Highlighting side effects, warnings, interactions, and more


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US brand name: Zoloft
Generic name: sertraline

Zoloft’s Potential Side Effects

Potential Side Effects All Crazy Meds Have

No matter which neurological and/or psychiatric drug you take, you’ll probably get one or more of these side effects. These will usually be gone, or at least will diminish to the point where you barely notice it most of the time, within a week or two.

  • Headache
  • Drowsiness / fatigue - even when taking stimulants in some circumstances.
  • Insomnia, instead of or alternating with the drowsiness.
  • Nausea
  • Assorted other minor GI complaints (constipation, diarrhea, etc.)
  • Generally feeling spacey / out of it
    • Which can all add up to the ever-helpful “flu-like symptoms” listed as an adverse event on the PI sheet of practically every medication on the planet used to treat almost any condition humans and other animals could have.1
  • All crazy meds can, and probably will affect your dreams as well. There is no way of telling if that will be good or bad, let alone if this side effect is permanent or temporary.
  • Any of the above side effects you see listed again below means they’re even more likely to happen and/or stick around longer and/or are worse than most other meds.

Typical Potential Side Effects

While Zoloft (sertraline) has the usual side effects for SSRIs, they aren’t as typical as most SSRIs:

  • headache
  • dry mouth
  • sweating
    • more so than any other SSRI
  • assorted sex problems
    • Typical, because it is an SSRI, but less likely and less bad than all the others.
  • insomnia
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
    • The various gastro-intestinal problems are often worse than with other SSRIs.
    • You’re also way more likely to have diarrhea than constipation, so Zoloft and IBS aren’t a good match.
  • Zoloft is the SSRI least likely to cause weight gain.

Most everything usually goes away within a couple of weeks.

I originally wrote that you were less likely to have GI problems with Zoloft than with other SSRIs. That’s what I get for getting too much evidence from the bipolar with our paradoxical reactions. Sorry.

Uncommon Potential Side Effects

  • Sweatiness, like really sweaty all the time.
  • Although getting a little sweaty isn’t all that odd for an SSRI, Zoloft is a very “nervous” drug, much more so than the others in this class. Zoloft (sertraline) is almost Wellbutrin-like in how it can sometimes make you sweaty, shaky and generally uncomfortable in your own skin.
    • Which I find hilariously ironic, as Zoloft is approved and fairly effective for panic disorder and social anxiety disorder, and used off-label for generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Making the symptoms worse
    • While making symptoms worse is a potential side effect of all drugs, from non-prescription meds you get at a grocery store to the most expensive chemotherapy on the planet, Zoloft (sertraline) has a fairly high rate (i.e. around 1–2%) of screwing you over with this one2. If any medication makes your symptoms worse, call your doctor immediately.

Freaky Rare Side Effects

Hmmm, I wonder if Michael Jackson used to take Zoloft…

Not all side effects have been listed here, just the most likely and most interesting. For all reported side effects, see Zoloft’s PI Sheet.

What You Really Need to be Careful About

While every antidepressant was slapped with a warning about suicidal thoughts and behavior during the height of anti-psychiatry hysteria, Zoloft is actually one you need to be especially careful with. Like a large number of the instances when that sort of thing happened, it was due to the person being bipolar. It doesn’t help that Zoloft is the only SSRI where you can actually kill yourself with a month’s supply of pills (assuming an especially high dosage of 150–200mg a day, which some people actually take).

Pregnancy Category

Zoloft’s Noted Drug-Drug, Drug-Food & Drug-Supplement Interactions

  • Grapefruit juice
  • Tegretol
  • Other SSRIs , triptins , Ultram (tramadol) , or any serotonergic agent . Zoloft does have a history of serotonin syndrome.
  • Zoloft oral concentrate (liquid) and ANTABUSE don’t mix.
    • You can drink the oral concentrate with water, ginger ale, lemon/lime soda, lemonade or orange juice only.
Check for Other Drug-Drug, Drug-Food & Drug-Supplement Interactions Zoloft may have at

Drugs.com’s drug-drug and drug-food interaction checker

It’s always a good idea to check for drug-drug interactions yourself. Just because most people in the crazy meds business know about really important interactions (e.g. MAOIs and a lot of stuff, warfarin and everything on the planet) doesn’t mean the person who prescribed your meds told you about them, or the pharmacist has all the meds you take at their fingertips like they’re supposed to. Or they have the time to do their jobs properly when not dealing with complete idiots or playing Angry Farmers on teh Faecesbooks.
Learn more about drug-everything interactions on our page of tips about taking crazy meds.

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1 As well as being an indication of half of said conditions.

2 Making the symptoms worse seems to be something meds that affect the sigma-1 receptors, like Luvox and Zoloft, are more likely to do than other meds.

Last modified on Wed, 04 May, 2016 at 18:02:23 by JerodPoorePage Author Date created Wednesday, 06 April 2011, at 14:28:00
“Zoloft (sertraline) Pharmacology” by Jerod Poore is copyright © 2011 Jerod Poore Published online 2011/04/06

Zoloft, and all other drug names on this page and used throughout the site, are the trademarks of someone else. Zoloft’s PI Sheet will probably have the name of the manufacturer and trademark owner (they’re not always the same company) at or near the very bottom. Or ask Google who the owner is. The way pharmaceutical companies buy each other and swap products like Monopoly™ real estate, the ownership of the trademark may have changed without my noticing. It may of changed hands by the time you finished reading this article.

Page design and explanatory material by Jerod Poore, copyright © 2003 - 2016. All rights reserved. See the full copyright notice for full copyright details.
Don’t automatically believe everything you read on teh Intergoogles. No warranty is expressed or implied in this information. Consult one or more doctors and/or pharmacists before taking, or changing how you take any neurological and/or psychiatric medication. Your mileage may vary. What happened to us won’t necessarily happen to you. For more details see the Crazymeds big-ass disclaimer.

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