When is the best time to take sertraline (Zoloft)?

Typically, your doctor will recommend that you take your prescribed dose of sertraline once a day, either in the morning or evening. If sertraline makes you drowsy, your doctor may suggest that you take it at bedtime.

It’s important to be consistent when and how you take the medication. Read on for tips.

What is sertraline?

Sertraline is a prescription antidepressant sold under the brand name Zoloft. It’s in the class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs increase the activity of serotonin, a chemical in the brain. Serotonin is involved in regulating sleep, mood, memory, and learning.

Sertraline is used to treat various conditions, including:

  • Depression
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
  • Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

What are the side effects of sertraline?

You may experience side effects when taking sertraline. These include:

  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea and diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite or weight loss
  • Unusual drowsiness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nervousness
  • Decreased sexual ability or desire

Less common side effects include fever, racing heartbeat, nosebleeds, or sudden loss of consciousness.

Although many side effects may go away with time, if you experience side effects while taking sertraline, let your doctor know. They may suggest a dosage change, a change from sertraline to another medication, or an additional medication to address the side effect.

Tips for taking sertraline

  1. Don’t take sertraline with grapefruit. According to research, grapefruit increases the amount of sertraline in your blood. This can lead to unwanted side effects.
  2. Avoid drug interactions. Tell your doctor about any other medications you’re currently taking. Sertraline can interact with other drugs and cause serious health issues. Some drugs that may have negative interactions with Zoloft include anticoagulants, other antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, and amphetamines.
  3. Don’t expect immediate results. For most people, it takes 4 to 6 weeks to feel Zoloft’s full effects.
  4. Be ready for side effects. You might not experience any side effects, but if you do, discuss them with your doctor.
  5. Make sure your doctor knows about pre-existing conditions. They may not recommend Zoloft if you’re pregnant, planning on becoming pregnant, or breastfeeding. They also might make specific suggestions regarding your use of Zoloft if you have epilepsy, glaucoma, diabetes, or a heart condition.
  6. Take it with or without food. Either way works, but it’s best to establish a routine and follow it every time you take sertraline.
  7. Try not to miss a dose. If you do forget to take a dose, take the missed dose as soon as possible. However, if you’re getting close to the time for your next dose, wait and take your next dose at its scheduled time. Do not take 2 doses at the same time.
  8. Do not stop the medication abruptly. According to a 2019 study, 56% of people who attempt to stop using antidepressants experience withdrawal effects. With sertraline, withdrawal can begin 3 to 4 days after your last dose and last a few days, a week, or longer.


Your doctor will most likely recommend a once-a-day dosage of sertraline (Zoloft). You can take it either in the morning or evening, depending on your lifestyle and any side effects you experience. For example, if sertraline makes you drowsy, taking it at night might be your best choice.

It’s important that you establish a set time to take this medication every day and follow that schedule.