Sertraline, originally discovered by Pfizer, is known as an antidepressant medicine, belonging to the class of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). It essentially inhibits the activity of a neurotransmitter which enables effective communication of the nerve cells amongst each other and maintains mental balance. This medicine has an effect on chemicals present in the brain that might become unbalanced and therefore, result in depression problems, panic disorders, and social anxiety problems, or symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorders.
In 1992, the FDA approved using Sertraline to treat adults.
Patients may experience suicidal thoughts when they initially begin to use Sertraline, particularly if they are lesser than twenty-four years old. Sertraline can be taken in both ways, either with food or without. One should take this medication at the same time every day and follow the directions given on the prescription label.
What is Sertraline used for?
Sertraline is primarily used to treat major depressive disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, panic disorders (sudden attacks of fear and worriedness), post-traumatic stress disorders (disturbing psychological symptoms that develop after a frightening experience), premenstrual dysphoric disorders (PMDD) and social anxiety disorders (extreme fear of interacting with others or performing in front of others that interferes with normal life) in both adults and children. It further helps in avoiding suicidal thoughts which trigger the occurrence of varying mental disorders.
Cognitive behavioural therapy in combination with Sertraline is a more effective treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder than using Sertraline alone.
Sertraline is also used sometimes to treat headaches and sexual problems. You must discuss with your doctor the possible risks of using this medication for your condition.
What are the common side effects of Sertraline?
You must immediately seek medical assistance in case you experience any signs of allergic reactions while taking Sertraline. These signs include skin rashes or hives, discomfort whilst breathing and face, tongue and throat swelling.
Also, you must inform your doctor if you are facing any new or any worsening symptoms such as changes felt in mood or behaviour, anxiety problems, panic attacks, experiencing trouble whilst sleeping, or feelings of impulsiveness, aggressiveness and hyper activeness, or if have thoughts regarding hurting your own self.
Common serious side effects include stiff muscles, overactive reflexes, experiencing high fever, rapid sweating, states of confusion, fast and irregular heartbeats, hallucinations, tremors, nausea, weakness, seizures, diarrhoea, appetite loss, feelings of unsteadiness, losing coordination, or headaches, trouble whilst concentrating, problems related with memory and shallow breathing.
Less serious side effects of taking Sertraline are outlined by drowsiness, feelings of tiredness, slight nausea, pains in the stomach, stomach upset, dry mouth, appetite changes, constipation, weight changes, insomnia, reduced sex drive and impotence.
When the use of this antidepressant is suddenly discontinued, people experience withdrawal syndromes. This includes includes dizziness, lethargy, paresthesia, nausea, vivid dreams, hallucinations, sweating, blurred vision, irritability, and lowered mood.
Musculoskeletal side effects may consist of possibilities of undergoing a hip fracture. Respiratory side effects include upper respiratory tract infections.
Care should be taken if the medicine is used with any medicines of the monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) class, as they elevate fluctuations occurring in the blood pressure, muscle rigidity and hyperthermia. Furthermore, it may cause a rise in the occurrence of depression and suicidal thoughts experienced by people who are younger than 25 years old and may result in irregular heartbeats. Therefore, medical experts recommend that using Sertraline should be decreased gradually.
What are the side effects of Sertraline on children?
You must refrain from giving Sertraline to anyone younger than 18 years old without the advice of your healthcare provider or doctor. Sertraline is approved by the FDA for children experiencing obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, it is not approved for treating depression in children.
In 2002, the FDA extended its approval for using Sertraline to treat obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD) experienced by children over six years old.
Some children, teenagers, and young adults (up to 24 years of age) who take Sertraline during clinical studies become suicidal (think about harming or killing themselves). Experts are unsure about how great this risk is and how much it should be considered in deciding whether a child or teenager should take Sertraline.
Sertraline may be used in children from 6 years old who are undergoing OCD but it is otherwise not recommended in children.
What are the side effects of Sertraline on men?
Men who take Sertraline experience delayed ejaculation as well as ejaculation difficulties. This implies that it can take longer than usual for some men to reach sexual climax, if at all, during sexual intercourse.
Genital anaesthesia, loss of or decreased response to sexual stimuli, and ejaculatory anhedonia are also possible side effects faced by men taking Sertraline.
What are the side effects of Sertraline on women?
Weight gain has been observed in some of the females who take Sertraline. Furthermore, women taking Sertraline experience difficulties achieving orgasm. Sexual arousal disorders, which include inadequate lubrication and swelling for women, are also observed as possible side-effect.
What are the side effects of Sertraline on pregnant women?
Withdrawal symptoms have been observed. These include symptoms of agitation and restlessness; feeding problems, continuous crying and insomnia.
Preganant women who take Sertraline late during their third trimester experience complications which require prolonged hospitalizations, tube feeding and respiratory support.
Furthermore, complications begin immediately once the delivery takes place. Clinical findings have reported experiencing respiratory distress, hyperreflexia, seizures, instability in temperature, difficulties whilst feeding, hypertonia, vomiting, hypotonia, jitteriness, continuous crying, hypoglycemia, and irritability.
Serious problems have occurred in newborn babies whose mothers take the medication during pregnancy. In pregnant women taking Sertraline, the drug is present in significant concentrations in fetal blood, and is associated with a higher rate of various birth defects.
Sertraline is secreted into breast milk. Side effects in the nursing infant are unlikely to occur in this case. However, it is recommended that essential care must be taken when prescribing this medication to nursing women.
What are the side effects of Sertraline on elderly?
Metabolic side effects such as Hyponatremia are experienced by elderly patients who use this medicine. A significant rise in serum cholesterol is also observed in the elderly who use Sertraline.
Sertraline might result in the amount of sodium present in the blood to decline; this leads to a condition known as Hyponatraemia. This can result in possible symptoms such as drowsiness and confusions, as well as muscle twitching or convulsions. The elderly may be especially prone to experiencing this effect.
If you develop any of these symptoms while taking Sertraline, you must consult your doctor immediately so that your blood sodium level can be checked if necessary.