What Are The Side Effects Of Zoloft (Sertraline)?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses the possible side effects of Zoloft (sertraline).

Question

What are all the possible side effects of Zoloft?

Asked by kaedawg On Dec 28, 2017

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Dec 28, 2017

Zoloft (sertraline) is an antidepressant medication, classified as a SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor). There are a variety of well known side effects associated with Zoloft (sertraline) and with the SSRI class in general. Below, we list the most commonly reported side effects in those taking Zoloft.


It is important to note that side effects tend to be dose related, meaning that higher doses yield more side effects. Below, is the average occurrence of side effects in individuals.


Zoloft (sertraline) Side Effects


Side EffectSertraline (Estimated Incidence)
Nausea26%
Insomnia20%
Diarrhea14%
Dry Mouth12%
Fatigue12%
Drowsiness11%
Tremors9%
Heartburn8%
Sweating7%
Libido Decrease6%
Constipation6%
Sexual4-8%
Yawning~2%
Headache~2%


Zoloft (Sertraline) Side Effect Discussion

The side effect chart above isn't a complete list of side effects, but encompasses the most commonly reported ones. Below, we discuss some of the side effects in more detail and ones that are not referrenced in the chart.


Gastrointestinal

GI side effects are the most common in patients taking Zoloft, and all SSRI drugs for that matter. These side effects include nausea, heartburn, constipation and vomiting.  Generally, these side effects are most apparent when first starting the medication. They tend to subside after the first 2 weeks of therapy. It has been reported that Zoloft has a higher incidence of GI side effects versus other SSRI drugs.


Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual dysfunction can happen in both men and women. These side effects can include everything from libido decrease to erectile dysfunction. Sexual side effects can also include orgasm dysfunction in both sexes. Paxil (paroxetine) is generally associated with the highest incidence of sexual side effects.


Other Side Effects

Less common side effects include dermatological reactions (e.g. eczema and dry skin) and weight loss/gain. Zoloft specifically is associated with slight weight loss. Particularly in children, weight loss was reported in about 2% of patients. However, if you are having weight gain issues with Zoloft, Prozac (fluoxetine) is generally associated with the least chance of significant weight gain. In addition, the following side effects have been rarely reported:

  • Teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Agitation
  • QT prolongation (a type of arrhythmia)
  • Low sodium levels
  • Endocrine dysfunction (e.g. hypoglycemia)
  • Bone loss


As mentioned previously, many of the side effects of Zoloft tend to occur when therapy first starts and generally fade after two weeks of continuous dosing. If you are experiencing side effects, oftentimes tapering your dose (i.e. starting at a low dose and increasing slowly) can help minimize or negate negative side effects.

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of PharmacistAnswers.com. He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Brian.Staiger@PharmacistAnswers.com Office: 716-389-3076

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