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.