Sertraline nhs leaflet

Sertraline nhs leaflet

Welcome to the Sertraline NHS Leaflet, a comprehensive resource for patients and healthcare providers. Sertraline is a commonly prescribed medication for the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, and other mental health conditions. This leaflet aims to provide important information about Sertraline, including its uses, side effects, and precautions.

What is Sertraline?

Sertraline is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medication. It works by affecting the balance of chemicals in the brain, specifically increasing the levels of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation. Sertraline is available in tablet form and is usually taken once a day.

Uses of Sertraline

Sertraline is primarily used to treat depression and related mental health conditions. It is also prescribed for the treatment of several anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. In some cases, Sertraline may be used off-label for other conditions, as determined by a healthcare provider.

Side Effects and Precautions

Like all medications, Sertraline can cause side effects. Common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, and headache. In rare cases, Sertraline may cause more serious side effects, such as suicidal thoughts, changes in behavior, or allergic reactions. It is important to speak to a healthcare provider if you experience any side effects while taking Sertraline.

This NHS Leaflet is intended to provide general information about Sertraline. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult a healthcare provider for personalized advice and guidance regarding your specific condition and treatment plan.

Overview of Sertraline Medication


Sertraline is a type of medicine called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It is used to treat depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How Sertraline Works

Sertraline works by increasing the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, in the brain. Serotonin is responsible for regulating mood, emotions, and sleep. By increasing serotonin levels, sertraline helps improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Using Sertraline

Sertraline is taken orally as a tablet or liquid. It is usually taken once daily, with or without food. The dosage will depend on the individual's condition and response to the medication. It is important to take sertraline regularly and as prescribed by a healthcare provider.

Possible Side Effects

Common side effects of sertraline include nausea, diarrhea, dry mouth, dizziness, and drowsiness. These side effects usually improve over time, but if they persist or become bothersome, it is important to consult a healthcare provider. Rare, but potentially serious side effects may include suicidal thoughts, allergic reactions, and serotonin syndrome.

Precautions and Considerations

Before starting sertraline, it is important to inform a healthcare provider about any allergies, medical conditions, and medications being taken. Sertraline may interact with other medications, so it is important to check for potential drug interactions. It is also important to avoid alcohol while taking sertraline, as it may increase the risk of side effects.


Sertraline is a medication commonly used to treat depression, anxiety disorders, OCD, and PTSD. It works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, helping to regulate mood and emotions. It is important to take sertraline as prescribed and inform a healthcare provider of any concerns or potential interactions with other medications.

Uses and Benefits of Sertraline

Sertraline is a medication commonly used to treat depression, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It is classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which means that it works by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain.

Treating Depression

Sertraline is an effective treatment for depression. It can help improve mood, reduce feelings of sadness and hopelessness, and increase energy levels. It is often prescribed as a first-line treatment for mild to moderate depression.

Managing Anxiety Disorders

Sertraline is also used to treat various anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), and panic disorder. It can help reduce the frequency and intensity of anxiety symptoms, such as excessive worry, fear, and panic attacks.

Alleviating Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Sertraline is commonly prescribed for individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It can help reduce the frequency and intensity of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors, allowing individuals to regain control over their lives.

Improving Quality of Life

By effectively treating symptoms of depression, anxiety disorders, and OCD, sertraline can significantly improve an individual's quality of life. It can alleviate emotional distress, enhance social functioning, and improve overall well-being.

It's important to note that sertraline should only be taken as prescribed by a healthcare provider. The dosage and duration of treatment will vary depending on the individual's specific condition and response to the medication. Any questions or concerns regarding the use of sertraline should be discussed with a healthcare professional.

Possible Side Effects of Sertraline

1. Common side effects:

Patients taking sertraline may experience common side effects, such as:

  • Nausea and upset stomach
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Drowsiness or insomnia
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Headache

2. Less common but serious side effects:

In rare cases, sertraline may cause more serious side effects. Patients should seek immediate medical attention if they experience:

  • Severe allergic reactions, including rash, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Changes in sexual desire or performance
  • Thoughts of suicide or worsening depression
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Unusual excitement or agitation

3. Other possible side effects:

Patients taking sertraline may also experience other side effects. While uncommon, these should be reported to a healthcare professional if they persist or worsen:

  • Weight loss or gain
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Excessive sweating
  • Changes in appetite
  • Abnormal dreams
  • Dry mouth

4. Side effects in children and adolescents:

In some cases, sertraline may be prescribed for children and adolescents. It is important to note that they may experience different side effects, including:

  • Increased suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Restlessness or hyperactivity
  • Aggressive behavior or hostility
  • Irritability or mood swings
  • Decreased appetite

These are not all the possible side effects of sertraline. Patients should consult their healthcare provider for more information and to report any side effects they may experience.

