Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Medicines & treatments centre

Terms Of Use


Brand Name(s) : Lustral
Side Effects


Sertraline should be used with caution in: women who are pregnant or likely to become pregnant or who are breastfeeding, those under 18 years of age, patients with heart disease, diabetes or epilepsy, those with poor liver or kidney function, previous or current mental diseases such as mania or psychoses, bleeding disorders (especially bleeding from the gut), increased pressure in the eye (known as narrow-angle glaucoma), or who are undergoing electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

It should not be used in: patients who are taking a drug called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) within 14 days, pimozide (to treat mental disorders such as schizophrenia), and during the manic phase in patients – such as those with bipolar disorder (sometimes called manic depression) – who experience this mental symptom, or in patients who have severe liver problems.

Also see list of precautions and interactions.


Do not store above 30°C.


What is it used for?

  • Sertraline is used to treat a number of problems.
  • It is a member of a class of antidepressant drugs called the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, sometimes known as SSRIs.
  • It is used to treat mental problems.
  • In general this drug is used to treat depression, but also for accompanying anxiety symptoms.
  • Benefits of being on this drug can include relief from depression and anxiety.

Listed below are the typical uses of paroxetine.

  • Depression in adults
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD (a type of anxiety characterised by an obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions, such as repeatedly performing trivial or meaningless actions such as cleaning, checking, counting, hoarding, or rearranging items), including children of 6 years of age or older with OCD
  • Panic disorder in adults
  • Social anxiety disorder in adults
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (or PTSD; a type of anxiety that may develop after an experience of a traumatic event) in adults

On occasion your doctor may prescribe this medicine to treat a condition not on the above list.


How often do I take it?

  • Take this medication by mouth, usually once daily, with or without food. Tablets should be taken whole with a glass of water.
  • Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it.
  • Remember to use it at the same time each day - unless specifically told otherwise by your doctor.
  • It may take several weeks or months before the full benefit of this drug takes effect.
  • Certain medical conditions may require different dosage instructions as directed by your doctor.

What dose?

  • Dosage is based on your age, gender, medical condition, response to therapy, and use of certain interacting medicines.

Do I need to avoid anything?

  • Avoid drinking alcohol. Do not drive or operate machinery until you know if, or whether, sertraline affects your ability to perform these operations. It should not be given together with benzodiazepines or other tranquillizers in patients who drive or operate machinery.

When can I stop?

  • It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well, unless your doctor tells you to stop.


  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Anorexia (decreased appetite)
  • Indigestion (dyspepsia)
  • Tremor
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia (unable to sleep)
  • Sleepiness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Sexual problems (mostly delayed ejaculation delay in men).
Only the most common side effects have been listed. Further information about other side-effects can be found in the patient information leaflet.

If any of these persist or you consider them severe then inform your doctor.

Tell your doctor immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms: feeling more depressed and/or thinking about suicide (particularly when used in children and those under 25 years of age); having a fit (seizure); unusual bleeding (vomit blood or develop black or blood stained stools); some or all of the following symptoms of serotonin syndrome (confusion, irritability, restlessness, excessive sweating, shaking, shivering, hallucinations, fast heart beat and muscle twitches); any manic symptoms (e.g. rapid speach, racing thoughts, severely elevated mood [euphoria]).

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine (which includes vaccines, herbals and over the counter medicines) that you are taking. It is run by the medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory agency (MHRA). Please report any suspected side effect on the Yellow Card Scheme website.


Before taking sertraline, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI); or if you have any other allergies.

This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: any mental disorders (particularly schizophrenia or bipolar disorder), epilepsy, liver or kidney disease or any sort of heart or blood disorder, diabetes, increased pressure in the eye (glaucoma), or are undergoing electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially any of the following: any previous mental disorders or epilepsy, any bleeding disorders (especially bleeding from the gut).

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication.

Does alcohol intake affect this drug?

  • Possibly. Avoid alcohol whilst taking sertraline.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding - please ensure you read the detailed information below


The safety of sertraline has not been established during pregnancy. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any doubts or questions about this.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during pregnancy whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.


Sertraline is not safe to take if you are breastfeeding.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during breastfeeding whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.


Before using this medicine, tell your prescriber of all the medicines you are taking including prescription medicines and medicines you have bought over the counter without a prescription. Tell your prescriber if you are taking vitamins or complementary remedies such as herbal products, as these can also interact with medicines.

If you are taking more than one medicine, these may interact with each other. Your prescriber may decide to use medicines which interact with each other if the benefit outweighs the risks. In these cases, the dose of your medicines may need to be adjusted or you may be monitored more closely.

The following medicines may interact with sertraline:

  • Other antidepressants (monoamine oxidase inhibitors [MAOIs], including the reversible MAOI, moclobemibe)
  • St John's Wort
  • Anti-psychotics used to treat mental health problems, such as pimozide
  • Antimalarial agents (artemether/lumefantrine)
  • Anti-epileptic medicines, used to control fits e.g. carbamazepine, phenytoin and primadone
  • Anti-depressants/anti-mania medicines (e.g. tryptophan and lithium)
  • Blood-thinning medicines e.g. warfarin
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. aspirin or ibuprofen) and other medicines for pain relief, such as tramodol
  • Serotonin (5HT1) agonists e.g. the anti-migraine medicine sumatriptan
  • Antiviral agents e.g. ritonavir, darunavir or efavirenz
  • Dopaminergics used in Parkinson's disease e.g. rasagiline or selegiline)
  • Ulcer-healing medicines such as cimetidine

This information does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, tell your prescriber of all the products you are using before taking this medicine.


Symptoms of an overdose include: sleepiness, feeling sick (nausea), vomiting, rapid heart beat (tachycardia), tremor, agitation, dizziness, and less frequently, coma (unable to wake).

If you think you, or someone you care for, might have accidentally taken more than the recommended dose of sertraline or intentional overdose is suspected, contact your local hospital, GP or if in England call 111. In Scotland call NHS 24. In Wales, call NHS Direct Wales. In the case of medical emergencies, always dial 999.


If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

Find a medication

Search by medication name for information on over-the-counter or prescription medications including side effects and interactions.
indicates detailed medicines information

Source: Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by Boots UK Limited. This copyrighted material is sourced from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, except as may be authorised by the applicable terms of use.
CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse events, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular medicine is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any medicine, changing any diet, or discontinuing any course of treatment.

Search for a medicine or treatment

Search by medicine name or treatment for information including side effects and interactions.

Ex. Simvastatin, Ibuprofen, Amitriptyline Hydrochlorine

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

How to help headache pain
rash on skin
Top eczema triggers to avoid
boost your metabolism
Foods to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol
Tips to support digestive health
woman looking at pregnancy test
Is your body ready for pregnancy?
sick child
Dos and don'ts for childhood eczema
Treating your child's cold or fever
bucket with cleaning supplies in it
Cleaning and organising tips
adult man contemplating
When illness makes it hard to eat
woman holding stomach
Understand this common condition
cold sore
What you need to know