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Zoloft (sertraline): Mechanism, Clinical Trials, and Dosing

An overview of how sertraline works in depression, clinical study data, and general dosing tips

Video transcript

>> Hello and welcome to "VideoScript", presented by

Today in the second of three presentations, we continue reviewing sertraline, also known as Zoloft. Sertraline is a commonly used medication in the class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.

Sertraline is used to treat depression and a wide variety of other psychiatric conditions in adults. Published clinical guidelines recommend that SSRIs be used as first-line treatment for depression in adults.

Serotonin is a chemical messenger that helps to transmit signals from one part of the brain to another. It is theorized that a lack of serotonin in the brain may lead to depression.

SSRIs such as sertraline are thought to work in depression by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin so that more serotonin is available in the brain.

Several placebo-controlled and comparative clinical trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of sertraline. A 2010 review published in the Cochrane Database looked at comparative effectiveness and tolerability of sertraline with older and newer classes of antidepressants. It was found that sertraline was a strong candidate as an initial choice of antidepressant in patients with acute major depression. However, higher rates of diarrhea, a side effect of sertraline, were reported when compared to other antidepressants.

Sertraline is available in 20, 50 and 100 mg oral tablets and in a concentrated oral solution of 20 mg/mL that should be diluted prior to administration.

In general, sertraline is given in oral doses ranging from 25 to 200 mg per day, depending upon the indication.

It is important not to abruptly stop sertraline treatment.

And only stop sertraline treatment if directed to do so by your physician.

However, some patients can stop their medication. If your doctor determines that sertraline can be discontinued, it is best to gradually taper the dose over a week or two to help prevent side effects.

Thank you for joining us at for a brief review of sertraline. Please refer to our patient and professional information, drug interaction checker, and additional tools on

Patients with a concern about the use of sertraline should consult with their health care provider.

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