Sertraline (By mouth)


Sertraline (SER-tra-leen)

This medicine is an SSRI that treats depression, anxiety, and other disorders.

Brand Name(s)


When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

How to Use This Medicine

Liquid, Tablet

  • Take this medicine as directed. You may need to take it for several months before you feel better. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find out what works best for you.
  • Oral liquid: Use the dropper provided to remove the medicine and mix it with 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of water, ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, lemonade, or orange juice. Drink the mixture right away. It is normal for it to look a bit hazy.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Missed dose: Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Do not use this medicine with pimozide. Do not use this medicine and an MAO inhibitor (MAOI) within 14 days of each other. Do not use the oral liquid form of sertraline if you are also using disulfiram.
  • Some medicines can affect how sertraline works. Tell your doctor if you are using buspirone, phenytoin, tramadol, cimetidine, cisapride, diazepam, digitoxin, fentanyl, ketoconazole, lithium, midazolam, St John's wort, tryptophan supplements, or valproate. Tell your doctor if you are using medicine to treat migraine headaches, an NSAID pain or arthritis medicine (such as aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen), a blood thinner (such as warfarin), medicine for heart rhythm problems, or a diuretic (water pill).

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have liver disease, heart disease, bleeding problems, diabetes, glaucoma, or a seizure disorder. Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family has bipolar disorder (manic depression) or has tried to commit suicide.
  • For some children, teenagers, and young adults, this medicine can increase thoughts of suicide. Tell your doctor right away if you start to feel more depressed or have thoughts about hurting yourself.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Serotonin syndrome
    • Low sodium levels
  • Tell your doctor if you are sensitive to latex, because the oral liquid comes with a latex rubber dropper.
  • Do not drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if this medicine makes you feel dizzy or drowsy.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly. Your doctor will need to slowly decrease your dose before you stop it completely.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Anxiety, restlessness, fast heartbeat, fever, sweating, muscle spasms, twitching, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seeing or hearing things that are not there
  • Blistering, peeling, red skin rash
  • Confusion, weakness, and muscle twitching
  • Feeling more excited or energetic than usual
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself or others, unusual behavior
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite, weight loss
  • Mild diarrhea, nausea, vomiting
  • Sexual problems
  • Sleepiness, tiredness

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 8/4/2014

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