What is the chemical composition of Zoloft

SertralineDrug groupsAntidepressantsSSRISertraline is an antidepressant agent from the group of SSRIs for the treatment of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder. The effects are based on the inhibition of the reuptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the presynaptic nerve cells. Due to its long half-life, the drug only needs to be taken once a day. The maximum effect is reached after two to four weeks. Sertraline is metabolized by CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 and has drug-drug interaction potential. The most common possible adverse effects include insomnia, headache, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, dry mouth, sexual dysfunction in men, and fatigue.

synonymous: Sertralinum, Sertralini hydrochloridumPhEur, Sertraline hydrochloride


Sertraline is available in the form of film-coated tablets and as an oral concentrate (Zoloft®, generics). It was first released in the US in 1991 and became a blockbuster. It was approved in Switzerland in 1993.

Structure and properties

Sertraline (C.17H17Cl2N, Mr = 306.2 g / mol) is present in medicinal products as sertraline hydrochloride, a white, crystalline powder that is sparingly soluble in water. It is a naphthalenamine derivative.


Sertraline (ATC N06AB06) has antidepressant properties. The effects are based on the selective reuptake of serotonin in the presynaptic nerve cells. This increases the concentration of serotonin in the synaptic cleft.

Sertraline also has an influence on dopamine reuptake (see also dasotraline). The maximum effects usually occur within two to four weeks. Sertraline has a long half-life between 22 to 36 hours.

Mechanism of action of the reuptake inhibitors, click to enlarge. Illustration © PharmaWiki

  • depressions
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Social phobia
  • PMDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, e.g. USA)

According to the specialist information. The dose is set individually. The drug is taken once a day in the morning or in the evening due to the long half-life. The intake is independent of meals. Withdrawal should take place gradually in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms.


The complete precautionary measures can be found in the product information sheet.


Sertraline has a high potential for interaction. It is metabolized by CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 and is a weak inhibitor of these isoenzymes. Sertalin undergoes first-pass metabolism in the liver. The main metabolite N-Desmethylsertraline is much less active than the parent substance.

unwanted effects

The most common possible adverse effects include insomnia, headache, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, thin stools, dry mouth, sexual dysfunction in men, and fatigue.

Sertraline can cause serotonin syndrome when combined with serotonergic drugs. It can increase the QT interval and increase the risk of suicide.

see also

SSRI, dasotraline

  • Pharmaceutical product information (CH, USA)
  • Doogan D.P., Caillard V. Sertraline: a new antidepressant. J Clin Psychiatry, 1988, 49 Suppl, 46-51 Pubmed
  • European Pharmacopoeia PhEur
  • Khouzam H.R., Emes R., Gill T., Raroque R. The antidepressant sertraline: a review of its uses in a range of psychiatric and medical conditions. Compr Ther, 2003, 29 (1), 47-53 Pubmed
  • Murdoch D., McTavish D. Sertraline. A review of its pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties, and therapeutic potential in depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Drugs, 1992, 44 (4), 604-24 Pubmed
  • Shelton R.C. The role of sertraline in the management of depression. Clin Ther, 1994, 16 (5), 768-82 Pubmed

Conflicts of Interest: None / Independent. The author has no relationships with the manufacturers and is not involved in the sale of the products mentioned.

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