Sertraline side effects (A guide)

In this blog, we will discuss sertraline side effects, what sertraline is, what it does, what happens when having an allergic reaction, overdose, and some recommendations.

Sertraline side effects

The most common Sertraline side effects may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Insomnia and agitation
  • Indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite
  • Sweating
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having sexual release.

What is Sertraline?

Sertraline is the chemical component (generic) and Zoloft is the brand name.

Sertraline is classed as antidepressants that belong to the family of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) usually prescribed to treat depression.

 Sertraline works by helping to restore the balance of neurotransmitter serotonin which results in changes in your mood, feeling less anxious, sleep better, improves your concentration, among other benefits.

Other uses of Sertraline

In addition to being used for depression, it is also used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders such as panic disorder and social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Important considerations

  • You should not start your treatment with sertraline if you are also taking pimozide or if you are being treated with methylene blue injection.
  • Do not use sertraline if you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days, such as isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine 
  • Children and young adults are at a higher risk of suicidal thinking when first starting the treatment. Be aware of any changes in your mood or additional symptoms. Report them immediately to your doctor.

Before taking sertraline

  • Do not take sertraline if you are allergic or suspect you could be. 
  • If you are taking disulfiram (Antabuse) or the liquid form of sertraline, do not take sertraline or you could have a severe reaction to the disulfiram.
  • If you have any of the following medical conditions you should inform your doctor o make sure sertraline is safe for you: heart disease, high blood pressure, or a stroke; liver or kidney disease; a seizure; bleeding problems, or if you take warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven); bipolar disorder (manic depression); or low levels of sodium in your blood.

Allergic reaction to sertraline

Seek emergency medical help if you any of the following signs of an allergic reaction to sertraline: skin rash or hives (with or without fever or joint pain); difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

If your symptoms get worse of you notice new symptoms report them your doctor, such as mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactivity  (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

If you have any of the following symptoms call your doctor immediately:

  • a seizure (convulsions);
  • blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling;
  • headache, confusion, memory problems, severe weakness, feeling unsteady (symptoms of low levels of sodium in the body); or
  • racing thoughts, increased energy, unusual risk-taking behavior, extreme happiness, being irritable or talkative.

Other sertraline side effects

According to here is a list of sertraline side effects, however, it is not a complete list of side effects.

For additional side effects read the warning section in the instructions that come with your medicine. 

Common sertraline side effects: 

  • Decreased sexual desire or ability
  • failure to discharge during sexual intercourse (in men)

Less common or rare sertraline side effects:

  • Aggressive reaction
  • breast tenderness or enlargement
  • confusion
  • convulsions
  • diarrhea
  • drowsiness
  • dryness of the mouth
  • fast-talking and excited feelings or actions that are out of control
  • fever
  • inability to sit still
  • increase in body movements
  • increased sweating
  • increased thirst
  • lack of energy
  • loss of bladder control
  • mood or behavior changes
  • muscle spasm or jerking of all extremities
  • nosebleeds
  • overactive reflexes
  • racing heartbeat
  • red or purple spots on the skin
  • restlessness
  • shivering
  • skin rash, hives, or itching
  • sudden loss of consciousness
  • unusual or sudden body or facial movements or postures
  • unusual secretion of milk (in females)
  • it might be addictive, causing addiction

Incidence not known from sertraline side effects:

  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • bleeding gums
  • blindness
  • blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  • bloating
  • blood in the urine
  • bloody, black, or tarry stools
  • blue-yellow color blindness
  • blurred vision
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • chills
  • clay-colored stools
  • cough or hoarseness
  • darkened urine
  • decreased urine output
  • decreased vision
  • depressed mood
  • difficulty with breathing
  • difficulty with speaking
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • drooling
  • dry skin and hair
  • eye pain
  • fainting
  • feeling cold
  • feeling of discomfort
  • feeling, seeing, or hearing things that are not there
  • A general feeling of discomfort, illness, tiredness, or weakness
  • hair loss
  • high fever
  • high or low blood pressure
  • hoarseness or husky voice
  • hostility
  • increased clotting times
  • indigestion
  • inflamed joints
  • irritability
  • joint or muscle pain
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • lethargy
  • lightheadedness
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of balance control
  • loss of bladder control
  • lower back or side pain
  • muscle aches
  • muscle cramps and stiffness
  • muscle trembling, jerking, or stiffness
  • muscle twitching
  • painful or difficult urination
  • pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  • pale skin
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • rapid weight gain
  • rash
  • red, irritated eyes
  • red, sore, or itching skin
  • right upper stomach pain and fullness
  • severe mood or mental changes
  • severe muscle stiffness
  • shuffling walk
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • sores, welting, or blisters
  • stiffness of the limbs
  • sweating
  • swelling of the face, ankles, or hands
  • swollen or painful glands
  • talking or acting with excitement you cannot control
  • tightness in the chest
  • troubled breathing
  • twisting movements of the body
  • twitching
  • uncontrolled movements, especially of the face, neck, and back
  • unexplained bleeding or bruising
  • unpleasant breath odor
  • unusual behavior
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting of blood
  • weight gain
  • yellow eyes and skin

Serotonin syndrome

This drug can cause a life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome, Seek immediate medical attention. 

