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In the U.S.-
Sertraline (SER-tra-leen) is used to treat mental depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder.
Sertraline belongs to a group of medicines known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These medicines are thought to work by increasing the activity of the chemical serotonin in the brain.
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage forms:
Before Using This Medicine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For sertraline, the following should be considered:
Allergies- Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to sertraline. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, dyes, or latex. The dispenser dropper for sertraline oral concentrate contains dry natural rubber.
Pregnancy- One study looked at the babies of 147 women who took sertraline either at the beginning of pregnancy or through the entire pregnancy. This study found no harmful effects of sertraline on the babies. However, more study is needed to be sure that sertraline is safe to use during pregnancy. Before taking this medicine, make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or if you may become pregnant.
Breast-feeding- Sertraline passes into breast milk. No problems have been reported in nursing babies, but the long-term effects are not known.
Children- Sertraline has been tested in children 6 to 17 years of age with obsessive-compulsive disorder. In effective doses, this medicine has not been shown to cause different side effects or problems than it does in adults. However, sertraline can cause a decrease in appetite and children who take this medicine for a long time should have their growth and body weight measured by the doctor at regular visits.
Sertraline must be used with caution in children with depression. Studies have shown occurrences of children thinking about suicide or attempting suicide in clinical trials for this medicine. More study is needed to be sure sertraline is safe and effective in children.
Older adults- In studies done to date that have included elderly people, sertraline did not cause different side effects or problems in older people than it did in younger adults. However, this medicine may be removed from the body more slowly in older adults. An older adult may receive a lower dose of sertraline than a younger adult, especially when first starting treatment.
Other medicines- Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking sertraline, it is especially important that your health care professional know if you are taking any of the following:
Other medical problems- The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of sertraline. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Proper Use of This Medicine
Take this medicine only as directed by your doctor , to benefit your condition as much as possible. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered.
Sertraline may be taken with or without food on a full or empty stomach. If your doctor tells you to take it a certain way, follow your doctor's instructions.
If you are taking the oral concentrate, mix it with 4 ounces of water, ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, lemonade or orange juice. Take it right away after mixing.
You may have to take sertraline for 4 weeks or longer before you begin to feel better . Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits during this time. Also, if you are taking this medicine for depression, you may need to keep taking it for 6 months or longer to help prevent the return of the depression.
The dose of sertraline will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of sertraline. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
Also, the number of capsules or tablets that you take depends on the strength of the medicine and the medical problem for which you are taking sertraline.
Because sertraline may be given to different patients at different times of the day, you and your doctor should discuss what to do about any missed doses.
To store this medicine:
Precautions While Using This Medicine
It is important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits, to allow for changes in your dose and to help reduce any side effects.
Do not take sertraline with or within 14 days of taking an MAO inhibitor (furazolidone, phenelzine, procarbazine, selegiline, tranylcypromine). Do not take an MAO inhibitor within 14 days of taking sertraline . If you do, you may develop extremely high blood pressure or convulsions (seizures).
Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking sertraline.
This medicine may cause some people to become drowsy, to have trouble thinking, or to have problems with movement. Make sure you know how you react to sertraline before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert or well-coordinated .
Do not stop taking this medicine without first checking with your doctor . Your doctor may want you to reduce gradually the amount you are taking before stopping completely. This is to decrease the chance of having discontinuation symptoms such as agitation, anxiety, dizziness, feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings, headache, increased sweating, nausea, trembling or shaking, trouble in sleeping or walking, or unusual tiredness.
Side Effects of This Medicine
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention. One rare, but very serious, effect that may occur is the serotonin syndrome. This syndrome (group of symptoms) is more likely to occur shortly after an increase in sertraline dose.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:
After you stop taking sertraline, your body may need time to adjust. The length of time this takes depends on the amount of medicine you were using and how long you used it. During this period of time, check with your doctor if you notice any of the following side effects:
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.
Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although these uses are not included in product labeling, sertraline is used in certain patients with the following medical conditions:
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT