Can Sertraline cause joint pain?

In this article, we will discuss joint pain associated with Sertraline use – a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). We will also discuss what research says about this side effect and what one should do in case it occurs.

Can Sertraline cause joint pain?

Sertraline may cause joint pain in some individuals. It is a listed side effect but is uncommon or rare. The incidence of this side effect is also not well-established as inconsistent cases of joint pain with Sertraline have been reported. 

This antidepressant may also cause muscle tension and pain in some people. However, in some cases, Sertraline might help with arthritis-induced joint pain. 

It is important to note that people can respond differently to Sertraline and they have different factors affecting their health – that may contribute to Sertraline-induced side effects. If you’re taking Sertraline and your joints hurt, please talk to your healthcare provider. 

What does research suggest? 

There is limited research on joint pain associated with Sertraline use. However, research studies have linked antidepressants to potential bone damage. 

One research review indicated that people exposed to serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) had a higher risk of developing low bone density (which includes osteoporosis or osteopenia) compared to those who didn’t take these drugs (3). 

This link remained even after accounting for other factors, suggesting that SRIs can independently increase the risk of osteoporosis. 

Recent users of SRIs had a 1.44 times higher risk of low bone density, and former users had a 1.07 times higher risk compared to those who didn’t use SRIs (3). 

This finding, based on a large study of almost 75,000 men and nearly 260,000 women, suggests that the use of SRIs may indeed be connected to a greater risk of bone loss. Given how commonly SRIs are used, this could have significant implications for clinical care (3). 

Some other recent studies indicate that older adults, both men and women, who take certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Sertraline are at risk of experiencing greater bone loss (4). 

In elderly men, SSRIs were linked to lower bone density, while in elderly women, they were associated with higher annual bone loss (4). 

In another study conducted in 2019, researchers used dental volumetric tomography to investigate bone density in men who had been taking antidepressants, specifically SSRIs, for a long time (5). 

The participants were divided into two groups: one without antidepressant use (control group) and the other taking antidepressants. 

The results showed that the group on antidepressants had lower bone density values, which suggests a risk of osteoporosis with long-term SSRI use in men (5). These research studies suggest that SSRIs, including Sertraline, can cause joint-related problems.

What to do if Sertraline causes joint pain?

If you’re experiencing joint pain while taking Sertraline, it’s important to discuss this with your healthcare provider. 

They can investigate if there are other factors contributing to the pain and might consider reducing your dosage, especially if you’re new to the medication or if your dose was recently increased. If you have any mineral deficiencies, your doctor may recommend supplements. 

However, it is important to make sure not to make any changes to your treatment plan on your own. If the joint pain persists, your doctor may decide to discontinue Sertraline as a possible solution. 

Your doctor’s guidance is essential in finding the best approach to manage joint pain while on this medication.


In this article, we have discussed joint pain associated with Sertraline use. We have also talked about some research studies related to this side effect and what you should do if this side effect occurs. 

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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:


Kang, S., Han, M., Park, C.I. et al. Use of serotonin reuptake inhibitors and risk of subsequent bone loss in a nationwide population-based cohort study. Sci Rep 11, 13461 (2021). Available from:


Oregon Health & Science University. “Antidepressants Linked To Bone Loss, Study Suggests.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 June 2007. Available from:


Agacayak KS, Guler R, Ilyasov B. Evaluation of the effect of long-term use of antidepressants in the SSRI group on bone density with dental volumetric tomography. Drug Des Devel Ther. 2019;13:3477-3484. Available from:

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