Some of the symptoms are:

  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Agitation 
  • Coma
  • Faster heart rate
  • Changes in your blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures 
  • Shakiness 
  • Muscle tremor or stiff muscles
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 

Dosage for Sertraline

Sertraline dosage depends on the condition being treated. Sertraline comes in the following doses:

  • 25 milligram (mg) tablets
  • 50 mg tablets
  • 100 mg tablets
  • 20 milligrams per liter of liquid

According to Jenna Fletcher from Medical News Today, if you are starting your treatment, follow these general guidelines or as instructed by your doctor:

  • Take it at about the same time every day.
  • Take with or without food.
  • Follow all instructions on the prescription packaging and from the doctor.
  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember to, but do not double the dose the next day.
  • Take only the amount that the healthcare provider has prescribed.

 What happens if I overdose?

According to WebMD If you have overdosed and have serious symptoms such as passing out or you have trouble breathing call emergency services. 

What happens if I miss my dose?

If you miss a dose take it as soon as you remember.

If it is almost time for your next dose, discard the one you forgot and take the next one as regular.

Do not take a double dose to compensate for the one you forgot. It can carry to be detrimental. 

Sertraline interaction with other drugs

Sertraline may interact with the following substances (

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),
  • Other medicines that make you sleepy such as: cold or allergy medicine, sedatives, narcotics, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicines for seizures or anxiety
  • Cimetidine,
  • Digoxin,
  • Fentanyl,
  • Linezolid,
  • Lithium,
  • St. John’s wort,
  • Tramadol,
  • 5-hydroxytryptophan,
  • Valproate,
  • blood thinners,
  • cough and cold medicines
  • other antidepressants,
  • heart rhythm medications, 
  • Migraine medicines.

What happens if I stop taking sertraline?

The general recommendation is to come off sertraline gradually. Stopping the dosage suddenly can cause some of the following effects:

  • Ringing in your ears
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Confusion
  • Sleep problems
  • Seizures 

Antidepressants: Suicidal Risk

Some studies have shown that taking antidepressants is associated with a higher risk of suicidal behavior (suicidal thinking or attempts) when compared to placebo drugs.

This risk has been associated with age in the case in children, adolescents, and adults with major depressive disorder (MDD) or related psychiatric disorders. 

A study conducted by the Centre for Suicide Research in Oxford, England attempted to identify which antidepressant drugs were more closely related to suicides or suicide attempts using coroners reports and hospital admissions from six hospitals across the United Kingdom and Wales (between 2000 and 2006). 

They found that Tricyclic antidepressants or TCAs had the highest toxicity and rate of fatality compared to other classes of antidepressants.

Additionally from the SSRIs group, Citalopram indicated to be the one with the highest toxicity and fatality rates. 

Why is this blog post about sertraline side effects important?

Starting a new medication can be daunting, but it is important to stay informed as much as possible on what to expect and how our body can react to it.

Everyone can react differently to medicine. 

Always stay alert to your body and symptoms because it will let you know if something is wrong and when to act if it is a medical emergency.

Tell your doctor if you have concerns or if there is something bothering you about taking the medication, he/she can probably change it or adjust the dosage. 

Here we discussed the main aspects about taking sertraline, how it works, side effects, warning signs, recommendations 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Sertraline side effects

What are the most common side effects of sertraline?

The most common side effects of sertraline may include:

– nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and indigestion.

– change in sleep habits, including increased sleepiness and

– insomnia.

– increased sweating.

– sexual problems, including decreased sex drive

– tremor or shaking.

– tiredness and fatigue.

– agitation.

Do the side effects of sertraline go away?

Yes, the side effects are usually mild and may go away after a couple of weeks of using sertraline.

It usually takes 4-6 weeks for sertraline to start working.

You can feel sick, nauseous or have sleeping problems.

If those symptoms persist after a few weeks tell your doctor.

What does sertraline do to the body?

 Sertraline works by helping to restore the balance of neurotransmitter serotonin which results in changes in your mood, feeling less anxious, sleep better, improves your concentration, among other benefits.

How does sertraline make you feel?

Sertraline can make you feel sick and restless the first few weeks of the treatment and may affect your balance when you stand.

It can also cause insomnia and disturbances in your eyesight.

Don’t worry, most of the symptoms disappear after a few weeks. 

Is weight gain a side effect of sertraline?

Weight gain can be caused by fluid retention, lack of exercise, an increase in your appetite, among other factors

  1. Coming of Age on Zoloft: How Antidepressants Cheered Us Up, Let Us Down, and Changed Who We Are
  2. Sertraline: What No One Will Tell You About
  3. The Zoloft Treatment – A Guide to the Antidepressant Sertraline
  4. Coming off Antidepressants: Successful Use and Safe Withdrawal
  5. Analysis of Sertraline Hydrochloride




Medical News Today