Can Sertraline cause high cholesterol? (+5 Tips)
In this article we will answer the question, “Can sertraline cause high cholesterol?”. We will also discuss scientific evidence and risk factors associated with Sertraline-induced high cholesterol levels.
Can Sertraline cause high cholesterol?
Yes, Sertraline can cause high cholesterol levels in some people. High cholesterol levels are not typically listed as a side effect of Sertraline but numerous reports and research studies have suggested a potential link between Sertraline use and elevated cholesterol levels.
Sertraline is a commonly prescribed antidepressant used to treat depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and mood disorders. Sertraline is often required for long-term use and is generally considered safe. However high doses can have side effects in some people.
Is there any link between Sertraline and high cholesterol?
If you are taking Sertraline, you may be curious about its effects on your cholesterol levels. Multiple studies have explored this topic and found a potential link between Sertraline use and elevated cholesterol levels.
A clinical trial involving individuals with depression observed that Sertraline treatment was linked to higher triglyceride levels, especially in the 8th and 12th week of treatment. This effect was linked to modulation in insulin effect. (1)
Another study supported the same results. They observed people with anxiety and found that the Sertraline group experienced a significant rise in total cholesterol levels. (2)
Research on the UK population has shown a significant association between the use of antidepressants, including Sertralin, and elevated harmful cholesterol. (3)
An observational cohort study suggested that prolonged Sertraline use may negatively impact cardiovascular risk. It can increase LDL cholesterol levels, often referred to as “bad cholesterol”. Elevated LDL levels are a known risk factor for heart problems. (4)
Interestingly another study found that people having elevated cholesterol levels had reduced antidepressant effects when taking SSRIs, including Sertraline. (5)
These studies highlight the importance of monitoring cholesterol levels in individuals using antidepressants, especially SSRIs like Sertraline.
Who is more susceptible to Sertaline-induced high Cholesterol?
Sertraline may not increase cholesterol levels in everyone. However, some people are at more risk of this side effect, including:
- People with pre-existing cardiovascular risk factors such as strong family history, high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels, may have a higher likelihood of elevated cholesterol with Sertraline use. (1)
- Patients diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder may be at more risk of developing metabolic syndrome abnormalities including high cholesterol levels. (2)
- Long-term use of Sertraline has been associated with a potential adverse impact on cardiovascular health due to its tendency to increase LDL cholesterol. (5)
- People who already have elevated cholesterol levels may experience less therapeutic effect of Sertraline and high cholesterol levels as well. (5)
What to do if Sertraline impacts your cholesterol levels?
If you find that Sertraline is causing an increase in your cholesterol levels, there are several steps you can take with the guidance of your doctor.
- Monitor cholesterol levels: It is essential to have your cholesterol levels closely monitored especially if you have pre-existing cardiovascular risk factors. Regular monitoring will help assess the impact of Sertraline on your cholesterol levels.
- Adjust dosage: In some cases, your doctor may consider adjusting the dose of Sertraline. Sertraline is typically titrated and the dose is gradually increased. This should be done only under the guidance of your doctor.
- Consider medication alternatives: If Sertraline is significantly increasing your cholesterol levels, your doctor may suggest switching to a different antidepressant.
- Lipid-lowering medicines: Sometimes, your doctor might recommend lipid-lowering medicines such as statins to help manage high cholesterol levels.
- Consider lifestyle changes: Positive lifestyle changes can also be effective in managing cholesterol levels. Focus on maintaining a balanced, low-fat diet and engaging in regular physical activity to support overall well-being.
In conclusion, Sertraline can affect cholesterol levels in some people. Although high cholesterol levels are not a listed side effect of Sertraline, several research studies highlight this impact. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the potential connection between Sertraline and cholesterol levels.
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Kesim M, Tiryaki A, Kadioglu M, Muci E, Kalyoncu NI, Yaris E. The effects of sertraline on blood lipids, glucose, insulin and HBA1C levels: A prospective clinical trial on depressive patients. J Res Med Sci. 2011 Dec;16(12):1525-31. PMID: 22973359; PMCID: PMC3434892.
Beyazyüz M, Albayrak Y, Eğilmez OB, Albayrak N, Beyazyüz E. Relationship between SSRIs and Metabolic Syndrome Abnormalities in Patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Prospective Study. Psychiatry Investig. 2013 Jun;10(2):148-54. doi: 10.4306/pi.2013.10.2.148. Epub 2013 May 30. PMID: 23798963; PMCID: PMC3687049.
1. Richards-Belle A, Austin-Zimmerman I, Wang B, et al. Associations of antidepressants and antipsychotics with lipid parameters: Do CYP2C19/CYP2D6 genes play a role? A UK population-based study. Journal of Psychopharmacology. 2023;37(4):396-407. doi:10.1177/02698811231152748