Home Anxiety Medications About Sertraline (Zoloft): A Patient’s Guide

About Sertraline (Zoloft): A Patient’s Guide

by BidRx Team
Blottle of sertraline


  • Sertraline, an antidepressant also sold under the brand name Zoloft, is used to treat a variety of depression and anxiety disorders.
  • Due to its side effects and drug interactions, sertraline should be taken after careful review of other medications and conditions with your doctor.
  • With careful shopping, you can find the lowest price for sertraline.

Depression and anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health concerns in the U.S., with nearly one-third of all adults reporting some symptoms in a survey conducted in February 2023. Learn how sertraline can help, who can take it, and how to find the lowest price for sertraline.

What Is Sertraline and What Is It Used For?

Sertraline is an antidepressant also sold under the brand name Zoloft that’s used to treat several mental health conditions, including:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)

Sertraline is usually combined with other types of treatment. For example, if you have OCD, you’ll likely work with a cognitive behavioral therapist as well as taking sertraline. The goal is typically to get symptoms under control and develop a long-term treatment program that may or may not include medication.

How Does Sertraline Work?

Sertraline is part of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of drugs. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter normally absorbed and released by the brain in cycles. SSRIs work by blocking its reabsorption so more of it is available to communicate signals between brain cells.

This helps people manage their depression, but researchers don’t yet know precisely why this works. What is known is that SSRIs can help with emotional control. For example, it seems to help people control anger, although again, we’re not sure how. Similarly, sertraline therapy is being investigated as a treatment for premature ejaculation and may also be used to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), although researchers aren’t clear on why it works or whether it’s the serotonin that’s responsible for the positive effects.

What Formulas Are Available for Sertraline?

woman getting pills out of a bottle

Sertraline is available in tablet and liquid form. Because of its side effects and high risk of drug interactions, sertraline isn’t generally combined with other medications into a single pill. 

Sertraline Dosage and Administration

In most cases, you’ll start on between 25 and 50 milligrams of sertraline, depending on which condition you’re treating. That dosage can be increased up to a total of 200 milligrams if needed and tolerated.

How Should I Take Sertraline?

Sertraline is available in pill and a liquid concentrate, but the concentrate needs to be diluted to prevent a numbing sensation in the mouth that can last up to a day. Your pharmacist can show you how to dilute it in another liquid. 

You can take sertraline with or without food. If you’re taking the tablets, swallow them whole without crushing or chewing. 

Keep your sertraline in a dry place at room temperature, tightly sealed and away from children.

What Are the Potential Side Effects of Sertraline?

The most common side effects reported from sertraline include:

  • Nausea
  • Insomnia and other sleep problems
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Nosebleeds
  • Hyperhidrosis (heavy sweating)
  • Bladder incontinence
  • Fatigue
  • Dryness in the mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Sexual side effects, including inability to orgasm and decreased libido

Long-term use of sertraline can increase body weight over time in some people. How much and on what time frame depends on the person and their circumstances. If you need to manage your body weight, discuss your options with your doctor.

Sertraline has a risk of dependence, and it should not be stopped suddenly. If you need to stop taking it, talk to your doctor about how to wean yourself off the medication.

Sertraline can also cause a false positive on some urine tests. If you’re having your urine tested as part of a drug screen, let the staff know you’re taking sertraline. 

Who Shouldn’t Take Sertraline?

senior couple getting medicine from doctor

To make sure sertraline is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • Heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), or cerebrovascular events
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Seizures
  • Glaucoma
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Long QT syndrome
  • Low blood sodium
  • Suicidal ideation

Because sertraline can cause heart problems and bleeding issues, people with these conditions will want to discuss risks versus benefits of taking this medication with their provider.

What Should I Avoid If I’m Taking Sertraline?

If you take any of the following medications, you might be at risk of serotonin syndrome, or too much serotonin in the brain, if you take sertraline:

  • Stimulants, such as ritalin
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) including any herbal medications that might contain MAOIs. 
  • Opioids
  • Other depression medications, including other SSRIs
  • Parkinson’s medications
  • Blood thinners
  • Migraine treatments
  • Anti-nausea or anti-vomiting drugs
  • Any treatments for serious infections

It’s strongly recommended you not use herbal supplements while you’re using sertraline. Some herbal supplements may contain substances that interact poorly with this medication, and some supplements, especially those made overseas, may be tainted with pharmaceuticals.

In people under 25, there are concerns that sertraline can increase thoughts of suicide, and FDA guidance suggests that those under 25 should take it with caution and careful medical supervision. 

In older people and people with liver problems, sertraline leaves the body more slowly, with a risk of elevated levels over a longer period of time. If you belong in one of these groups, discuss the risks and benefits of taking sertraline with your doctor.

What Should I Do If I Miss a Dose of Sertraline?

woman holding a mug by a window

If it’s only been a few hours since your last dose, you can usually take your missed dose. If it’s been more than a few hours, wait until the next day. Do not take a double dose of sertraline.

What Should I Do If I Overdose on Sertraline?

If you overdose on sertraline, seek medical help immediately, especially if you experience any of the following symptoms, as they may be a sign of serotonin syndrome:

  • Headaches 
  • Sudden depression or euphoria
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Shivering
  • Excessive sweating
  • High body heat
  • Sudden constriction of the blood vessels
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Uncontrollable twitching or shaking

Get the Lowest Price for Sertraline with BidRx

Treating depression shouldn’t have the added problem of managing costs. With BidRX, you can find the lowest price for sertraline by placing a bid and having pharmacies across the country send you their best price. Just choose the price that works for your budget, and it’ll be delivered straight to your door.

To get started with finding the best price for your medications, visit our medications page.

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