Sertraline: what it is and what its effects are

Sertraline is a drug belonging to the family of antidepressants. Thus, It is mainly used for the treatment of depression. It is classified in the group of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which we will see in more detail throughout the article.

In addition to the antidepressant effects, also presents effective actions for the treatment of different clinical conditions such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder or phobia, among others.

On the other hand, mention that the laboratory responsible for its commercialization was the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which launched it in the year 1991.

Advantages of sertraline over other antidepressants

The differences are not very marked between the setralin and the other newer antidepressants. Most of the advantages offered by this drug are determined by the side effects it produces, which are less.

The evidence of the different investigations suggests that sertraline may work better than fluoxetine In some types of depression.

On the other hand, it has been shown that when using sertraline for episodes of panic and phobia, this drug manages to reduce the number of them and improve the quality of life of patients.

What is depression?

As the main indication of this medication is depression, we will focus on explaining what it is. In this sense, the Depression It is an emotional disorder that involves a constant feeling of sadness and a very marked loss of interest when carrying out activities.

Depression, therefore, affects:

  • Feelings.
  • Thoughts.
  • Behaviors

As for the origin of the disease, except in some cases where depression is associated with other diseases such as Parkinson's, The main cause of this disorder is an alteration of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system.

The neurotransmitter that has more involvement in the development of depression is serotonin.

Serotonin is considered by some researchers as the chemical responsible for maintaining the balance of our mood. Therefore, a serotonin deficit leads to depressive states.

However, there are also other neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine or dopamine that, by modifying their levels, they favor the appearance of this mood disorder.

However, It is usually the product of the interaction of different factors:

  • Biological: hormonal changes or alterations of the neurotransmitters mentioned.
  • Psychosocial: continuous stress from work, personal life, etc.
  • Personal.

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How does sertraline exert its effect on the body?

As we know, sertraline is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Further, It is highly selective with minimal effects on the reuptake of norepinephrine, unlike many tricyclic antidepressants.

In other words, serotonin, like other neurotransmitters, it is secreted by a neuron to bind with the membrane receptors of another Adjacent neuron and trigger an effect.

Then, it is released from this receptor and some molecules return to the neuron that previously secreted it by a reuptake process. It is in this process that sertraline exerts its effect, inhibiting it. Thus, serotonin is not recaptured and increases its concentration in the presynaptic space between one neuron and another.

Having more serotonin, it can rejoin membrane receptors of the neuron and trigger more effect.

Also, as we have seen, It has a low affinity for other types of biogenic amines receptors, such as norepinephrine. This fact would explain that it has fewer adverse effects than other serotonin reuptake inhibitor drugs.

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Adverse reactions

In general, the nature and incidence of the adverse reactions caused by sertraline in all its indications are similar, regardless of the patient's age.

The most frequent adverse effects are those that take place in the gastrointestinal tract, including any of the following:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea.
  • Anorexy.
  • Dyspepsia.
  • Others.


The main indication of sertraline is the treatment of depression. However, it may also be indicated for the treatment of other disorders such as panic attacks or OCD.

The doctor's instructions should always be followed and consult with him and / or with the pharmacist any doubt that arises about the disease or the prescribed treatment.