Does Sertraline affect driving? (+3 management)

In this article, we will discuss the driving impairment caused by Sertraline. We will in particular discuss the effects of Sertraline on driving. We will also discover the management strategies of driving impairment in patients taking Sertraline.

Does Sertraline affect driving?

Yes, Sertraline can affect driving if it causes side effects such as drowsiness and sleepiness. These side effects can affect overall driving performance. Therefore, driving while taking Sertraline should be avoided based on your health condition.

Driving impairment is rather a rare side effect of Sertraline. If you are new on Sertraline then make sure to monitor your symptoms and do not immediately take the driving seat till the drug is in your system or if it’s making you drowsy.

How does Sertraline affect driving?

Sertraline may affect the driving ability of the driver by causing somnolence or sedation, which can result in psychomotor impairment, cognitive difficulties, and indecisiveness. All these factors affect a person’s ability to drive safely.

Sertraline which is an SSRI antidepressant works by blocking the reuptake of serotonin which increases the levels of serotonin in the brain. The effects in the CNS and brain chemistry cause side effects such as zoning out, drowsiness, and sleepiness which play a major role in driving impairment (1).

Most patients may adapt to these side effects if they are prescribed to take Sertraline in lower initial doses, which are later maintained at stable levels. Young patients can also easily adapt to these side effects without any hepatic dysfunction history (1).

Adapting to these factors indicates that the patient might not face difficulty in driving or operating machinery while being on sertraline. However, it is essential to monitor these side effects before taking the driving seat to avoid hazardous road traffic incidents (1).

Sertraline may cause you to zone out, especially in the early course of treatment. Due to this, you may be unable to focus on your surroundings which is extremely dangerous while driving.

Duration of taking SSRI antidepressant drugs i.e. Sertraline plays a significant role in bringing out an adverse driving experience in patients. These drugs generally have a minor effect on driving if taken for a shorter duration (2).

It is important to understand that Sertraline does not affect every person in the same manner therefore, side effects and ability to drive can vary from person to person.

Other side effects of Sertraline that can affect driving

We will look into some other side effects of taking Sertraline that affect the driving capability of patients (3):

  • Blurred vision – which is a rare side effect of Sertraline. However, if you are facing blurred vision, you should refrain from driving because it can cause severe outcomes.
  • Sertraline also causes disruptive coordination and motor difficulties which can lead to hazardous driving. Impaired coordination in patients taking Sertraline can cause driving impairment by affecting your motor skills.

Management of driving impairment caused by Sertraline

You should discuss your driving impairment with your doctor to ensure safe driving while being on Sertraline. Healthy discussions about the medication side effects may result in safe outcomes of using drugs.

Your doctor may reduce your dose to reduce the intensity of drowsiness or dizziness, to help your body adjust to the medication.

Sertraline is an SSRI antidepressant that takes time to adjust the dosage. Therefore, rapid conclusions should be avoided regarding taking Sertraline instead it is preferred to give time for your body to adapt to this medication (4).

Recommendations for driving on Sertraline

Taking alcohol while being on Sertraline should be strictly prohibited as it enhances drowsiness and sedation. Taking these two together can cause road accidents due to excessive sedation (4).

You can use some other antidepressants that improve your mood and are good for energy and motivation such as Effexor, Prozac, and Wellbutrin – which can be added to your regimen but with your doctor’s recommendation.

However, if you feel drowsy or sedated after taking Sertraline, look for alternative modes of transportation. Always seek medical advice from your doctor about medication associated with road safety incidents.


We have discussed the potential side effects of Sertraline that can impair driving in some patients. We have also looked into some management strategies that would help avoid hazardous road experiences while being on Sertraline.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



Sansone RA, Sansone LA. Driving on antidepressants: cruising for a crash? Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2009 Sep;6(9):13-6. PMID: 19855856; PMCID: PMC2766284.


Van der Sluiszen, N. N. J. J. M., Vermeeren, A., van Dijken, J. H., J.A.E. van de Loo, A., Veldstra, J. L., de Waard, D., … Ramaekers, J. G. (2020). Driving performance and neurocognitive skills of long‐term users of sedating antidepressants. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental.


AHFS Patient Medication Information [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc.; c2019. Protriptyline; [updated 2020 Jun 24; reviewed 2018 Jul 5; cited 2020 Jul 1]; [about 5 p.]. Available from:


de Gier JJ. are ssrIs safe for drIvers? What Is the evidence? PSYCHOTROPIC MEDICATIONS and TRAFFIC SAFETY. 2012:83.

Find a supportive therapist who can help with Depression.

Discover the convenience of BetterHelp, an online therapy platform connecting you with licensed and accredited therapists specialized in addressing issues such as depression, anxiety, relationships, and more. Complete the assessment and find your ideal therapist within just 48 hours.


AskYourPharm is user-supported. We may earn a commission if you sign up for BetterHelp’s services after clicking through from this site