How does sertraline work in the brain?


Quick Answer

MedlinePlus explains that sertraline, sold under the brand name Zoloft, is an antidepressant that works by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain, which helps the brain maintain mental balance. Sertraline is classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. It is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Occasionally, it is used to treat headaches and sexual problems.

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Full Answer

Sertraline, or Zoloft, sometimes changes people's mental health in unexpected ways. MedlinePlus states that people taking sertraline may experience symptoms such as suicidal thoughts, new or worsening depression, agitation, panic attacks, difficulty sleeping, aggressive behavior, irritability, restlessness and frenzied abnormal excitement. Other serious side effects include blurred vision, seizures, fever, confusion, fast or irregular heartbeat, severe muscle stiffness, abnormal bleeding or bruising and hallucinating. MedlinePlus recommends reporting these symptoms to a doctor immediately.

Some people experience less serious side effects when taking sertraline, such as digestive problems, dry mouth, weight changes, drowsiness, dizziness, excessive tiredness, headache, nervousness, uncontrollable shaking, sore throat, excessive sweating and changes in sex drive, as well as pain, burning or tingling in the hands or feet. These side effects need to be reported to a doctor if they are persistent or severe, advises MedlinePlus.

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