Sertraline (By mouth)
Treats depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. This medicine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to sertraline, or if you are also using pimozide (Orap®). Do not use this medicine and an MAO inhibitor (MAOI) such as Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, Parnate®, or linezolid (Zyvox®) within 14 days of each other. Do not use the oral liquid form of sertraline if you are also using disulfiram (Antabuse®).
How to Use This Medicine
- Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Your dose may need to be changed several times in order to find out what works best for you. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
- Use the dropper provided to measure a dose of the oral liquid. Mix the medicine with 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of water, ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, lemonade, or orange juice. Do not mix the medicine with any other liquid. Drink the mixture right away. Do not mix the medicine with the liquid until you are ready to take your dose. It is okay if the mixture looks hazy.
- You may need to take this medicine for several months or longer before you begin to feel better. Keep using this medicine for the full treatment time. If you feel that the medicine is not working well, do not take more than your regular dose. Call your doctor for instructions.
- This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Ask your pharmacist for the Medication Guide if you do not have one.
If a dose is missed:
- If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
- Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
- Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using other medicine to treat depression (such as amitriptyline, nortriptyline, desipramine, fluoxetine, mirtazapine, paroxetine, Celexa®, Elavil®, Lexapro®, Norpramin®, Paxil®), medicine to treat migraine headaches (such as eletriptan, sumatriptan, tramadol, Frova®, Maxalt®, Relpax®, Zomig®), an NSAID pain or arthritis medicine (such as aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, Advil®, Aleve®, Celebrex®, Voltaren®), a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®, Jantoven®), or medicine for heart rhythm problems (such as flecainide, propafenone, Rythmol®, Tambocor®).
- Tell your doctor if you are also using buspirone (Buspar®), phenytoin (Dilantin®), tramadol (Ultram®), cimetidine (Tagamet®), cisapride (Propulsid®), diazepam (Valium®), digitoxin, fentanyl (Sublimaze®), ketoconazole (Nizoral®), lithium (Eskalith®, Lithane®, Lithobid®), midazolam (Versed®), St John's wort, tryptophan supplements, valproate (Depacon®), or a diuretic (water pill, such as furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, Lasix®).
- Tell your doctor if you are using any medicines that make you sleepy. These include sleeping pills, cold and allergy medicine, narcotic pain relievers, and sedatives.
- Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have liver disease, heart disease, bleeding problems, diabetes, glaucoma, low sodium in the blood, seizures, or a history of mania.
- 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 and have thoughts about hurting yourself. Report any unusual thoughts or behaviors that trouble you, especially if they are new or get worse quickly. Make sure the doctor knows if you have trouble sleeping, get upset easily, have a big increase in energy, or start to act reckless. Also tell the doctor if you have sudden or strong feelings, such as feeling nervous, angry, restless, violent, or scared. Let the doctor know if you or anyone in your family has bipolar disorder (manic-depressive) or has tried to commit suicide.
- This medicine may cause hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood). This is more common in elderly patients, those who are taking diuretic medicine, or those who have decreased amounts of fluid in the body due to severe diarrhea or vomiting. Check with your doctor right away if you have headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, confusion, weakness, or unsteadiness.
- Tell your doctor if you are allergic to latex rubber. The oral liquid form of this medicine has a latex rubber dropper.
- This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.
- This medicine may cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome, when taken with certain medicines. Call your doctor right away if you have a fever, confusion, mental changes, restlessness, fast heartbeat, muscle spasms, trouble walking, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Do not stop using this medicine suddenly without asking your doctor. You may need to slowly decrease your dose before stopping it completely.
- Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect the results of certain medical tests.
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
- Feeling more excited or energetic than usual
- Blistering, peeling, red skin rash
- Confusion, weakness, and muscle twitching
- Fast or pounding heartbeat
- Headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, weakness, unsteadiness
- Unusual behavior, thoughts of hurting yourself or others
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Blurred vision
- Sexual problems
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite, weight loss
- Mild diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting
- 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
- Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013
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This page was last updated: September 18, 2013