Does Sertraline contain Sorbitol? (3+ differences)

In this article, we will discuss whether Sertraline contains Sorbitol. We will also discuss key differences to help you understand the basic pharmacological use of these medications.

Does Sertraline contain Sorbitol?

No, Sertraline does not contain Sorbitol. Sertraline and Sorbitol are different medications used for different therapeutic purposes.

Sertraline is an antidepressant used to treat mental health conditions. Sorbitol, on the other hand, is a sugar alcohol used as a sweetening agent and also as an osmotic laxative.

However, it may be possible that some Sertraline formulations, such as generic versions and combination medications, contain Sorbitol as an inactive ingredient or a part of the tablet’s coating as Sorbitol is also used as a sweetening, stabilizing and thickening agent in pharmaceutical preparations.

What are the key differences between Sertraline and Sorbitol?

Key differences between Sertraline and Sorbitol are as follows:

Mechanism of action

Sertraline is the most commonly prescribed antidepressant. It is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) which works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin, an excitatory neurotransmitter, in the brain cells. As a result, serotonin becomes available for longer periods in the brain, which helps improve mood and relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression (1).

Sorbitol, on the other hand, is used as a sugar substitute in various food products. As a sweetener, it provides sweetness without the same caloric content as regular sugar (sucrose). It is slowly absorbed in the small intestine, which can help control blood sugar levels (2).

As a stabilizing and thickening agent, its mechanism is to improve the texture and consistency of various formulations, making them easier to administer or apply (2).

As a laxative, its mechanism of action involves drawing water into the large intestine, stool softening stool and promoting bowel movements. This happens because Sorbitol is poorly absorbed by the body, and it remains in the intestine, attracting water through osmosis. In higher doses, it may cause diarrhoea (3).

Therapeutic uses

Sertraline is used in the treatment of the following conditions (1):

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Sorbitol, on the other hand, is used as an artificial sweetener, pharmaceutical sweetener, stabilizing and thickening agent in pharmaceuticals. It is also used as an osmotic laxative.

Side effects

Common side effects of Sertraline include (4):

Sorbitol-induced side effects include (5):

  • Gastrointestinal upset (gas, stomachache, bloating)
  • Diarrhoea

Absence of Sorbitol in Sertraline

The active ingredient in Sertraline is Sertraline hydrochloride. It is typically formulated in capsule and tablet form with various inactive ingredients such as microcrystalline cellulose, calcium phosphate, magnesium stearate and others. Sorbitol is not a common ingredient in the formulation of Sertraline-based medications.

However, it is important to note that different manufacturers may use slightly different inactive ingredients in their formulations, so it’s possible that some specific Sertraline products may contain trace amounts of Sorbitol if it is used as a part of their formulation process. If you have concerns about ingredients in your specific medication, reach out to your healthcare provider for proper guidance.

Can you take Sertraline and Sorbitol together?

It may be safe to take Sertraline and Sorbitol together as they generally do not pose a significant interaction concern. Sorbitol is commonly used as a sugar substitute in food and as an osmotic laxative for constipation relief. It is usually ingested in relatively small amounts and is not expected to interact with Sertraline in a significant way.

However, if you are taking laxatives that contain Sorbitol in large doses, it is important to consult your healthcare provider. They can provide you with personalized guidance and ensure there are no concerns or interactions based on your medical history, specific medications and dosages you are using.


In conclusion, Sertraline does not typically contain Sorbitol as an active ingredient but some generic forms or combination medications may contain Sorbitol as an inactive ingredient. Always remember, if you have any concerns about specific ingredients in your Sertraline medication, including Sorbitol, reach out to your healthcare professional for precise information regarding the specific product you are taking.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



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


Aronson JK, editor. Meyler’s Side Effects of Drugs: The International Encyclopedia of Adverse Drug Reactions and Interactions. 16th ed. 2016.


Liauw S, Saibil F. Sorbitol: Often forgotten cause of osmotic diarrhea. Can Fam Physician. 2019 Aug;65(8):557-558. PMID: 31413027; PMCID: PMC6693595.


National Library of Medicine. Sertraline: MedlinePlus Drug Information [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. National Library of Medicine. Available from:


Liauw S, Saibil F. Sorbitol: Often forgotten cause of osmotic diarrhea. Can Fam Physician. 2019 Aug;65(8):557-558. PMID: 31413027; PMCID: PMC6693595.,report%20of%20associated%20weight%20loss.&text=These%20effects%20vary%20from%20one%20individual%20to%20another.

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