Precautions and Interactions with Sertraline

1. Precautions

Sertraline should be used with caution in patients who have a history of seizures, as it may lower the seizure threshold. Close monitoring is required in these patients to ensure that any changes in seizure frequency or intensity are promptly addressed. Furthermore, caution should be exercised in patients with a history of bleeding disorders or those taking anticoagulant medications, as sertraline may increase the risk of bleeding.

Pregnant women should also be cautious when taking sertraline, as it may be associated with an increased risk of birth defects. The potential benefits and risks of sertraline therapy during pregnancy should be carefully evaluated by the healthcare provider before initiating treatment.

2. Interactions

Sertraline may interact with certain medications, potentially leading to adverse effects or reduced efficacy. It is important for healthcare providers to review a patient's medication profile before prescribing sertraline, and to consider possible drug interactions.

One notable interaction is with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), as concurrent use with sertraline can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition characterized by confusion, agitation, rapid heartbeat, and elevated blood pressure. A washout period of at least 14 days is generally recommended between discontinuation of an MAOI and initiation of sertraline.

Additionally, sertraline may increase the concentration of certain medications metabolized by cytochrome P450 enzymes, such as warfarin or diazepam. Dose adjustments may be necessary when using these medications concomitantly with sertraline to avoid toxicity or diminished effectiveness.

Other potential drug interactions include those with drugs that affect platelet function or increase the risk of bleeding, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or anticoagulants. Sertraline may potentiate the effects of these medications and increase the risk of bleeding.

How to Take Sertraline Medication

1. Follow the Instructions of Your Healthcare Provider

It is important to follow the instructions given by your healthcare provider regarding how to take sertraline medication. They will prescribe the appropriate dosage for your specific condition and provide you with detailed instructions on when and how to take the medication.

Note: Do not change the dosage or stop taking sertraline without consulting your healthcare provider.

2. Take the Medication with or without Food

Sertraline can be taken with or without food. If you experience stomach upset after taking the medication, you may prefer to take it with food to help alleviate this side effect.

3. Take Sertraline at the Same Time Every Day

To ensure the most effective results, it is recommended to take sertraline at the same time every day. This will help establish a consistent level of the medication in your system, maximizing its benefits.

4. Swallow the Tablet Whole

Take the sertraline tablet with a glass of water and swallow it whole. Do not crush, chew, or break the tablet, as this may interfere with the proper release and absorption of the medication.

5. Keep Track of Your Progress

During your treatment, it is important to monitor your progress and discuss any concerns or changes in symptoms with your healthcare provider. They may need to adjust your dosage or provide additional guidance based on your individual needs.

6. Maintain a Regular Schedule

In order to benefit from the full effects of sertraline, it is important to maintain a regular schedule and take the medication as prescribed. Skipping doses or inconsistently taking sertraline can diminish its effectiveness.

Remember, always consult your healthcare provider for personalized instructions and guidance regarding sertraline medication.

Important Safety Information for Sertraline Users

When taking sertraline, it is important to be aware of certain safety considerations to ensure your well-being and minimize potential risks. Keep the following points in mind:

  • Inform your healthcare provider: Make sure to inform your healthcare provider about any pre-existing conditions, including allergies, liver or kidney problems, bipolar disorder, or a history of seizures. This will help them determine if sertraline is suitable for you.
  • Follow dosage instructions: Take sertraline exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not exceed the recommended dose or change your dosage without consulting them first. This medication may take a few weeks to start working, so be patient and do not abruptly stop taking it.
  • Be cautious with other medications: Let your healthcare provider know about any other medications, including over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements, that you are taking. Some medications may interact with sertraline and cause adverse effects.
  • Exercise caution while driving or operating machinery: Sertraline may cause drowsiness or dizziness. If you experience any of these side effects, avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until you know how the medication affects you.
  • Pay attention to your mental health: Sertraline is commonly prescribed to treat depression and anxiety disorders. However, it is important to monitor your mental health and alert your healthcare provider if you experience worsening symptoms, changes in behavior, or thoughts of self-harm.

Always consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns or questions about taking sertraline. They are best equipped to provide personalized advice based on your specific circumstances.



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About the Author

Tim Kautzman
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