Does Sertraline appear in a blood test? (+3 reasons why)

This article answers the question, “Does Sertraline appear in a blood test?”. We will also discuss the reasons for this test, some factors that influence Sertraline detection and whether can sertraline appear in drug tests.

Does Sertraline appear in a blood test?

Yes, Sertraline can appear in a blood test. The half-life of Sertraline is 26 hours, and it is detectable in the bloodstream for up to 5 days. A Sertraline blood test is conducted to measure the levels of both Sertraline and its primary metabolite, desmethylsertraline in blood. (1,2)

Sertraline can also be detected through saliva, urine and hair tests, but a blood test is considered more reliable. Interestingly, Sertraline can sometimes give false positive results in standard drug tests. (4)

Sertraline, commonly known by the brand name Zoloft, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor that works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. It is commonly prescribed to address various mental health conditions such as depression, OCD, mood and anxiety disorders. (3)

Why Sertraline blood test is performed?

The Sertraline blood test is conducted for several reasons. The most common reason is to assess the levels of Sertraline in the body to ensure the safety and efficacy of treatment.

While the exact therapeutic concentration range for Sertraline is not definitively established, it is generally proposed to fall between 10-150ng/ml. Concentrations below 10 ng/ml indicate reduced effectiveness, while concentrations above 150 ng/ml pose a potential risk of toxicity. (1)

By performing this blood test, healthcare professionals can determine whether a patient is adhering to their prescribed regimen, and if the medication is present within the therapeutic range.

This information helps in optimizing sertraline therapy. This also allows the healthcare team to keep a check on misuse or overuse of Sertraline in high-risk patients.

Can Sertaline show up on a drug test?

Sertraline typically does not appear on standard 5 or 10-panel drug tests because it is a prescription medicine, and antidepressants are not classified as drugs of abuse.

However, Sertraline can occasionally yield a false positive result due to cross-reactivity for; (4)

  • Benzodiazepine
  • Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSA)

To proactively prevent such situations, it is advisable to inform the testing technician or facility if you are taking Sertraline. Keep a record of your prescription to present in case of a false positive test.

Certain employers or institutions might include drug testing as a standard procedure during hiring or as an ongoing employment requirement.

In such situations, it may be necessary for you to openly communicate any prescription medications you are currently using, including Sertraline, before undergoing the testing process.

Factors that may influence Sertraline detection in blood

Several factors can influence the detection of Sertraline levels in blood. These factors may contribute to the false detection of Sertraline in drug tests.

  • Overdose: In the case of sertraline overdose, the concentration of the drug in the bloodstream can significantly increase, making it easier to detect in blood tests. (2)
  • Chronic use: People who regularly use Sertraline over an extended period may have consistently higher levels of medicines in their system
  • Age-related variations: Age can impact sertraline metabolism. Older individuals may exhibit elevated serum concentrations due to slow metabolism. (1)
  • Individual variations: Variations in how individuals metabolize Sertraline can affect its concentration in the bloodstream. Some people may metabolize the drug more quickly or slowly than others, impacting the time it remains detectable in blood tests.


In conclusion, Sertraline levels are detectable in blood tests. Such blood tests are ordered to ensure patient adherence to the prescribed dose and to prevent misuse of the drug. Sertraline can also show up in blood as a false positive for drug tests, although it does not happen often. Certain factors increase the chance of Sertraline detection, such as chronic use and old age.

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