sertraline, Zoloft (cont.)
Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:
Sertraline increases the blood level of pimozide (Orap) by 40%. High levels of pimozide can affect electrical conduction in the heart and lead to sudden death. Therefore, patients should not receive treatment with both pimozide and sertraline.
Through unknown mechanisms, sertraline may increase the blood thinning action of warfarin (Coumadin). The effect of warfarin should be monitored when sertraline is started or stopped.
PREGNANCY: Use of sertraline during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy may lead to adverse effects in the newborn.
NURSING MOTHERS: Use of sertraline by nursing mothers has not been adequately evaluated.
SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effects of sertraline are sleepiness, nervousness, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, tremor, skin rash, upset stomach, loss of appetite, headache, diarrhea, abnormal ejaculation, dry mouth and weight loss. Important side effects are irregular heartbeats, allergic reactions and activation of mania in patients with bipolar disorder.
If sertraline is discontinued abruptly, some patients experience symptoms such as abdominal cramps, flu-like symptoms, fatigue and memory impairment. Although this reaction is not well established, it is reasonable to gradually reduce the dose of sertraline when therapy is discontinued.
Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in short-term studies in children and adolescents with depression and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of sertraline or any other antidepressant in a child or adolescent must balance this risk with the clinical need for the antidepressant. Patients who are started on therapy should be closely observed for clinical worsening, suicidal thoughts, or unusual changes in behavior.
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
Last Editorial Review: 6/7/2013
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