What is sertraline?

  • Sertraline is an antidepressant in a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Sertraline affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause depression, panic, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive symptoms.
  • Sertraline is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
  • Sertraline may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.
What should I discuss with my doctor before taking sertraline?
  • You may have an increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior at the start of treatment with an antidepressant medication, especially if you are under 18 years old. Talk with your doctor about this risk. While you are taking sertraline you will need to be monitored for worsening symptoms of depression and/ or suicidal thoughts during the first weeks of treatment, or whenever your dose is changed. In addition to you watching for changes in your own symptoms, your family or other caregivers should be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits for at least the first 12 weeks of treatment.
  • Do not use sertraline if you are using pimozide (Orap), or an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), tranylcypromine (Parnate), phenelzine (Nardil), or selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam). Serious and sometimes fatal reactions can occur when these medicines are taken with sertraline. You must wait at least 14 days after stopping an MAO inhibitor before you can take sertraline.
  • Before taking sertraline, tell your doctor if you have:
    • liver or kidney disease;
    • seizures or epilepsy;
    • bipolar disorder (manic depression); or
    • a history of drug abuse or suicidal thoughts.
  • If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use sertraline, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.
  • FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.
  • It is not known whether sertraline passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

 

 

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