Does Sertraline cause gastritis? (5 factors at play)

In this article, we will discuss whether Sertraline can cause gastritis. We will also discuss what other factors can contribute to gastritis and how one can mitigate gastrointestinal (GI) side effects associated with Sertraline.

Does Sertraline cause gastritis?

Sertraline is not commonly associated with gastritis. However, people are different and this antidepressant can affect people differently. Gastritis is a condition in which the lining of your stomach becomes inflamed or irritated. 

This can lead to symptoms like stomach pain, nausea, and indigestion (1). Sertraline is not directly connected to gastritis, but it can cause gastrointestinal side effects that may make you more susceptible to gastritis. 

One of the GI side effects that can do the most damage if it does not resolve with time is acid reflux (2). Persistent acid attacks on the soft tissues of your stomach can cause long-term damage. 

So, if you think Sertraline is putting you at a higher risk of gastritis or if you think you have this condition, please reach out to your healthcare provider.

What does research suggest? 

There is no research study directly pointing at Sertraline as a potential cause of gastritis. However, several research studies have indicated that Sertraline is capable of causing disturbing GI side effects. 

One research study indicated that Sertraline and Escitalopram are among the least-tolerated antidepressants when it comes to gastrointestinal side effects (3). 

Long-term use of these medications can damage your stomach and make you more sensitive to conditions like gastritis. Furthermore, Sertraline can also increase the risk of GI bleeding by causing persistent acid reflux (4). 

What factors can contribute to gastritis while taking Sertraline?

Some factors can contribute to gastritis while taking Sertraline, including:

  • Medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like Ibuprofen, can irritate the stomach lining, increasing the risk of gastritis when combined with Sertraline (5).
  • People with conditions like Helicobacter pylori infection, autoimmune diseases, or previous stomach surgeries may be more susceptible to gastritis when taking Sertraline.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking can irritate the stomach lining and worsen gastritis symptoms, especially when combined with Sertraline.
  • Spicy or highly acidic foods can aggravate gastritis. A diet high in these foods may increase the risk of gastritis when on Sertraline.
  • Chronic stress can lead to gastritis. Sertraline may help manage stress, but high stress levels in daily life can still contribute to gastritis.

What to do if you’re experiencing gastritis while taking Sertraline?

If you’re experiencing the symptoms associated with gastritis while taking Sertraline, you should reach out to your healthcare provider. Your doctor will help you determine the exact cause of gastritis and will guide you regarding the use of Sertraline. 

If Sertraline is causing persistent acid reflux, your doctor may reduce your dose or safely switch you to another antidepressant that is least likely to cause GI side effects. Just make sure you do not make any changes to your prescription without consulting your doctor first.  

How is gastritis managed in clinical settings?

Managing gastritis in clinical settings involves various approaches to relieve symptoms and promote healing. The most basic approach is the use of acid reducers to keep your stomach acid from causing more pain and discomfort. (1)

Common medications used to reduce stomach acidity include:

  • Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs). Examples include Omeprazole, Lansoprazole, etc.
  • Histamine-2 (H2) blockers. Examples include Cimetidine, Famotidine, etc.
  • Antacids. Common antacids include Tums and Maalox.

When inflammation is the root cause, anti-inflammatory drugs, such as corticosteroids, may be prescribed to alleviate symptoms. For cases linked to Helicobacter pylori infection, a combination of antibiotics and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) is often employed to eradicate the bacteria. 

Patients are also advised to steer clear of irritants like spicy foods, alcohol, and smoking, which can exacerbate gastritis symptoms. Dietary modifications, including a bland, low-acid diet may help reduce irritation to the stomach lining.

Additionally, doctors may recommend stress management techniques, like exercise, meditation, etc to keep stress at bay – as it can be a contributing factor to gastritis. 

Make sure you properly follow your doctor’s directions and take your medication as properly as you can. 


In this article, we have discussed the role of Sertraline in the development of gastritis. We have also discussed some treatment strategies to manage gastritis if it occurs and what medication can increase the risk of gastritis when taking Sertraline.


  1. Azer SA, Awosika AO, Akhondi H. Gastritis. 2023 Jul 19. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 31334970. 
  1. National Library of Medicine. Sertraline: MedlinePlus Drug Information [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. National Library of Medicine. Available from: 
  1. Oliva V, Lippi M, Paci R, Del Fabro L, Delvecchio G, Brambilla P, De Ronchi D, Fanelli G, Serretti A. Gastrointestinal side effects associated with antidepressant treatments in patients with major depressive disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2021 Jul 13;109:110266. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2021.110266. Epub 2021 Feb 5. PMID: 33549697. 
  1. Eslami Shahrbabki M, Eslami Shahrbabaki A. Sertraline-related bleeding tendency: could it be dose-dependent? Iran J Psychiatry Behav Sci. 2014 Fall;8(3):81-3. PMID: 25780379; PMCID: PMC4359729.,)%20bleeding%3B%20(iii)%20concomitantly ‘
  1. de Jong JC, van den Berg PB, Tobi H, de Jong-van den Berg LT. Combined use of SSRIs and NSAIDs increases the risk of gastrointestinal adverse effects. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2003 Jun;55(6):591-5. doi: 10.1046/j.0306-5251.2002.01770.x. PMID: 12814454; PMCID: PMC1884264. 

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