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Sertraline can be used to treat a range of psychological conditions.

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How to take - Side Effects - Things To Avoid - Pregnancy

Sertraline (often referred to by its brand name ‘Lustral’) is a type of antidepressant known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. It works by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain by blocking cells’ ability to reabsorb the chemical.

If you’re suffering from depression or any other psychological condition and are wondering about sertraline – speak to a doctor online right now.

Our GPs can discuss your symptoms and work with you to determine whether medication, therapy or a combination of both would be the best route for tackling your condition.


How Sertraline is Taken

Sertraline is taken orally – either in tablet form, or as a liquid, that will need to be diluted before being ingested.

It’s usually recommended to take the medication at the same time every day and at the prescribed dosage. However, your doctor may opt to change the dosage on occasion to ensure it’s having the best possible effect.

If you’ve started a course of sertraline, it’s important not to suddenly stop taking it, even if you’ve not seen any improvement in your symptoms. It can take several weeks before you start to see any beneficial effects and quitting suddenly can cause severe withdrawal symptoms.

If you do want to stop using sertraline or switch to another type of antidepressant, it’s vital to talk with a doctor.

Missing a single dose isn’t the end of the world, but you should aim to either take the dose you skipped as soon as possible, or just carry on as normal the next day. You should never take a double dose of sertraline.

What can Sertraline Be Used to Treat?

Sertraline can be used to treat a range of psychological disorders, including:

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What Are The Side Effects of Sertraline?

Sertraline can have a range of potential side effects, some common and some rarer. Some of the most typical side effects of sertraline include:

  • A decrease in libido (sexual desire)
  • Failure to discharge semen
  • Drowsiness
  • Diarrhoea

Some rarer side effects include:

  • Enlargement of breasts and/or tenderness
  • Increased aggression
  • Fidgeting and restlessness
  • An excessively dry mouth
  • Intense sweating
  • Incontinence
  • Muscle spasms or convulsions
  • Hives or skin rashes
  • Dizzy spells and fainting
  • Stomach pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Darkened urine
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Sertraline side effects

Things to avoid

Sertraline can have negative effects if used in combination with a range of other drugs, so make sure to tell your doctor about any medication you’re currently taking before you’re prescribed with it.

Just some of the substances that can interact negatively with sertraline include:

  • Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors
  • Blood thinning medication
  • Antiplatelet drugs
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen
  • Other drugs that increase serotonin levels (like antidepressants)
  • St John’s Wort
  • Certain types of muscle relaxants
  • Narcotic pain medication
  • Grapefruit
  • Various recreational drugs

Sertraline and alcohol

While it’s generally safe to drink at moderate levels while taking sertraline, you should steer clear of alcohol during the first few weeks of your course of medication.

Alcohol can increase the chances or severity of side effects like restlessness or drowsiness, so you should give your body time to become accustomed before drinking.

Is It Safe to Use Sertraline During Pregnancy?

Some studies indicate that taking SSRIs like sertraline can slightly increase the risk of birth defects and using them while in the later stages of pregnancy can lead to withdrawal symptoms in the newborn, such as:

  • Restlessness
  • A lack of muscle tone
  • Breathing problems
  • Fits

Similarly, traces of the drug can be passed on to the baby during breastfeeding, which could lead to side effects.

However, since a sudden withdrawal from sertraline can cause a range of unpleasant effects, you should consult a doctor about the best way to wean yourself off it.

If you are pregnant or are trying to conceive, be sure to let your doctor know before starting on a course of sertraline.

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pregnancy and sertraline

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