Sertraline hydrochloride (HCL) is a drug that is classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. The drug increases the action of serotonin, a brain chemical. It is available by prescription only and is used to treat depression, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Some doctors prescribe sertraline HCL to treat premature ejaculation. The drug is available in tablet, capsule and liquid solution form. Individuals taking this drug should be aware of its potential side effects.
Common Side Effects
The more common side effects of sertraline HCL that may go away after the body has adjusted to the medication include belching and sour stomach, heartburn, abdominal pain/gas, nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss, loose stools, sleepiness, trouble sleeping, trembling, dizziness, increased sweating and headache. These side effects are common, but alert your physician if you experience any of them.
Less Common Side Effects
The less common side effects of sertraline HCL use may also cease once your body has adapted to the medication, but these can be more serious. They include cloudy urine; bladder pain; increased urge to urinate; pain when urinating; constipation; increased appetite; vomiting; blurry vision and other vision changes; anxiety/nervousness; abnormal skin feelings such as itching, prickling, tingling, crawling and burning; tenderness around the cheekbones and eyes; flushed appearance and a runny or stuffy nose. Again, contact your physician immediately if you experience any of these.
Some sertraline HCL side effects require an immediate discontinuation of the drug. These include: failure to ejaculate, decreased sex drive, breast enlargement, breast tenderness, secretion of milk in females, aggressiveness, excitability that can manifest in an inability to sit still, talking fast and an increase in body movements, muscle spasms, nose bleeds, loss of bladder control, fast heartbeat, slow heartbeat, irregular heartbeat, fever, low blood sodium levels that can manifest in confusion, seizures, lack of energy, dry mouth and increased thirst, rash/hives, itching and loss of consciousness.
Side Effects of Discontinuation
Sertraline HCL medication should not be stopped abruptly without physician supervision. Typical side effects as it is clearing itself from the body include anxiety, abnormal dreaming, dizziness, increased sweating, headaches, abnormal skin sensations, agitation, trouble walking, trouble sleeping, failure to ejaculate, feeling electric shock sensations, feeling as if your surroundings are constantly moving, nausea, trembling and unusual sleepiness.
Among the symptoms of sertraline HCL overdose are large pupils; fast, slow or irregular heartbeat; chest pain; shortness of breath; out of control actions; overactive reflexes; shakiness; decreased responsiveness and awareness; confusion; anxiety; agitation; nervousness; mood changes; blurry vision; bloating; dark urine; chills; dizziness; fainting; fever; hallucinations; indigestion; headache; pounding in the ears; abdominal pain; diarrhoea; nausea; loss of appetite; vomiting; increased sweating; unusual weakness or tiredness; yellow skin or eyes; loss of consciousness; convulsions and coma. Immediate emergency medical treatment is advised with these symptoms.