Can sertraline be taken by children


This is how sertraline works


In the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system), the interaction of various messenger substances (neurotransmitters) ensures that you can react appropriately to certain situations (such as joy, excitement, etc.) For this purpose, the various messenger substances (such as serotonin and noradrenaline) are released from nerve cells as required and later absorbed and stored.

This balance of messenger substances is disturbed in people who suffer from a depressive illness. Symptoms such as depression, insomnia and anxiety appear, which make it difficult for those affected to actively participate in everyday life.

The active ingredient sertraline belongs to the group of "selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors" (SSRI): It inhibits the reuptake of serotonin in its storage cells. This increases the amount of free and thus active serotonin between the brain cells, which has a mood-enhancing, activating and anxiety-relieving effect.

Uptake, breakdown and excretion

The antidepressant is almost completely absorbed from the intestine and then metabolized via the liver. The effect usually occurs after a week of use, but it can take up to a month for the sertraline to fully develop.

When is sertraline used?

Sertraline is well suited for long-term therapies. The areas of application (indications) of sertraline include:

  • depressive illnesses
  • Obsessive-compulsive syndromes
  • Anxiety disorders

This is how sertraline is used

Sertraline is taken in the form of tablets or capsules once a day in the morning or in the evening with sufficient liquid (a large glass of water). The sertraline dosage is usually 50 milligrams per day. If necessary, the dose can be increased up to 200 milligrams per day. If you want to discontinue sertraline, this - like increasing the dose - must be done gradually over a period of several weeks.

At the beginning of therapy, sertraline mainly increases drive, while the mood-enhancing effect usually only sets in later. Therefore, people who have suicidal thoughts must also be given a calming drug at the beginning of therapy. This can be discontinued as soon as sertraline has a sufficient mood-enhancing effect.

What are the side effects of sertraline?

The most common sertraline side effects include gastrointestinal complaints (diarrhea, nausea), dizziness, tiredness, insomnia, headache, dry mouth and, in men, delayed ejaculation. They occur in more than ten percent of those treated. Frequently (i.e. in one to ten percent of patients) changes in taste, visual disturbances, increased sweating and hot flashes, forced yawning, vomiting, constipation, indigestion and ringing in the ears (tinnitus) can occur. In addition, sertraline can cause weight gain or loss and other undesirable effects.

What should be considered when taking sertraline?


The active ingredient sertraline must not be used at the same time as antidepressants from the group of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO inhibitors such as tranylcypromine, moclobemide or selegiline), as this can lead to an increase in serotonin concentration that is harmful to the brain. Signs of such poisoning (serotonin syndrome) are states of excitement, tremors, muscle rigidity, rise in temperature and clouding of consciousness.

Sertraline must also not be taken in the event of severe liver or kidney dysfunction, increased tendency to convulsively or acute poisoning with alcohol or medication (sleeping pills, painkillers, psychotropic drugs).


When administered at the same time, sertraline increases the concentration of tricyclic antidepressants, haloperidol (for psychoses), phenytoin and carbamazepine (for epilepsy), diazepam (for agitation and anxiety, epilepsy etc.) and lithium salts (for manic-depressive disorders). If no alternative therapy is available, the dose must be adjusted by the attending physician.

Experts recommend avoiding alcohol during treatment with sertraline.

pregnancy and breast feeding period

The active ingredient is one of the antidepressants of choice for women during pregnancy and breastfeeding. There is a lot of experience with its use in these patient groups. If depression requires treatment, therapy with sertraline should be continued unchanged. Before giving birth, discontinuation or a dose reduction should be considered with the patient, as this can largely prevent adjustment disorders in the newborn. Therapy should be restarted immediately after delivery.

Age restrictions

Children and adolescents who suffer from a depressive illness must not be treated with the active ingredient sertraline. As studies show, treatment at this age can lead to increased aggression, behavioral problems and suicidal ideation.

How to get medication with sertraline

The treatment of depressive illnesses belongs in the hands of an experienced doctor. That is why drugs with sertraline are only available in pharmacies with a prescription from a doctor.

How long has sertraline been known?

Sertraline was approved in Germany as early as 1997. It is therefore a well-tried antidepressant and is used as the drug of choice for depressive illnesses.

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