Home > Drugs A – Z > Sertraline (By mouth)

Sertraline (By mouth)

Treats depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. This medicine is an SSRI.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Sertraline is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social anxiety disorder (SAD). Sertraline belongs to a group of medicines known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It works by increasing the activity of a chemical called serotonin in the brain. This… Read more
Brand names include
Zoloft
Drug classes About this
Antidepressant, Central Nervous System Agent

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Sertraline versus other antidepressive agents for depression

Depression is the fourth leading cause of disease burden worldwide and is expected to show a rising trend over the next 20 years. Depression is associated with a marked personal, social and economic morbidity, loss of functioning and productivity, and creates significant demands on service providers in terms of workload. Although pharmacological and psychological interventions are both effective for major depression, antidepressant drugs remain the mainstay of treatment. During the last 20 years, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have progressively become the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. Sertraline, one of the first SSRIs introduced in the market, is a potent and specific inhibitor of serotonin uptake into the presynaptic terminal, with a modest activity as inhibitor of dopamine uptake. In the present review we assessed the evidence for the efficacy, acceptability and tolerability of sertraline in comparison with all other antidepressants in the acute‐phase treatment of major depression. Fifty‐nine randomised controlled trials (about 10,000 participants) were included in the review. The review showed evidence of differences in efficacy, acceptability and tolerability between sertraline and other antidepressants, with meta‐analyses highlighting a trend in favour of sertraline over other antidepressants, both in terms of efficacy and acceptability, in a homogeneous sample of clinical trials, using conservative statistical methods. The included studies did not report on all the outcomes that were pre‐specified in the protocol of this review. Outcomes of clear relevance to patients and clinicians, in particular, patients and their carers' attitudes to treatment, their ability to return to work and resume normal social functioning, were not reported in the included studies. Nevertheless, based on currently available evidence, results from this review suggest that sertraline might be a strong candidate as the initial choice of antidepressant in people with acute major depression.

Combined pharmacotherapy and psychological therapies for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a potentially debilitating anxiety disorder triggered by exposure to a traumatic experience such as an interpersonal event like physical or sexual assault, exposure to disaster or accidents, combat or witnessing a traumatic event. There are three main clusters of symptoms: firstly, those related to re‐experiencing the event; secondly, those related to avoidance and arousal; and thirdly, the distress and impairment caused by the first two symptom clusters.

Newer antidepressants for depression in children and adolescents

Depression is common in young people and can contribute to a variety of negative outcomes, such as poor academic functioning, difficulties in peer and family relationships, increases in substance use, and both attempted and completed suicide. This review contained 19 trials (with a total of 3353 participants) testing the effectiveness of newer generation antidepressants (these are antidepressants developed and used since tricyclic antidepressants were developed). These include the well‐known selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors that have an impact primarily on the brain chemical called serotonin, as well as several other newer classes of antidepressants now being used, which aim to target noradrenaline and dopamine as well as serotonin and include selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (NRIs), norepinephrine dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs), norepinephrine dopamine disinhibitors (NDDIs) and tetracyclic antidepressants (TeCAs)) for the treatment of depression in children and adolescents. Based on 14 of the trials (2490 participants in total), there was evidence that those treated with an antidepressant had lower depression severity scores than those on placebo, however, the size of this difference was small. Based on 17 trials (3229 participants in total), there was evidence of an increased risk (64%) of suicide‐related outcomes for those on antidepressants compared with those given placebo. Where rates of adverse events were reported, this was higher for those prescribed an antidepressant. There was no evidence that one particular type of newer generation antidepressant had a larger effect than the others when compared to placebo.

See all (202)

Summaries for consumers

Sertraline versus other antidepressive agents for depression

Depression is the fourth leading cause of disease burden worldwide and is expected to show a rising trend over the next 20 years. Depression is associated with a marked personal, social and economic morbidity, loss of functioning and productivity, and creates significant demands on service providers in terms of workload. Although pharmacological and psychological interventions are both effective for major depression, antidepressant drugs remain the mainstay of treatment. During the last 20 years, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have progressively become the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. Sertraline, one of the first SSRIs introduced in the market, is a potent and specific inhibitor of serotonin uptake into the presynaptic terminal, with a modest activity as inhibitor of dopamine uptake. In the present review we assessed the evidence for the efficacy, acceptability and tolerability of sertraline in comparison with all other antidepressants in the acute‐phase treatment of major depression. Fifty‐nine randomised controlled trials (about 10,000 participants) were included in the review. The review showed evidence of differences in efficacy, acceptability and tolerability between sertraline and other antidepressants, with meta‐analyses highlighting a trend in favour of sertraline over other antidepressants, both in terms of efficacy and acceptability, in a homogeneous sample of clinical trials, using conservative statistical methods. The included studies did not report on all the outcomes that were pre‐specified in the protocol of this review. Outcomes of clear relevance to patients and clinicians, in particular, patients and their carers' attitudes to treatment, their ability to return to work and resume normal social functioning, were not reported in the included studies. Nevertheless, based on currently available evidence, results from this review suggest that sertraline might be a strong candidate as the initial choice of antidepressant in people with acute major depression.

Combined pharmacotherapy and psychological therapies for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a potentially debilitating anxiety disorder triggered by exposure to a traumatic experience such as an interpersonal event like physical or sexual assault, exposure to disaster or accidents, combat or witnessing a traumatic event. There are three main clusters of symptoms: firstly, those related to re‐experiencing the event; secondly, those related to avoidance and arousal; and thirdly, the distress and impairment caused by the first two symptom clusters.

Newer antidepressants for depression in children and adolescents

Depression is common in young people and can contribute to a variety of negative outcomes, such as poor academic functioning, difficulties in peer and family relationships, increases in substance use, and both attempted and completed suicide. This review contained 19 trials (with a total of 3353 participants) testing the effectiveness of newer generation antidepressants (these are antidepressants developed and used since tricyclic antidepressants were developed). These include the well‐known selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors that have an impact primarily on the brain chemical called serotonin, as well as several other newer classes of antidepressants now being used, which aim to target noradrenaline and dopamine as well as serotonin and include selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (NRIs), norepinephrine dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs), norepinephrine dopamine disinhibitors (NDDIs) and tetracyclic antidepressants (TeCAs)) for the treatment of depression in children and adolescents. Based on 14 of the trials (2490 participants in total), there was evidence that those treated with an antidepressant had lower depression severity scores than those on placebo, however, the size of this difference was small. Based on 17 trials (3229 participants in total), there was evidence of an increased risk (64%) of suicide‐related outcomes for those on antidepressants compared with those given placebo. Where rates of adverse events were reported, this was higher for those prescribed an antidepressant. There was no evidence that one particular type of newer generation antidepressant had a larger effect than the others when compared to placebo.

See all (26)

PubMed Health Blog...

read all...