Sertraline is an antidepressant that’s commonly used in the treatment of mentally ill patients. In the year 2007, the drug got the 12th highest spot in the list of America’s most prescribed medicines. As part of the classification of medications known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, sertraline works to block the reuptake of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that functions to regulate one’s moods and feelings. This in turn will increase the levels of the chemical being released and transmitted to a person’s brain and relieve the symptoms of certain psychiatric disorders like panic disorder, major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social anxiety disorder. The drug may also be used for conditions like body dysmorphic disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. It has also been proven of some use in the management of eating disorders, premature ejaculation, and generalized anxiety disorder.
Similar to most drugs in the market, sertraline has a few side effects that one must be aware of. Although one can’t predict accurately which effects will develop in a particular patient, there are some that are reported more frequently than others. Nevertheless, it is always good to know beforehand what unwarranted effects may come with Sertraline. Here they are:
Gastrointestinal Side Effects
Most commonly, the gastrointestinal system is the part of the body that develops side effects to medications in general. It has been found that nausea (the urge to vomit) and diarrhea (loose, watery stools) affect over 10% of patients who are taking the drug. Individuals who are on sertraline therapy may also experience episodes of dry mouth, gas, and stomach cramps. A few have reported a drop in their appetite, leading to some weight loss, but it is also worthy to note that some have gained a few or more pounds while they were taking sertraline. Some have also reported experiencing infrequent or incomplete bowel movements.
Some people may exhibit signs of an allergic reaction to the drug. These may include one or more of the following: fever, swelling of the tongue, lips, throat, or entire face, troubled breathing, development of a rash, eruption of hives (red, raised, round bumps), and itchiness. Once you experience these, you should seek immediate medical help.
Mental and Emotional Changes
Changes in the mental condition of a person taking sertraline may also be expected. A patient may have drowsiness, hallucinations, difficulty concentrating, loss of memory, thoughts of suicide, paranoia, and other abnormalities in thoughts and dreams. Emotional side effects may include episodes of rapid shifts in one’s mood, experience of an “unreal” feeling (depersonalization), exacerbated depression, and aggressiveness.
Changes in Sexual Function
A number of people have reported some changes in their sexual functions while on sertraline therapy. Drops in libido, impotence, inability to achieve an orgasm, delayed ejaculation, and other sexual problems are some of the side effects sertraline may have on a person’s sexual activities.
Other Side Effects
Other side effects of sertraline therapy may include epistaxis (nosebleed), tremors, excessive sweating, restlessness, eyesight problems, blurring of vision, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, extrapyramidal reactions, hepatitis, tenderness of the breasts, overactive reflexes, rapid and irregular heartbeats, shallow breathing, and scores of other irregularities.
Although there are numerous side effects that could possibly develop in a person undergoing sertraline therapy, it doesn’t follow that everyone will develop these or that all of these will occur. If you notice any irregularities and abnormalities in the way you feel, think, and act, then a visit to the doctor may be required.