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Is There a Connection between Sertraline and Fatigue?

Sarah Kay Moll
Sarah Kay Moll

Sertraline, brand name Zoloft®, is a medication used mainly to treat depression. Sertraline and fatigue can be related, as excessive tiredness is one of the common side effects of this medication. Depression can also cause fatigue, which may improve with sertraline or other medications.

There is a connection between sertraline and fatigue because fatigue is a common side effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like sertraline, a class of medication that interacts with a neurotransmitter called serotonin. This brain chemical is involved in regulating mood, among other functions. SSRIs are typically prescribed to treat depression, but can be effective for other psychiatric disorders as well.

Sertraline may be prescribed to treat depression.
Sertraline may be prescribed to treat depression.

There are several side effects a person may experience when taking sertraline, but most of them are relatively minor. Someone taking this medication may experience gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, lack of appetite, and weight changes. Sertraline and fatigue are related, as a person may experience drowsiness or tiredness while taking this medication. People may also experience headaches, dizziness, nervousness, and sweating while on this medication.

Side effects of sertraline may include headache and dizziness.
Side effects of sertraline may include headache and dizziness.

Serious side effects of sertraline are relatively rare. This medication has been shown to occasionally cause suicidal thoughts or actions, especially when used in younger people, so it is important to monitor someone who is initially taking this medication. Experts are not sure how high this risk is, however, and the risks caused by untreated depression are usually higher.

Sertraline is also sold under the brand name Zoloft.
Sertraline is also sold under the brand name Zoloft.

Another way sertraline and fatigue are related is through depression, the disorder sertraline is most often used to treat. Depression is a serious mental illness where a person feels sad, hopeless, and overwhelmed more often than not for an extended period of time. Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of depression. Treatment with sertraline may actually help relieve some of the fatigue caused by depression.

Fatigue is a common side effect of taking SSRI's.
Fatigue is a common side effect of taking SSRI's.

Many people suffer from depression, and sertraline has been shown to be a very effective and relatively safe treatment for this disorder. It is typically used to treat people who are suffering from acute depression, but may be prescribed long term to help prevent relapses of the disorder. Most side effects of sertraline are relatively minor, so it is a good first choice of medication. There are many types of SSRIs, however, so if sertraline is not well-tolerated or effective, other medications are available.

Patients who take Zoloft® should not discontinue use without consulting a physician or mental health professional.
Patients who take Zoloft® should not discontinue use without consulting a physician or mental health professional.

Depression is not the only disorder sertraline is effective in treating. It may also be prescribed to help with anxiety disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or panic attacks. Sertraline and fatigue can be related when the medication is used to treat these disorders as well.

Does Zoloft Fatigue Go Away?

You might be wondering if the fatigue from Zoloft will ever go away. Different people have different experiences, so it’s hard to say for sure, but fatigue is most often reported in the first week or two of usage. During this time, your body is acclimating to the medication, so feelings of tiredness are far more likely.

For some users, though, the fatigue seems to be a permanent side effect of sertraline. The duration of fatigue may also be impacted the dose you are taking, too. Fatigue that occurs in conjunction with lower doses may eventually dissipate, but fatigue that results from a higher dosage may be more persistent.

Whether or not Zoloft fatigue will go away is thus dependent on many different factors. If the fatigue does not go away, a different medication may be a better option. Users should assess how long they are willing to tolerate the fatigue before they switch to a different medication — especially if it negatively affects their quality of life.

How Do I Stop Sertraline Tiredness?

If sertraline is helping your depression or anxiety but causing fatigue, it’s worthwhile to try and find a solution to your tiredness. Luckily, there are a few different strategies that may reduce the fatigue associated with sertraline. You can start by engaging in activities that are known to boost your energy level.

Some sertraline users report that they combat this side effect by making time for exercise. A quick jog or a session on the elliptical can boost the concentration of oxygen in your body while increasing the circulation of blood. Both of these phenomena have the effect of increasing energy levels, which can offset the feelings of fatigue that may accompany sertraline.

It could also help to adjust your routine so that you take your sertraline at night before you go to bed. This can make it less likely that you experience fatigue during the day. Check with your prescriber to see if taking it at night is acceptable.

Why Is Sertraline Making Me So Tired?

