Does Sertraline contain Penicillin? (3 basic differences)

In this article, we will answer the query “Does Sertraline contain Penicillin?” Further, we will talk about the mechanism of action of both medications, their uses, potential drug interactions, common side effects, and the possibility of taking them in combination. 

Does Sertraline contain Penicillin? 

No, Sertraline does not contain Penicillin. Both Sertraline and Penicillin are completely different medications used for different conditions.

Sertraline is an antidepressant used to treat mood disorders, and Penicillin is a beta-lactam antibiotic used to fight against various kinds of bacteria, specifically gram-positive bacteria. 

How do Sertraline and Penicillin differ from each other?

The differences between Sertraline and Penicillin have been discussed in detail as follows:

Mechanism of action

Sertraline is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), it works by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin (a chemical neurotransmitter) in the brain cells. Due to this mechanism, serotonin becomes available for longer periods in the brain and is responsible for enhancing mood(1). 

However, Penicillin is an antibiotic that can harm the walls of bacteria. Bacteria are made up of a strong wall around them to protect them. Penicillin stops this wall from getting stronger, which makes it weak and it becomes unable to hold water. When water goes into the bacteria, it breaks down and dies(2). 


Sertraline (Zoloft) is approved by the FDA for use in the treatment of the following conditions: 

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
  • Panic disorder (PD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (1)

Penicillin is a commonly prescribed antibiotic that is very effective against infections caused by specific types of bacteria. It is used to treat the following:

  • Throat infections
  • Few urinary tract infections
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Skin infections
  • Ear infections
  • Meningitis (swelling of protective membranes which cover the brain and spinal cord) (3)

Some strains of bacteria become resistant to Penicillin, therefore a combination is prescribed by the doctor to treat infections caused by resistant bacteria. Penicillin is a prescription antibiotic and it is necessary to complete it’s course to avoid resistance. 

Common side effects 

While using Sertraline, some common side effects may occur. However, not everyone will experience these side effects. If any of these side effects become bothersome or worsen, please inform your doctor.

On the other hand, Penicillin also causes some common side effects, including:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Mouth sores (2)

Stomach-related issues are common with antibiotics like Penicillin, but they can be managed by taking the antibiotic with food. 

Drug interactions

While using Setraline, you should avoid the concomitant use of the following medicines as they may lead to serious adverse reactions(1).

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MOAI) antidepressants.
  • Pimozide, an antipsychotic drug.
  • Disulfiram, while using an oral solution of Sertraline. 

Certain medications are also contraindicated while using Penicillin:

  • Sulfonamides
  • Erythromycin
  • Chloramphenicol
  • Probenecid
  • Aspirin
  • Phenylbutazone
  • Indomethacin
  • Thiazides
  • Furosemide
  • Ethacrynic acid

Also, you should not use Penicillin if you have a history of serious allergic reactions to Penicillin or its derivatives or Stevens-Johnson syndrome(2). 

Can you take Sertraline and Penicillin together?

It may be safe to take Sertraline and Penicillin together, but only if prescribed by your doctor. There are no reported drug interactions as of yet.

According to research studies, Sertraline can also fight against bacteria and fungi, potentially making antibiotics more effective against bacteria that used to resist them. So, besides helping with depression, Sertraline might also be useful in fighting infections(5).

Your doctor may consider your current symptoms, family/medical history, and your response to each of these medications before prescribing this combination if necessary. Sertraline and Penicillin have the potential for drug interactions that may lead to serious adverse reactions.

Therefore, it is crucial to discuss this combination clearly with your doctor before opting for it. Strict monitoring should be done if using this combination. 


In this article, we have discussed that Sertraline does not contain Penicillin and that they are completely different medications with different mechanisms of action, indications, drug interactions, and side effects.

Sertraline is an antidepressant used to treat conditions related to mood disorders, while Penicillin is an antibiotic used to fight against infections. Your doctor may consider taking Sertraline and Penicillin together but only after a thorough examination and with a strict monitoring schedule. 


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