Does Sertraline have sulfa in it? (3+ precautions)

In this article, we will answer the question, “Does Sertraline have sulfa in it?”. We will discuss whether the composition of Sertraline has a sulfa moiety or not, whether Sertraline can be taken if you are allergic to sulfonamides, and what medications can trigger the allergy.

Does Sertraline have sulfa in it?

No, Sertraline does not have sulfa in it. Sertraline is an antidepressant and does not have a sulfonamide moiety in its chemical composition. Sertraline is safe to use if you have a sulfa allergy.

Sertraline (also known as Zoloft) is an antidepressant belonging to the class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) approved by the FDA for the treatment of various depressive disorders (1).

Sertraline belongs to the class of tetralins and does not contain any sulfonamide moieties in its chemical structure. Sertraline is derived from a hydride of tetralin and is a secondary amino compound and a dichlorobenzene (2).

Sulfa drugs are those medications that have a sulfa moiety in their structure. These medications can trigger allergic reactions in some individuals. However, even if you are not allergic to sulfa medications or Sertraline, you still can experience side effects of this medication. It is important to communicate all known allergies to your healthcare provider before starting any medication.

Can you take Sertraline if you are allergic to sulfonamides?

You can take Sertraline if you are allergic to sulfonamides because Sertraline does not contain the sulfa moiety in its chemical composition.

You may be allergic to other components in Sertraline. If you are only allergic to sulfa drugs then Sertraline is a safe drug for you.  However, it is best to not take any medication without the guidance of your healthcare provider.

You may experience other side effects caused by this medication, even if you are not allergic to Sertraline. Some commonly experienced side effects include (1,3):

Keep in mind that not all individuals will experience these side effects of Sertraline. If you experience these side effects and they do not subside, please contact your healthcare provider for proper medical assistance.

What are the symptoms of sulfa allergies?

Some symptoms that may indicate sulfa allergy in the individual are as follows:

  • Rash on the skin
  • Swelling of the face and mouth
  • Nausea
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Sore throat
  • Skin blisters
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Vomiting
  • Itching in the eyes or on the skin
  • Wheezing
  • Asthma
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Congestion
  • Anaphylaxis

Keep in mind not all individuals will experience these symptoms. But if you do experience any such side effects, consult your healthcare provider immediately.

How should an individual manage a sulfa allergy while on Sertraline?

Individuals with sulfa allergy should take the following precautions while taking Sertraline:

Inform your healthcare provider

You should always inform your healthcare provider of any known allergies. This makes it easier for your doctor to adjust your treatment beforehand and not deal with the consequences of prescribing you a drug that might cause allergy.

Avoid medications containing sulfa moiety

If you are taking Sertraline and have a sulfa allergy, it is best to avoid medications that have a sulfa moiety or can trigger an allergic reaction in individuals having a sulfa allergy. Some medications that may cause an allergic reaction in such individuals are as follows:

Class Examples
  • Sulfasalazine
  • Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim
  • Sulfisoxazole
  • Sulfadiazine
  • Sulfacetamide
  • Celecoxib
  • Valdecoxib
Some diuretics
  • Hydrochlorothiazide
  • Furosemide
  • Bumetanide
 Some diabetic medications
  • Glyburide
  • Glimepiride
Some migraine medications
  • Sumatriptan
  • Naratriptan

Wear a medical bracelet

Make sure to wear a medical bracelet if you have a sulfa allergy. This will help in case of emergency as it will inform healthcare providers about any drug allergies.

What are the alternatives to Sertraline for sulfa allergy sufferers?

If individuals have a sulfa allergy and cannot tolerate Sertraline, there are alternative antidepressants that may be used safely. Some of these medications are as follows:

  • Other SSRIs (like fluoxetine and paroxetine)
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) (like duloxetine, venlafaxine and desvenlafaxine)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) (like desipramine and nortriptyline)
  • Atypical antidepressants (like bupropion, trazodone and mirtazapine)
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) (like selegiline and isocarboxazid)

The choice of an alternative medication depends on individual characteristics, response to the alternative given and the condition under treatment. 

To the best of my knowledge and according to scientific research, Sertraline does not have a sulfa moiety in its chemical structure. This medication can be taken safely even if you are allergic to sulfa drugs.

However, if you are allergic to sulfa drugs make sure to communicate to your healthcare provider about your allergies. If you experience anything unusual or worsening of side effects make sure to seek immediate medical assistance.

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION. ZOLOFT® (sertraline hydrochloride) tablets, for oral use. Available from: 


PubChem [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US), National Center for Biotechnology Information; 2004-. PubChem Compound Summary for CID 68617, Sertraline; [cited 2023 Dec. 30]. Available from:


Singh HK, Saadabadi A. Sertraline. [Updated 2023 Feb 13]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:

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