Can Sertraline cause jaw clenching?

In this article, we will discuss jaw clenching associated with Sertraline. We will also discuss some research studies and some treatment strategies used in clinical settings to help people with this side effect. 

Can Sertraline cause jaw clenching?

Yes, Sertraline can cause jaw clenching or teeth grinding in some individuals. It is one of the reported and listed side effects associated with this selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). However, it is considered a rare side effect (1,2). 

Jaw clenching may also be caused by other SSRIs, including Citalopram, Fluoxetine, Paroxetine, etc. However, not everyone taking these medications will experience these side effects and some patient-specific factors may make some people more vulnerable to it. 

What does research suggest?

Several research studies have linked Sertraline with jaw clenching/teeth grinding (bruxism). 

One case study included a patient who experienced jaw problems and teeth grinding (bruxism) while taking sertraline, and they weren’t using any other medications known to affect the brain’s dopaminergic system (3). 

The exact reasons why SSRIs like sertraline can lead to bruxism and jaw issues aren’t entirely clear. However, recent research suggests that these drugs might impact the brain’s dopamine system (3). 

It’s believed that SSRIs might cause bruxism by affecting the balance of chemicals in certain brain regions, which can result in jaw clenching and teeth grinding (3). 

Another research study indicated that antidepressants like fluoxetine, sertraline, and venlafaxine are most often linked to bruxism (4). The symptoms may start about 3-4 weeks after starting the medication and might go away within 3-4 weeks after stopping the drug. 

What to do if Sertraline causes jaw clenching?

If you’re experiencing jaw clenching while taking Sertraline, it’s essential to talk to your doctor about it. Some doctors may initially try dose reduction, which does help in some cases. 

However, Sertraline-induced jaw clenching might persist in some cases which can lead to discontinuation of the medication or adding another treatment to alleviate this side effect. 

It’s important to note that medications used to manage this side effect are prescribed carefully by healthcare providers, so making changes to your treatment plan on your own is not recommended.

What treatment strategies are used for Sertraline-induced jaw clenching in clinical settings?

There are some prescription medications used to manage Sertraline-induced jaw clenching. One common solution is to add Buspirone to the patient’s current treatment plan (4). 

Buspirone may help by partially activating certain receptors in the brain. This suggests that adding 5-10 mg of Buspirone, up to 3 times a day, can be a good first step in relieving bruxism caused by antidepressants (4). 

If that’s not an option, reducing the antidepressant dose or stopping it altogether might help. In less severe cases, patients can simply be monitored to see if the bruxism goes away on its own.

In some patients, bruxism can be managed by Gabapentin. However, Gabapentin can not be prescribed to every individual and it does come with side effects of its own (3).

Some research studies have indicated that atypical antipsychotics like Quetiapine can also help with bruxism (5). Quetiapine, a medication often added to SSRIs for treating depression, has properties that can help with bruxism because it blocks certain receptors. 

In one clinical study, five patients who experienced bruxism due to SSRIs were given low-dose Quetiapine (25 to 50 mg daily), and they reported that the bruxism stopped after a few days (5). This suggests that Quetiapine can help manage bruxism and jaw problems caused by SSRIs. 

However, it’s important to note that the risk of extrapyramidal symptoms (EPSs) can increase when newer antipsychotic medications are added to a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). (3)


In this article, we have discussed jaw clenching associated with Sertraline. We have also discussed some research studies and treatment strategies that are used for Sertraline-induced jaw clenching in clinical settings.

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION. ZOLOFT (sertraline hydrochloride) tablets, for oral use. Available from:


National Library of Medicine. Sertraline: MedlinePlus Drug Information [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. National Library of Medicine. Available from:


Uvais NA, Sreeraj VS, Sathish Kumar SV. Sertraline induced mandibular dystonia and bruxism. J Family Med Prim Care. 2016 Oct-Dec;5(4):882-884. doi: 10.4103/2249-4863.201168. PMID: 28349014; PMCID: PMC5353837. Available from:


Garrett AR, Hawley JS. SSRI-associated bruxism: A systematic review of published case reports. Neurol Clin Pract. 2018 Apr;8(2):135-141. doi: 10.1212/CPJ.0000000000000433. PMID: 29708207; PMCID: PMC5914744. Available from:


Zandifar A, Mohammadi MR, Badrfam R. Low-Dose Quetiapine in the Treatment of SSRI-Induced Bruxism and Mandibular Dystonia: Case Series. Iran J Psychiatry. 2018 Jul;13(3):227-229. PMID: 30319707; PMCID: PMC6178332. Available from:

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