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Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) Zoloft

Sertraline - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Sertraline cause?

Side effects which generally affect up to 10% of patients include:

  • Nausea, vomiting or loss of appetite
    • Take the medication with or after food.
    • Take small but frequent meals and avoid fatty or spicy food
  • Tiredness or drowsiness
    • Avoid driving or taking part in activities that requires concentration
    • Discuss with your doctor if you can take your medication at a different time of the day
  • Dizziness
    • Get up slowly from a sitting or lying down position
  • Difficulty sleeping
    • Discuss with your doctor if you can take the medication in the morning instead.
    • Avoid daytime naps, listen to relaxing music at bedtime.
    • Avoid overeating or drinking before bedtime.
    • Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea at least 8 hours before bedtime
  • Diarrhoea
    • Drink plenty of water to replace the loss of fluids
  • Dry mouth
    • Chew sugar-free gum, suck on sugar-free hard candies or ice chips, sip water regularly
  • Mild nervousness, trembling or increased sweating
    • Nervousness may usually occur at the start of treatment but will improve over time
  • Headache, decreased sexual drive or ability
    • Speak to your doctor if any of these affect your daily life

Most of the side effects listed here will improve with time. Speak with your doctor if they continue, get worse or are affecting your daily life.

Very rarely (affect less than 1% of patients) this medication may cause:

  • Fits (seizures)
  • Unexplained fever, confusion, severe weakness, uncontrolled movements or twitching of the muscle (signs and symptoms of Serotonin syndrome)
  • Feelings of intense agitation or anxiety, restlessness or inability to sit still
  • Talking, feeling, and acting with excitement that you cannot control

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

Before taking Sertraline , what precautions must I follow?

​Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to this medication or any of the other ingredients of this medication
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. If you are pregnant and/or breastfeeding, your doctor would have discussed the potential benefits and side-effects with you and should you have further questions or concerns, do consult your doctor.
  • You have or have ever had:
    • Other drug allergies
    • Heart, kidney or liver disease
    • Medical conditions such as diabetes, fits (seizures), increased eye pressure (glaucoma), Parkinson’s Disease, low sodium in the blood (hyponatremia) or bleeding problems
    • Other mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder, abnormally high or excited mood (mania)
    • Been taking other medications for low mood in the past 2 weeks.


In some cases, particularly in young people below the age of 25 years, this medication may cause the following changes to a person's mental condition, especially in the first few weeks of treatment or during dose changes:

  • New or worsening thoughts of harming yourself or ending your life
  • Worsening agitation, restlessness, violent behaviour, or
  • Other changes in mood or behaviour

Please inform your doctor as soon as possible, or for your family or caregiver to inform your doctor if you are unable to seek treatment on your own.

Do not stop taking this medication on your own without discussing with your doctor.

It is important to note that your doctor has prescribed this medication as he/she feels you will benefit more from taking this medication over the possible risks that it may cause, which have a low chance of occurring, and most people take this medication without any of such problems.

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Sertraline ?

​Avoid drinking alcohol while taking this medication as it may make you feel very drowsy and can worsen symptoms of depression or increase anxiety.

This medication may interact with other medications. If you intend to take any over the counter medication, supplements such as St John’s Wort, herbal remedy or traditional Chinese medicine, consult your doctor or healthcare professional first to confirm that it is safe to take with this medication.

Sertraline - Additional Information

  • Updated on 5/31/2021 12:00:00 AM
  • Article contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup PSS National Medication Information Workgroup
The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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