When to increase Sertraline dosage?


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Page last updated: 17/09/2022

When to increase Sertraline dosage?

This article will discuss when it is time to increase the dosage of Sertraline. Besides that, it will show how Sertraline works, what are its side effects and what should be taken into consideration when you are going to take it.

When to increase Sertraline dosage? 

Your doctor may increase your dose of Sertraline in two moments: one as you start taking it, and they increase it until they reach the set dosage to treat your condition, or if they realize that dosage is not sufficient, and you haven’t experienced any improvement after more than 8 weeks taking the medication.

If you are going through depression or anxiety, it might be that your doctor prescribes you Sertraline. This form of antidepressant will decrease your symptoms and improve your mood. 

When prescribing Sertraline, the initial dosage will take into consideration your age, how you have been feeling, and what condition you are being treated for.

Sertraline can come in tablets of 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg, and its oral solution has a dosage of 20mg/ml. Starting doses are usually around 25mg and 50mg, and your doctor can put them up until they reach the appropriate dose to treat your condition. 

From the first time your doctor prescribed it to you until the dose he wants you to reach, they may increase it weekly. The maximum dose of Sertraline is 200mg. After the first two weeks of taking it, you may start to feel its benefits.

And after 6 to 8 weeks, when you reach your determined dosage, you can feel the improvement it has on your mood and other symptoms of your condition.

But in some cases, after all those weeks, you may still not experience many benefits from taking Sertraline. When that is the case, your doctor may increase your dose a little more. 

Aside from that, another moment when your doctor may increase your dose is if you were coming off of it, but start to experience strong symptoms of depression or anxiety again.

What is Sertraline?

Sertraline, which has the brand name Zoloft, is an antidepressant of the Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) kind. Those forms of antidepressants usually work on improving the person’s serotonin level, which improves their mood, and reduces the symptoms of depression, and anxiety.

Even though it is an antidepressant, it is not used only to treat depressive episodes. It is usually prescribed to treat anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety disorder, and panic attacks.

When you are prescribed Sertraline, you should be careful to take it at the same time each day, and if you miss a dose, you should take it as soon as you remember. But if it is too close to your next dose, just wait for that one. 

Aside from that, you should never stop taking Sertraline without discussing it with your doctor since it can lead to symptoms of withdrawal. 

What are the side effects of Sertraline? 

As with all antidepressants, Sertraline can cause some side effects. They are usually mild ones and can go on just until your body adjusts to the medication. It can be that you experience some nausea or lose your appetite. It can make you feel constipated, or even experience diarrhea.

Sertraline can also affect your sleeping pattern, making you more sleepy, or even have insomnia. It can lead to shaking, and sexual problems, such as loss of libido, or failure to ejaculate. You may also experience some shaking, fatigue, and agitation.

If those side effects go on for longer, beyond the period it takes for your body to adjust, you should discuss it with your doctor to see if it is necessary to change your dosage or even medication. 

But you can also experience more severe side effects, such as allergic reactions, that can appear in the form of rashes or hives, and swelling of the mouth, and tongue. In some cases, it can lead to suicide attempts and aggressiveness. 

It can also lead to seizures, bleeding, manic episodes, change in vision, inability to relax, and trouble sleeping, and the elderly population has a higher chance of developing a low sodium level, which can lead to confusion, weakness, and headache.

When you experience these intense side effects, you should get in touch with your doctor right away. It may be necessary to change your medication. Another serious condition you should be aware of when taking Sertraline is a condition called Serotonin Syndrome. 

This can be life-threatening and can cause dizziness, hallucinations, fast heart rate, altered blood pressure, sweating, vomiting, and muscle tensing up.

When to increase Sertraline dosage?

What should be taken under consideration when taking Sertraline?

If your doctor is considering prescribing you Sertraline, you should let them know what medications you are taking. That is because it can interact with many other medications such as Lithium, Pimozide, and other forms of antidepressants. 

When Sertraline interacts with your medications, it can cause one of them to not work, and it may even make your condition worse. Aside from that, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, your doctor should consider if there are other options.

If not, they should follow you closely, since the medication can be transported to the baby, and it is still under study how it can affect them.

