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Sertraline hydrochloride belongs to a class of antidepressant agents known as selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Despite distinct structural differences between compounds in this class, SSRIs possess similar pharmacological activity. As with other antidepressant agents, several weeks of therapy may be required before a clinical effect is seen. SSRIs are potent inhibitors of neuronal serotonin reuptake. They have little to no effect on norepinephrine or dopamine reuptake and do not antagonize α- or β-adrenergic, dopamine D<sub>2</sub> or histamine H<sub>1</sub> receptors. During acute use, SSRIs block serotonin reuptake and increase serotonin stimulation of somatodendritic 5-HT<sub>1A</sub> and terminal autoreceptors. Chronic use leads to desensitization of somatodendritic 5-HT<sub>1A</sub> and terminal autoreceptors. The overall clinical effect of increased mood and decreased anxiety is thought to be due to adaptive changes in neuronal function that leads to enhanced serotonergic neurotransmission. Side effects include dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, sexual dysfunction and headache (see Toxicity section below for a more detailed listing of side effects). Compared to other agents in this class, sertraline may cause greater diarrheal and male sexual dysfunction effects. Side effects generally occur within the first two weeks of therapy and are usually less severe and frequent than those observed with tricyclic antidepressants. Sertraline may be used to treat major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and social anxiety disorder (social phobia).
For the management of major depressive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, social phobia, premature ejaculation, and vascular headaches.
Sertraline, an antidepressant drug similar to citalopram, fluoxetine, and paroxetine, is of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) type. Sertraline has one active metabolite and, like the other SSRIs, have less sedative, anticholinergic, and cardiovascular effects than the tricyclic antidepressant drugs because it does not have clinically important anticholinergic, antihistamine, or adrenergic blocking activity.
Mechanism of action
The exact mechanism of action sertraline is not fully known, but the drug appears to selectively inhibit the reuptake of serotonin at the presynaptic membrane. This results in an increased synaptic concentration of serotonin in the CNS, which leads to numerous functional changes associated with enhanced serotonergic neurotransmission. It is suggested that these modifications are responsible for the antidepressant action observed during long term administration of antidepressants. It has also been hypothesized that obsessive-compulsive disorder is caused by the dysregulation of serotonin, as it is treated by sertraline, and the drug corrects this imbalance.
Route of administration
Central Nervous System Agents
Chemical Actions and Uses
Combined Inhibitors of CYP3A4 and P-glycoprotein
Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A2 Inhibitors
Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A2 Inhibitors (weak)
Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A2 Substrates
Cytochrome P-450 CYP2B6 Inhibitors
Cytochrome P-450 CYP2B6 Inhibitors (moderate)
Cytochrome P-450 CYP2B6 Substrates
Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C19 Inhibitors
Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C19 Inhibitors (moderate)
Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C19 Substrates
Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C9 Inhibitors
Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C9 Substrates
Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 Inhibitors
Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 Inhibitors (moderate)
Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 Substrates
Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A Inhibitors
Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A4 Substrates
Membrane Transport Modulators
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Neurotransmitter Uptake Inhibitors
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Polycyclic Hydrocarbons, Aromatic
QTc-Prolonging Agents (Indeterminate Risk and Risk Modifying)
Drug Info/Drug Targets: DrugBank 3.0: a comprehensive resource for 'omics' research on drugs. Knox C, Law V, Jewison
T, Liu P, Ly S, Frolkis A, Pon A, Banco K, Mak C, Neveu V, Djoumbou Y, Eisner R, Guo AC, Wishart DS.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Jan; 39 (Database issue):D1035-41. | PMID:21059682