sertraline, Zoloft

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GENERIC NAME: sertraline

BRAND NAME: Zoloft

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Sertraline belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Other drugs in this class are Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine), Celexa (citalopram) and Luvox (fluvoxamine). Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (a chemical messenger) produced by nerve cells in the brain that is used by the nerves to communicate with one another. A nerve releases the serotonin it produces into the space surrounding it. The serotonin either travels across the space and attaches to receptors on the surface of nearby nerves or it attaches to receptors on the surface of the nerve that produced it, to be taken up by the nerve and released again (a process referred to as re-uptake). A balance is reached for serotonin between attachment to the nearby nerves and reuptake. Selective serotonin inhibitors block the reuptake of serotonin and therefore change the level of serotonin in the brain.

It is believed that some illnesses such as depression are caused by disturbances in the balance between serotonin and other neurotransmitters. The leading theory is that drugs such as sertraline restore the chemical balance among neurotransmitters in the brain. The FDA approved sertraline in December 1991.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/7/2013



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