Elderly people may have kidney problems, which can slow down how Sertraline is processed in your body. It makes you more susceptible to the medication’s side effects, which is why your doctor should follow you closely. 

You should also avoid drinking alcohol when taking the medication. It can make you sleepy, and make it difficult for you to make decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): When to increase Sertraline dosage? 

What are medications to treat anxiety? 

Some medications can be used to treat anxiety. It can be that some doctors prescribe Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, and Valium. 

These can help relax your muscles, and your mind, by improving the work of some neurotransmitters. Because they have some side effects such as dizziness, they are mostly used to treat anxiety in the short term.

Some forms of antidepressants, such as SSRIs, MAOIs, and tricyclics can also be used to treat anxiety. Buspirone is another medication that is used to treat anxiety, and even though it is not completely understood how it works, it usually improves the person’s mood.

Another type of medication for anxiety is called Beta-Blockers. Those that are usually used as heart medication can help improve the person’s physical symptoms of anxiety. An example of Beta-Blockers is propranolol. 

What are the types of antidepressants? 

There are some types of antidepressants. Some more modern ones such as the Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed because they usually have fewer side effects, two examples of which are Fluoxetine and Citalopram.

Another form of antidepressant is the Serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), such as venlafaxine, which is similar to SSRIs but was created to be more effective than SSRIs. Noradrenaline and specific serotonergic antidepressants (NASSAs), such as mirtazapine, are recommended for people that can’t take SSRIs. 

There are older forms of antidepressants such as tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), such as amitriptyline. They can be recommended to people with major depression that are resistant to other medications. 

There are also Serotonin antagonists and reuptake inhibitors (SARIs), such as trazodone, and Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) which are older types of antidepressants. It has a lot of serious side effects. The most known example of it is tranylcypromine.

Can I change my medication by myself? 

No, you should never change your medication by yourself. If you have read something that led you to believe you should change your medication, you should discuss it with your doctor. For that, the first thing to do is to get as much information as you can about this new medication.

Then you should make an appointment with your doctor, and tell him why you want to change your medication. If they think it is a good idea, they will prescribe it to you, and explain how to begin taking it, and how to come off of the medication you are in so you don’t feel symptoms of withdrawal.

What are ways to treat depression? 

Depression can be treated in some ways. The first is through professional help. You may go to a therapist, a professional that will help you get a better understanding of your emotions, and maybe even help you to learn what is the root of your depression. 

Aside from that, you may go to a psychiatrist, which is a doctor that specializes in mental health. They may prescribe you some medication to help you with the symptoms of depression. 

But aside from those, there are some lifestyle changes you can do to cope with depression. The first thing is to exercise. It will help reduce your stress levels, and it can even improve your mood.

Aside from that, you should have healthy habits, such as eating and sleeping well. Those will help with your energy level and make you feel less fatigued. Having a support network, with family and friends you love is also extremely positive when you are depressed.

They will allow you to vent about how you feel. But not only that, being around them allows you to get your mind off those negative thoughts depression always brings. And finally, you should open yourself up to new things. This can mean maybe doing some volunteer work or starting a new hobby.

Do something that shows you other possibilities, and that can give you some positive feelings. It may also give you a sense of accomplishment, which can be great when you are depressed and have low self-esteem.

Why do I react differently than my friend to Sertraline?

Different people will react differently to medication. This is why you should always have a doctor prescribe it to you. They will determine what is the best medication for your condition and determine the appropriate dosage.

And as you take it, you may realize that the effect it has on you and a friend is completely different. People can take the same medication, with the same dosage, for the same condition and experience completely different responses.

While one of you may feel, in the 8 weeks, that the medication is working, and that you are improving; the other can experience a lot of side effects, or even feel like the medication is not working. And if that is the case, they need to get in touch with their doctor, and adjust the dosage of the medication, or even change it.


This article centered around when should your dosage of Sertraline go up. For that, the article explained what Sertraline is, how it works in your body, its side effects, and what should be taken into consideration before you take it.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.


Blanchfield, CA. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2007 Mar; 4(3): 15.


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