Sertraline Side Effects

Sertraline Side Effects

Sertraline is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor commonly prescribed as an antidepressant. It effects through increase of the serotonin amount. It can be prescribed for patients with major depression of different etiologies, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), anxiety disorders, panic disorder, social phobia (social anxiety disorder) and for prophylaxis of depressive episodes.
Read also Sertraline Drug Information

Side effects

Up to 30% of patients taking Sertraline experience side effects. The most common among them are:

  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anorexia
  • Appetite increased
  • Weight loss
  • Weight increase
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dyspepsia
  • Stomach pain
  • Upper gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Asthenia
  • Drowsiness
  • Mood and behavior changes
  • Trouble with concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Aggressiveness
  • Activation of mania in patients with bipolar disorder
  • Hostility
  • Hyperactivity
  • Exaggerated feeling of well-being
  • Panic attacks
  • Depressiveness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Rigid muscles
  • Loss of coordination
  • Hypoesthesia
  • Hyperesthesia
  • Facial paresthesia
  • Overactive reflexes
  • Myalgia
  • Myoclonic jerking
  • Tremor
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Sweating
  • Dry skin
  • Pruritus
  • Acne
  • Alopecia
  • Erythematous or maculopapular rash
  • Decreased sex desire
  • Impotence
  • Persistent or painful erection (priapism)
  • Abnormal ejaculation
  • Difficulty having an orgasm/ anorgasmia
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Amenorrhea
  • Leucorrhea

Sertraline can also cause such adverse reactions as:

  • Migraine
  • Vertigo
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Paroniria (nightmares)
  • Apathy
  • Euphoria
  • Yawning
  • Twitching
  • Ataxia
  • Abnormal gait
  • Leg cramps
  • Decreased bladder control
  • Urinary retention
  • Polyuria
  • Nocturia
  • Dysuria
  • Periorbital edema
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Eye pain
  • Abnormal accommodation
  • Mydriasis
  • Nystagmus
  • High fever
  • Rigours
  • Rhinitis
  • Sinusitis
  • Epistaxis
  • Pharyngitis
  • Cough
  • Dyspnea
  • Hot flushing
  • Teeth-grinding
  • Aggravation of the tooth caries
  • Eructation
  • Increased salivation
  • Dysphagia
  • Esophagitis
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Hypertension
  • Hypotension
  • Palpitations
  • Arrhythmia (fast, slow or irregular heartbeats)
  • Chest pain
  • Peripheral ischemia

Like any other medicine, Sertraline can cause allergic reactions that manifest as rash, urticaria, itching, swallowing or breathing difficulty, chest tightness, swelling of the mouth, hands, eyes, face, lips, tongue and throat, unusual hoarseness, angioedema, anaphylaxis, anaphylactic shock and anaphylactoid reactions. These reactions are serious and require urgent medical help.

Rare side effects

In rare cases, Sertraline can cause such side effects as seizures, increased odds ration of hip fracture, akathisia (in patients with an AV malformation), reductions in the overall time of REM sleep, somnambulism, hyperacusis, labyrinthine disorder, dysphonia, speech difficulties, choreoathetosis, hyporeflexia, hiccup, irritation of the nasal passages, photophobia, ptosis, exophthalmos, xerophthalmia, visual field defect, diplopia, abnormal lacrimation, glaucoma, scotoma, hair loss, acne, eczema, dermatitis, bullous eruption, hypertrichosis, photosensitivity, skin discoloration, pustular rash, jaundice, laryngitis, stomatitis, glossitis, gum hyperplasia, gastritis, diverticulitis, colitis, proctitis, tenesmus, fecal incontinence, muscle pain, arthralgia, arthrosis, cystitis, oliguria, pyelonephritis, strangury, increased libido, breast pain in women, balanoposthitis, atrophic vaginitis, gynecomastia, acute mastitis in women, galactorrhea, syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH), lupus-like syndrome, serum sickness.

Changes in laboratory tests

Sertraline can also cause some changes in laboratory tests. So keep in mind that the drug can cause such abnormalities in your blood as anemia, agranulocytosis, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, increased coagulation time, asymptomatic elevations in hepatic enzymes levels (alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase), total cholesterol, triglycerides and HDL cholesterol, and/or LDL cholesterol elevation, hyponatremia, hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, hypothyroidism, hyperprolactinemia and decrease in serum uric acid. Blood may also be found in your stool or urine.

ECG changes can include AV block, ventricular and atrial arrhythmias, QT-interval prolongation.

Serious side effects

Sertraline can cause some very serious side effects that may require urgent medical help. These side effects include:

  • Suicidal thoughts and behavior
  • Worsening of depression
  • Extrapyramidal symptoms
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Septic shock due to agranulocytosis
  • Hypoglycemic reaction
  • Cataract
  • Anterior chamber eye hemorrhage
  • Blindness
  • Oculogyric crisis
  • Optic neuritis
  • Hyperventilation
  • Hypoventilation
  • Shallow breathing or breathing stop (apnea)
  • Bradypnea
  • Stridor
  • Hemoptysis
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Arrhythmias
  • Angina
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Worsening of the hypertention
  • Acute renal failure
  • Pancreatitis
  • Hepatitis
  • Liver failure
  • Tongue ulceration
  • Aphthous stomatitis
  • Ulcerative stomatitis
  • Hemorrhagic peptic ulcer
  • Rectum hemorrhage
  • Melena (black stool)
  • Intermenstrual bleeding
  • Vaginal hemorrhage
  • Vasculitis
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome

Besides, discontinuation of Sertraline can lead to the development of withdrawal syndrome. It can manifest as dizziness, fever, insomnia, lethargy, paraesthesia, nausea, abdominal cramps, vivid and bad dreams, irritability, emotional lability and lowered mood

Side effects in pregnant women

Sertraline can raise the possibility of birth defects (omphalocele, anal atresia, limb reduction defects, and septal defects) in women in their first trimester of pregnancy.

Side effects in children

Besides the adverse reactions common in adults, children may experience such side effects as hyperactivity, aggressiveness, fever, sinus inflammation, bloody nose, purpura, and urinary incontinence.


You may never experience any of the side effects listed above. Your doctor cannot predict your body’s reaction to Sertraline until you have tried it. That is why you should immediately inform your doctor of any changes in your health condition after taking Sertraline. Therefore, when you feel something is wrong, ask your doctor for advice and he or she will diagnose if your problem is connected with the medicine intake. You should also be careful because some of the side effects of Sertraline require urgent medical attention. In addition, it is strongly recommended not to stop Sertraline intake suddenly because this can lead to withdrawal syndrome.