause your lymph nodes to swell up.

Make sure your doctor rules them out and starts managing the side effects which might be responsible for this effect.

OTC pain relieving and Anti-Inflammatory agents

There are certain anti-inflammatory and pain relieving agents which might help you relieve some of the pain and discomfort associated with swollen lymph nodes.

One important thing to mention here is that always ask your healthcare provider, even before taking any over-the-counter (OTC) medications, to rule out any possible drug interaction. 

The most commonly used agents are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and they do have an interaction with zoloft. The concomitant use can increase the risk of bleeding and should be used with caution. 

So, always ask your doctor before taking any other medication with your antidepressant. 

Stay rested and use warm or cold compress

Make sure you stay rested if you suffer from swollen lymph nodes. It indicates that your body is disturbed from a certain side effect or it has an ongoing infection inside it. If you experience stiffness, pressure, pain and tenderness, try applying warm or cold compress. 

The reason behind mentioning both of them is the variable results obtained from our survey. Some people report that cold press can significantly reduce their swelling and provide pain relief. 

This effect could be present because of the narrowing of blood vessels following cold compress. Some people reported that they can not tolerate cold compress and notice significant differences in their pain and muscle stiffness after using warm compress. 

If you’re new to this, you can try both of them to see which one works best for you. 

Underlying health conditions that may cause swelling in your lymph nodes

There are some health conditions that may cause swelling, pain, and pressure in your lymph nodes. These include:

  • Infections, including ear infection, flu, streptococcal throat infection, sinusitis, skin infection, tooth infection, eye infection etc. 
  • Autoimmune deficiency disorder (AIDS)
  • Tumors
  • Malignant cancers
  • Thyroid diseases 
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) 
  • Parasitic infections
  • Tuberculosis 

Other medications responsible for causing swelling in lymph nodes 

There are certain medications which can affect your lymph nodes directly. These include:

  • Anticonvulsants, including phenytoin 
  • Antimalarial agents
  • Antihypertensive agents, including certain beta blockers and calcium channel blockers 
  • Antibiotics, including beta lactam antibiotics (penicillins and cephalosporins). 

Make sure you’re not using these medications along with zoloft. Always ask your doctor if your prescription meds are compatible with one another, especially those which are supposed to be taken for a longer period of time. 

When to call your doctor 

Reach out to your healthcare provider as soon as you can if these symptoms occur:

  • Persistent swelling in lymph nodes
  • Swelling gets larger in size and feels hard and difficult to move
  • Chills with fever
  • Severe pain and discomfort 
  • Redness or burning sensation on the skin

Serious side effects of zoloft 

Zoloft, sometimes, causes serious side effects which require immediate medical attention. These include:

  • Skin allergy, which could include Stevens-Johnson. You might notice red, swollen, or blistered skin, with or without fever. 
  • Allergic reactions, like rash, hives are common. It also includes wheezing, difficulty in breathing, tightness in the chest, trouble breathing, swallowing, or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat. Few of these symptoms indicate anaphylactic shock. 
  • It could cause low sodium levels which can result in psychological symptoms like confusion, agitation, inability to understand surroundings, memory loss etc.
  • It can cause elongation of QT interval, causing increased heartbeat or arrhythmia
  • Convulsions 
  • The inability to have an erection
  • Hypothyroidism (low thyroid gland function)
  • Bone marrow failure associated with low blood counts
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Neutropenia 
  • Abnormal behaviour/mania 
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Feeling guilty all the time
  • Extrapyramidal symptoms

Precautions for Zoloft 

  • Administer once daily, as directed by your doctor. 
  • Consult your healthcare provider, if your mood worsens or you experience a serious side effect. Zoloft tends to induce suicidal behavior in users younger than 24 years of age. If you have someone who shows suicidal behavior or you see hopelessness in them, make sure you keep an eye on them and get medical attention as soon as you can. 
  • If you fail to understand how to use the drug properly or have any other question, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
  • In case of overdose, immediately reach out to the hospital. Make sure you properly guide them about how much drug you have taken and when.
  • Do not stop zoloft abruptly. If it’s time for you to stop zoloft, your doctor will simply make a taper schedule for you, which should be followed vigilantly if you wish to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay. 
  • Report any problems with bleeding or bruising to your doctor. If you see any unexplained blisters or rashes on your body, or experience any problems with urination, or if you feel changes in your vision, immediately report to your healthcare provider. 


In this blog post, we discussed how zoloft can cause swelling in your lymph nodes. After looking at research data and surveys, it is safe to say that zoloft does not have a direct impact on the lymphatic system or any of its functions. 

This antidepressant is associated with a lot of other side effects which might disturb the tissues or cause an injury. This injury can generate an immune response which can result in swollen lymph nodes. 

Make sure you discuss all of your side effects with your mental healthcare professional and ask how your antidepressant is affecting your other physiological functions. 

It is also important to look out for other underlying health conditions and other prescription medications, as they might be responsible for your lymph nodes swelling and not zoloft or any side effect associated with it.

It is not recommended to take any medication with zoloft, including all the OTC drugs, without your doctor’s approval. 

FAQs: zoloft swollen lymph nodes 

Can sertraline cause swollen glands?

Zoloft may make your lymph nodes swollen, but not directly. This antidepressant is associated with a number of side effects which may have an effect on your lymph nodes. The drug itself does not affect the lymphatic system or any of its functions directly. 

Can Zoloft cause swelling?

Zoloft may cause swelling of lips, tongue or face, as a result of a serious allergic reaction to this medication. This is very rare and is found in people who are allergic to sertraline or any other excipient present in the drug formulation. Such people are not treated with zoloft and another safer antidepressant is preferred. 

What is the most common side effect of sertraline?

Common side effects of Zoloft include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Feeling angry or agitated
  • Weight gain
  • Inability to digest food
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of libido
  • Sweating/Night sweats
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Impotence
  • Inability to ejaculate

Can Zoloft cause throat pain?

Zoloft may cause throat pain, stiffness, burning sensation, and lump-in-throat feeling. These side effects may be present because of zoloft induced acid reflux and muscle tension. 

What are the long term side effects of Zoloft?

Research suggests that zoloft is not usually associated with long term side effects. These side effects only last as long as your body struggles to adjust to the med. After that, your treatment becomes stable. For people who suffer from persisting negative effects, the treatment with zoloft is discontinued and they eventually start getting better over time. 

Can sertraline cause period problems?

Yes, sertraline can have an impact on your monthly cycle. It can affect your flow, the number of days your periods last and the intensity of menstrual cramps.


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