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Oct 26, 2022

Mental Health

Antidepressant

6 Things You Should Know About Sertraline

1. Sertraline Works to Increase The Effect of Serotonin in Your Brain

Sertraline is an antidepressant medication called a “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor” (SSRI). These medications work to increase the amount of a chemical called “serotonin” in your brain. Serotonin is a chemical that works in your brain to increase your happiness, decrease obsessive and anxious thoughts, and stabilize your mood. Serotonin gets released by one nerve cell and then goes and sends signals to another nerve cell to regulate mood. Once the serotonin has acted on the receiving cell, it then gets re-taken up by the cell that sent it out so that there isn’t too much signal being sent.

SSRIs work by stopping this reuptake of serotonin from the signal-sending nerve cell. This then allows the serotonin to stay around for longer and be able to send out more mood-stabilizing signals. This has very positive effects for many mental health conditions in which serotonin is thought to be at decreased levels.

2. Sertraline Is Approved to Treat 6 Mental Health Conditions

Even though serotonin is termed an antidepressant, it’s indicated to treat more conditions than just depression. Depression has been thought to be exacerbated by a decrease in serotonin levels, so increasing the amount available to send signals has very positive effects on depression. Most of the other mental health conditions that sertraline has been approved to treat are anxiety-based. Sertraline is helpful for these conditions because serotonin also works to decrease the overactive thoughts associated with OCD and social anxiety disorder.

The mental health conditions that sertraline has been approved by the FDA to treat include:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder (PD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD

3. 7 Common Side Effects

As with most medications, there is always a risk of experiencing side effects while taking sertraline. Many people experience side effects of sertraline within the first 2-4 weeks of starting this medication. These side effects will change and should decrease after about 4 weeks of taking sertraline.

Learn more about the first few weeks of taking antidepressants.

However, sometimes certain people continue to experience reactions even after the initial time period. These effects are usually mild, and should not interfere with your day-to-day life. The 7 most common side effects of sertraline include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased sweating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Dizziness
  • Emotional changes including increased thoughts of self-harm and suicide*

If you experience side effects in the first 2-4 weeks and/or following this time period make sure to discuss it with your healthcare provider, so they can determine if this medication is still right for you.

*if you experience increased thoughts of self-harm and/or suicide, seek medical attention immediately.

4. Medications To Avoid While Taking Sertraline

There are two medications that are explicitly contradicted with use at the same time as sertraline. These medications are:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
    Very serious, and even fatal, reactions have been reported when any MAOI is used in combination with sertraline.
  • Pimozide
    The combination of sertraline and pimozide can lead to heartbeat irregularities

There is a very long list of other medications that should likely not be taken at the same time as sertraline. Because this list is so long, it is very important to ensure your healthcare provider is aware of all prescription medications, over the counter medications, supplements, and natural health products you are taking.

For example, any medication that increases serotonin in your body should be avoided while taking sertraline. As sertraline also increases serotonin, additional serotonin-increasing medications may increase your serotonin too much. When serotonin gets too high in the body, it can lead to something called “serotonin syndrome”, which shows up as diarrhea, shakiness, agitation, and eventually an irregular heartrate and possibly seizures.

Examples of the medications that should be avoided due to the possibility of serotonin syndrome include:

  • Other antidepressants (SNRIs, TCAs)
  • Triptans (rizatriptan, sumatriptan)

5. Sertraline is One of the Safer SSRIs for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women

Overall, it is thought that sertraline is relatively safe for people to take while pregnant. Animal studies have not shown sertraline to be overly dangerous to either the mother or the fetus. This being said, there have not been extensive studies done in humans due to the possible safety risks to the pregnant mother and the fetus. The benefit of taking sertraline to improve mental health must therefore be weighed with your healthcare provider against the slight possibility of risk to the fetus.

Sertraline has been shown to appear in breastmilk. It is thought that the levels of sertraline are quite low in comparison to other SSRIs, so this may be a good antidepressant option for women who are nursing. Regardless, it is always a conversation to have with your healthcare provider to determine if there is more benefit to you to continue taking your medication or is the risk of the baby getting medication through the breastmilk is too high.

You Can Get Sertraline For As Low As $6 Per Month at Marley Drug!

Sertraline is a medication that’s most often taken for an extended period of time. Because of this, it’s most convenient to get a longer supply of the medication at each time. At a typical pharmacy, a 6-month supply of generic sertraline would cost anywhere from $134 to $417.

However, at Marley Drug you can get a 6-month supply of sertraline for $37 or a 12-month supply for $70. This low price is possible because we get our medications directly from accredited wholesalers, rather than from insurance companies. Insurance companies usually hike up the costs of medications with arbitrary service fees, so cutting out this step allows us to keep our medication costs low.

To learn more about how you can get your sertraline prescription from Marley Drug, just call us at 1-800-810-7790

Prices mentioned in this article are based on average retail price at major box chain pharmacy in the U.S. as of August 2, 2022.


References:
  1. Zoloft (sertraline) – Access data FDA-Approved Drugs [Internet]. Amended 12/2016; accessed 08/2022].
  2. Zoloft: generic sertraline – GoodRx (https://www.goodrx.com). Accessed 2022-08-02

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