Sertraline is used to treat depression, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), and a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (premenstrual dysphoric disorder).
This medication may improve your mood, sleep, appetite, and energy level and may help restore your interest in daily living. It may decrease fear, anxiety, unwanted thoughts, and the number of panic attacks. It may also reduce the urge to perform repeated tasks (compulsions such as hand-washing, counting, and checking) that interfere with daily living. Sertraline is known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It works by helping to restore the balance of a certain natural substance (serotonin) in the brain.
Antidepressant medications are used to treat a variety of conditions, including depression and other mental/mood disorders. These medications can help prevent suicidal thoughts/attempts and provide other important benefits. However, a small number of people (especially people younger than 25) who take antidepressants for any condition may experience worsening depression, other mental/mood symptoms, or suicidal thoughts/attempts. It is very important to talk with the doctor about the risks and benefits of antidepressant medication (especially for people younger than 25), even if treatment is not for a mental/mood condition.
Tell the doctor right away if you notice worsening depression/other psychiatric conditions, unusual behavior changes (including possible suicidal thoughts/attempts), or other mental/mood changes (including new/worsening anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, irritability, hostile/angry feelings, impulsive actions, severe restlessness, very rapid speech). Be especially watchful for these symptoms when a new antidepressant is started or when the dose is changed.
This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
This drug may also be used for binge eating disorder (BED).
How to Use This Medication
Read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using sertraline and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once daily either in the morning or evening. The tablet or liquid form of this medication may be taken with or without food. The capsule form is usually taken with food. Swallow the capsules whole. Do not crush or chew the capsules.
The liquid form of this medication must be mixed with another liquid before use. Just before taking, carefully measure the dose using the medicine dropper provided. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose. Mix the dose with a half cup (4 ounces/120 milliliters) of water, ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, lemonade, or orange juice. Do not use other liquids to mix this drug. The mixture may appear cloudy, which is normal and harmless. Drink all of the mixture right away. Do not prepare a supply in advance.
If you are taking this medication for premenstrual problems, your doctor may direct you to take this drug every day of the month or for only the 2 weeks before your period until the start of your period.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.
Keep taking this medication even if you feel well. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. Also, you may experience symptoms such as mood swings, headache, tiredness, sleep changes, and brief feelings similar to electric shock. To prevent these symptoms while you are stopping treatment with this drug, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Report any new or worsening symptoms right away.
Tell your doctor if your condition lasts or gets worse.