Sertraline makes people tired for a variety of reasons. For new users, the fatigue may simply be the body’s initial response, but for those who have used sertraline for a while, there may be another cause to blame. Many people experience fatigue as a symptom of depression, for example, so sertraline may simply be exacerbating a symptom that already occurred.

In other cases, tiredness may be a result of sertraline’s effect on your brain. SSRIs, including sertraline, interact with your brain’s neurotransmitters. These drugs are designed to improve users’ mood by increasing the production of serotonin and norepinephrine — which are responsible for emotional regulation — but it can have the same effect on other neurotransmitters, too.

Sertraline may increase the activity of acetylcholine or histamine, for example, which are both associated with sedation. This doesn’t happen for every user, but for those who do experience it, feelings of fatigue are more likely to persist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does sertraline cause fatigue?

Fatigue is a possible adverse effect of sertraline. Around one in ten sertraline users have experienced this, and it often shows up within the first few months of therapy. This weariness may last for weeks or even months in certain circumstances. Not everyone who takes sertraline will suffer this adverse effect. It is essential to discuss exhaustion with your doctor if you do feel it since there may be strategies to control it.

How long does the fatigue caused by sertraline typically last?

Sertraline-induced fatigue may last for varying amounts of time, depending on the individual. It might last a few weeks or months in certain circumstances. Sometimes it may go on for a little longer. It is crucial to discuss your weariness with your doctor if you encounter it while taking sertraline since there may be methods to control it.

Can fatigue be a symptom of a deeper medical issue?

It is true that exhaustion may be a sign of a health problem. If you are feeling fatigued, it is important to speak with your doctor since there may be an underlying issue that has to be addressed. Anemia, hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, diabetes, and depression are a few prevalent conditions that may contribute to weariness.

Are there any other negative effects of sertraline?

Together with tiredness, sertraline usage is often accompanied by the adverse effects of nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, headache, sleeplessness, and weight changes. The duration and severity of these side effects might range from a few weeks to many months. Speak with your doctor about any of these adverse effects if you encounter them.

Are there any strategies to reduce fatigue caused by sertraline?

There are various methods you might use to lessen sertraline-induced fatigue. They include eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and abstaining from alcohol and caffeine. If the exhaustion continues, you should also see your doctor about adjusting your dose or switching to a different drug.

Discussion Comments


I went to many doctors - most are completely ignorant about the exhaustion side effect. It wasn't until I went to a specialist outside of the U.S. that I learned that yes, sertraline can have a reverse effect over time, causing extreme physical and mental fatigue. I'm very slowly weaning myself off of Zoloft, because I'm tired of conking out and having to go into a deep sleep twice a day.

I was on it for years before I started having this effect, so it's not always true that it goes away over time. The reverse is often true. That said, every human is different, so what works for me might not work for you.


I have been on it for over two years and there are times when I can just sit down and falls asleep. I'm always fatigued even after a night's sleep. I was wondering if anyone has found a way to counteract this side effect. I need to be on Zoloft, but I'm tired of being tired. Maybe certain vitamins?


@simrin-- That hasn't been the case with me. I've been on sertraline for two years and I still have fatigue. This medication makes me sleepy, tired and indifferent. I get plenty of sleep at night but I still take a nap during the day. I don't have the energy to do anything and my social life is almost non-existent.

This is actually the major reason why I want to stop taking this medication. I have an appointment with my doctor next week and I'm going to ask him about changing to something different.


@feruze-- I also had a lot of fatigue in the beginning, but things did get better after a couple of months. I think it takes a while for our body to adjust to the medication, so be patient.

I can't say that I have a lot of energy, but that's part of depression and anxiety as well. But I certainly have more energy than I did when I first started taking sertraline. So I do think the side effect is temporary.


I started taking sertraline a couple of weeks ago and it has been making me very tired. Will it always be like this or will the fatigue go away with time?

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      By: kmiragaya
      Sertraline may be prescribed to treat depression.
    • Side effects of sertraline may include headache and dizziness.
      By: 9nong
      Side effects of sertraline may include headache and dizziness.
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      Sertraline is also sold under the brand name Zoloft.
    • Fatigue is a common side effect of taking SSRI's.
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      Fatigue is a common side effect of taking SSRI's.
    • Patients who take Zoloft® should not discontinue use without consulting a physician or mental health professional.
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      Patients who take Zoloft® should not discontinue use without consulting a physician or mental health professional.