Sertraline is a medicine which belongs to the group of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which means that it is used as an antidepressant, as well as for the treatment of the number of conditions related to the brain and to unbalanced level of serotonin. Some of the conditions in which it is most frequently prescribed are depression, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorder, but it can be used in some other conditions as well. It is also known under the name of Zoloft, and it has to be prescribed by the doctor. The patient should use it according to the dosage that the doctor prescribed, since it can cause addiction, and since it is easy to overdose with sertraline. Also, once the person starts taking this medicine, she or he should not stop taking it too suddenly, since symptoms of withdrawal are likely to be experienced in such cases, and they are not at all pleasant. The patient should inform the doctor about certain other conditions if they are present in its case, because conditions such as diabetes, bipolar disorder, epilepsy, or problems with heart play an important role in deciding whether or not this medicine should be prescribed in the first place. Pregnancy or lactating should also be mentioned to the doctor, as well as possible allergies, either to food, or other medicines. Speaking of other medicines, it is important to name all the supplements, vitamins, and medicines that a person is using, if using any, because of the possible interaction of sertraline with, for example, lithium, Aspirin, medicines for arrhythmia, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, or St. John’s wort, and under no circumstances, it should be combined with alcohol. The possible side effects in such cases are mostly related to the symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as hallucination, sweating, fast heartbeat, diarrhea and muscle spasm, or even increased risk of stomach bleeding.
As for the most common side effects, which may or may not be experienced in people who use it as prescribed and have no other health problems, the most experienced are changes in the blood pressure, irregular heart rhythm, rapid heart rate, nausea, vomiting, headache, weight loss, and chest palpitations. In more serious cases, aggressiveness, changes in behavior which are not usual, seizures and coma are possible. Some of these side effects do require immediate medical attention, while others are only temporary, and go off by themselves after some time.