Sertraline, which is sold under the trade names Zoloft® and Lustral®, is available in the form of capsular-shaped tablets in 25 mg, 50 mg, or 100 mg doses. The tablets may be light green, light blue, or light yellow depending on the dosage. In addition to tablets, sertraline is also available as a diluted oral solution. Sertraline hydrochloride is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) used to treat a variety of mental disorders. It can be taken with or without food.
In the United States, sertraline is available as a generic or under the brand name Zoloft®. The 25 mg Zoloft® tablets are scored on one side and have a light green film coating. Light blue sertraline tablets are 50 mg, while light yellow tablets are 100 mg.
Sertraline tablets are used to treat several serious mental health conditions. These include major depressive disorder; obsessive compulsive disorder, commonly known as OCD; panic disorder with or without agoraphobia; post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD; premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD, in adult females; and social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia. Sertraline is frequently contraindicated in adolescents or young children, particularly in the case of depressive disorders. In some cases, the use of antidepressant drugs for teenagers or children can result in an increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
Sertraline tablets in the form of Zoloft® have been shown to cause withdrawal symptoms in many individuals. These symptoms might include anxiety, mood changes, nausea, and shock-like symptoms in the brain. It is believed that gradually lowering the patient's dose of sertraline can result in fewer serious side effects.
Common side effects experienced by sertraline users can include drowsiness, insomnia, dry mouth, reduced appetite, sexual dysfunction, or headaches. Less commonly, some possible serious side effects are seizures, memory loss, or liver problems. Caution should be used in prescribing sertraline tablets to patients with liver disease, pregnant women, or nursing mothers.
A serious condition known as serotonin syndrome can result if sertraline is taken along with other medications that affect serotonin levels in the brain. Some of these medications include the herbal remedy St. John's wort, triptan medications that are sometimes prescribed for migraine headaches, lithium, and other medicines with similar neurotransmitter effects. Sertraline should never be used in conjunction with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or within 14 days of use of MAOIs.
Sertraline also has a known drug interaction with cimetidine (brand name Tagamet®), which can increase the user's risk of serious side effects. Doctors should carefully monitor the use of warfarin (Coumadin®) when sertraline is first used. Other potentially serious drug interactions include pimozide (Orap®), which can be fatal in combination with sertraline; ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with a blood thinning effect; and alcohol, which can intensify this medication's possible side effects.