(Brand Name: Lustral, Zoloft)

Sertraline was approved for medical use in the United States in 1991 and initially sold by Pfizer and is available here in the UK on prescription as tablets.

Key Facts:
  • It usually takes 4 to 6 weeks for Sertraline to work
  • NHS Choices report that Sertraline can affect an unborn baby, so it is important to tell your doctor straight away if you’re trying to get pregnant or become pregnant while taking it
  • Take Sertraline once a day. You can take it with or without food
  • If you have an eye problem called glaucoma tell your doctor because Sertraline can increase eye pressure
  • If you have diabetes, Sertraline can make it more difficult to keep your blood sugar stable. Monitor your blood sugar more often for the first few weeks of taking and consult your doctor
  • In the United States, the FDA require all antidepressants including Sertraline to carry a warning  that antidepressants may increase the risk of suicide in people younger than 25

Medication Information

Skeletal formula of sertraline (original brand name Zoloft)

Skeletal formula of Sertraline (original brand name Zoloft)

The following information is a guide only,  a doctor may want to try dosages outside these recommended guides.

Form: Tablets.

When: At any time of day, although recommended you stick to the same time every day. If you have trouble sleeping, it’s best to take the medication in the morning.

Child dose: The usual dose for children aged 6-12 is 25mg daily but this may be increased to 50mg. For children aged 13-17 the usual dose is 50mg daily.

Adult dose: The usual dose for adults is 50mg daily, as a single dose,  however, it may be started at a lower dose and gradually increased at 50mg intervals to a maximum dose of 200mg a day.

Older people: Please consult your doctor.

Half-Life: It’s thought to be approximately 26 hours (but ranges between 22-36 hours). If you occasionally forget to take a dose, because of the long half-life don’t worry, take your next dose the next day at the usual time. Never take two doses at the same time to make up for a forgotten one.

Drug interactions: Don’t take St John’s wort, the herbal remedy, while you are taking Sertraline as this will increase your risk of side effects.

Pregnancy and Breast Feeding: Sertraline is generally not recommended in pregnancy or while breastfeeding. A doctor will want to prescribe this medication only when the benefits of you taking the medicine outweigh the risks. Sertraline and similar antidepressants have been linked with a small risk of problems for the unborn baby when taken in early or late pregnancy and Sertraline is thought to pass into breast milk and has been linked with side effects, including withdrawal symptoms, in breastfed babies.

The NICE guidelines, published in 2005, reported that Sertraline has a UK marketing authorisation for treating OCD in children aged 6 years and older.


What to read next: