What to do if Zoloft makes food taste bad? (5 tips)

What to do if Zoloft makes food taste bad?

The following things can help if Zoloft makes food taste bad:

  • Talk to your doctor
  • Opt for stronger flavours
  • Eat something sweet
  • Stay hydrated
  • Chew gum or mints

Talk to your doctor

It is important to report your side effects to your doctor. If you’re experiencing a bad taste in your mouth, it is important to discuss it with your doctor. 

Dose reduction is the most common way to reduce the intensity of Zoloft-induced side effects, and it does help a lot of people, especially those who are new to Zoloft or antidepressants in general (1,2). 

Dose reduction can also be helpful if your dose has recently been increased. It is important to note that Zoloft, although it is a well-tolerated antidepressant, might not work well for everyone. 

You can also talk to your doctor about a compounded Zoloft formulation, such as capsules. This can help some people with an altered sense of taste, especially those who feel a bitter aftertaste after taking Zoloft tablets.

Opt for stronger flavours

Opting for stronger flavours can overcome Zoloft-induced bad taste in your mouth, and you may be able to taste such strong flavours accurately. So try and season your food properly or try bold flavours. You can also combine sweet and savoury flavours for a change and see if you like it.

Eat something sweet

Eating something sweet can be bearable if Zoloft affects the taste of your food. Sweet is a particular flavour, and you can’t go wrong with it. If you’re watching your weight, you can try naturally sweet foods, such as fruits, honey, dates, etc. 

You can also make delicious smoothies with natural sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup. This way, you’ll also be able to get the essential nutrients if Zoloft makes you lose your appetite by affecting your sense of taste.

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is also important while taking Zoloft. This antidepressant can cause dry mouth in some individuals, which can not only contribute to a bad taste but can also lead to other uncomfortable side effects, such as bad breath (2). 

Drinking plenty of water or staying hydrated in general can help with your dry mouth and may help with the altered sense of taste.

Chew gum or mints

Try chewing gum or mints. These contain strong flavours which may not taste as bad as other things. Chewing gum can also help with dry mouth as it can increase salivation. You can opt for sugar-free gums if you have weight-related concerns.

Summarising some options to try when Zoloft makes food taste bad are:

Category Food options
Refreshing snacksWatermelon, cucumber slices, or chilled citrus fruits (except grapefruit)
Mints and gumSugar-free mints or gum to freshen the palate.
Fruity yoghurtsYoghurts with natural sweetness and fruit chunks.
Strong-flavoured herbs and spicesDishes seasoned with garlic, ginger, and herbs for enhanced taste
Sour and tangy foodsPickles, olives, or foods with vinegar-based dressings.
Cold or frozen treatsFrozen berries, yoghurt popsicles, or sorbet.
Crispy vegetablesRaw bell pepper strips or celery
Sweet and savoury combosDishes combined with sweet and savoury elements for a balanced taste.
Flavourful smoothiesBlended drinks with fruits, vegetables, and yoghurt for variety.
Flavoured waterInfused water with slices of citrus, cucumber, or mint.

What is the link between Zoloft and bad taste?

Research does show a potential link between antidepressants, including sertraline (Zoloft), and an altered sense of taste. Some research studies have indicated that the mechanism through which sertraline works could be linked to an altered taste in people (3). 

The drug has lipid permeability which can affect taste buds or taste cells. Some case studies also show dysgeusia with sertraline, a condition associated with a lingering rancid or metallic taste in one’s mouth (4). This can also affect the food you eat and your appetite. 

These side effects may get better with time as your body adjusts to the medication. However, Zoloft may continue to affect your sense of taste, leading to drug discontinuation. The side effect is considered reversible after the medication is stopped.

Antidepressants and their effects on taste buds

In my experience as a pharmacist, I have seen people struggling with a bad taste in their mouth linked to Zoloft intake. Some antibiotics are also associated with a similar side effect. However, with Zoloft, this side effect could be temporary, and you may respond well to dose reduction. 

It is important to note that Zoloft affects people differently, and some individuals could be more susceptible to this side effect, based on some underlying factors. So it’s important to keep a close eye on your side effects and report them to your provider.


  1. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION. ZOLOFT (sertraline hydrochloride) tablets, for oral use. Available from: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/019839s74s86s87_20990s35s44s45lbl.pdf
  1. National Library of Medicine. Sertraline: MedlinePlus Drug Information [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. National Library of Medicine. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a697048.html
  1. Schiffman SS. Influence of medications on taste and smell. World J Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2018 Mar 26;4(1):84-91. doi: 10.1016/j.wjorl.2018.02.005. PMID: 30035266; PMCID: PMC6051304. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6051304/ 
  1. Mizoguchi Y, Monji A, Yamada S. Dysgeusia successfully treated with sertraline. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2012 Spring;24(2):E42. doi: 10.1176/appi.neuropsych.11040095. PMID: 22772699. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22772699/ 

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