Sertraline is a type of antidepressant known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Sertraline is used to treat a number of mental health conditions including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic attacks, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We don't know for certain, but researchers think that SSRIs work by increasing the activity of serotonin which is thought to improve mood, emotion and sleep. Read more about SSRIs.
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Sounds like 'sir-tra-leen'
Key points about sertraline
- Sertraline is used to treat a number of conditions including depression, panic attacks and anxiety.
- Sertraline is also called Setrona® or Zoloft®.
- Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects.
If you need help or want to talk to somebody about your mental health, you can get support from any of the following:
- Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
- Lifeline 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP)
- Suicide Crisis Helpline 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
- Healthline 0800 611 116
- Samaritans 0800 726 666.
In Aotearoa New Zealand sertraline is available as tablets (50 mg, 100 mg).
- The dose of sertraline will be different for different people and depends on the condition being treated.
- Your doctor will usually start you on a low dose and, if needed, will increase your dose slowly. This allows your body to get used to the medicine and reduces the chance of side effects.
- Always take your sertraline exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much sertraline to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.
- Take sertraline once a day, in the morning OR the evening. Take your dose at the same time each day.
- You can take sertraline with or without food. Avoid consuming large amounts of grapefruit or grapefruit juice as it can change the levels of sertraline in your body. Read more about grapefruit and medicines.
- Missed dose: If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. But if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take it at the right time. Do not take double the dose.
- Keep taking sertraline every day. It may take 4 to 6 weeks before you notice the full benefits of sertraline and you should start to feel better after 1 to 2 weeks. Some people experience side effects such as agitation and restlessness in the first few weeks before they feel better. If this happens, let your doctor or nurse know, especially if you have any feelings of worsening or low mood or self-harm. Sertraline is often needed for at least a few months. Your doctor will discuss with you how long to take it for; this depends on what you are taking it for, and how well it is working.
- If you think sertraline is not working for you. Don't stop taking it suddenly; talk to your doctor or nurse before stopping. It is usually best to stop taking sertraline very slowly to avoid side effects.
Here are some things to know when you're taking sertraline. Other things may be important as well, so ask your healthcare provider what you should know about.
- Limit alcohol intake while you are taking sertraline. Alcohol can increase your chance of side effects such as drowsiness and reduced concentration.
- Avoid driving and doing other tasks where you need to be alert until you know how this medicine affects you.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
- Sertraline can interact with some other medicines (including anticoagulants and anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen), herbal supplements (such as St John's Wort), and recreational drugs, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting sertraline and before starting any new products.
- If you have diabetes, you may need to check your blood glucose more often because sertraline can affect the levels of glucose in your blood.
Like all medicines, sertraline can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.
|What should I do?
|Did you know that you can report a side effect to a medicine to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product.(external link)
The following links have more information on sertraline.
- Sertraline(external link) NZ Formulary, NZ, 2022
- Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors(external link) NZ Formulary, NZ, 2022
- The role of medicines in the management of depression in primary care(external link) BPAC, NZ, 2021
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist, Healthify He Puna Waiora. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.
Reviewed by: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland
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