Can you switch from Sertraline to Fluoxetine?

In this article, we will discuss switching from Sertraline to Fluoxetine – both of which are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). We will discuss what reasons can lead to Sertraline discontinuation and what one should expect when switching to Fluoxetine.

Can you switch from Sertraline to Fluoxetine?

Yes, you can switch from Sertraline to Fluoxetine if your healthcare believes that Fluoxetine is a better choice of antidepressant for you. It’s a common practice to switch antidepressants, as determining the best antidepressant can be a trial-and-error process. 

It’s not uncommon for people to try multiple antidepressants before they find the treatment strategy that works out for the best in their case. Some doctors may prefer switching from Sertraline to Escitalopram – a lighter SSRI. However, antidepressant switching should not be done without a doctor’s supervision.

What is the best way to switch from Sertraline to Fluoxetine?

The best way to switch from Sertraline to Fluoxetine depends on various factors unique to your health and situation, and this decision should be made by your doctor. 

Typically, there are two common strategies for transitioning between these medications, and your doctor will determine which one is most suitable for you (1).

The first approach involves a direct switch from Sertraline to Fluoxetine, meaning you would stop taking Sertraline and start Fluoxetine without a tapering period (1). Since both medications belong to the same class of antidepressants, some doctors find this approach appropriate in certain cases.

The second strategy is known as a cross-taper, where one antidepressant (in this case, Sertraline) is gradually tapered off while simultaneously starting the other one (Fluoxetine) at the lowest effective dose (1,2).

This method is chosen based on individual factors and is often preferred to minimise potential withdrawal effects and ensure a smooth transition. 

Ultimately, the decision between these strategies should be made by your doctor, who will consider your specific medical history, current symptoms, and individual needs. You should not make any changes to your prescription on your own.

What reasons can lead to Sertraline discontinuation?

Various reasons can lead to the discontinuation of Sertraline and not everyone responds well to this medication. People have unique physiological differences, and what works for one may not have the same effect for another. 

Some individuals may not experience the desired improvements in their symptoms, which can lead to discontinuation. 

Additionally, Sertraline, like any medication, can cause side effects. While many people tolerate it well, some individuals may experience side effects that become too uncomfortable or unbearable.

The common side effects associated with Sertraline include (3,4):

When the side effects outweigh the potential benefits, individuals may opt to switch to an alternative medication or explore different treatment options. Ultimately, the decision to discontinue Sertraline should be made in consultation with a healthcare professional.

What to expect when switching from Sertraline to Fluoxetine?

When you switch from Sertraline to Fluoxetine, it’s important to remember that it’s not a magical process, and the new antidepressant won’t start working immediately. 

Your body needs some time to adjust to the change, and it may take a while for the new medication to make positive changes in your symptoms. Just like Sertraline, Fluoxetine can also cause side effects because they work similarly (5).

However, these side effects typically start to improve with time as your body gets used to the medication. It’s essential to be patient during this transition and not give up if you initially experience some discomfort. 

If anything about the switch concerns you or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your doctor. They can provide guidance and monitor your progress to ensure you’re on the right track toward managing your symptoms effectively.


In this article, we have discussed switching from Sertraline to Fluoxetine. We have also discussed the best way to do it and what one should expect when switching from one antidepressant to another.

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Keks N, Hope J, Keogh S. Switching and stopping antidepressants. Aust Prescr. 2016 Jun;39(3):76-83. doi: 10.18773/austprescr.2016.039. Epub 2016 Jun 1. PMID: 27346915; PMCID: PMC4919171. Available from:


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


Singh HK, Saadabadi A. Sertraline. 2023 Feb 13. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 31613469. Available from:


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