Does Zoloft increase heart rate? 

Does Zoloft increase heart rate? 

Zoloft may or may not increase your heart rate. This antidepressant is generally considered cardiac protective, but it can affect cardiac functions in some people. Studies have reported that Zoloft can cause QT elongation and can cause arrhythmia or heart palpitations

This irregular heart rate can become quite significant in some patients, which may also lead to the discontinuation of treatment with this antidepressant. 

If you feel like your heart is racing right after taking Zoloft, reach out to your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Although it is a rare side effect and affects very few people, it can lead to life-threatening complications.

What does research suggest? 

There is no proper explanation as to why Zoloft increases heart rate in some people. Some studies have suggested that as it works on the excitatory system in your brain and enhances the activity of serotonin, this may trigger harder and faster contraction of your cardiac muscles. 

A 2007 study monitored the effects of Sertraline on the heart rates of cardiac patients and indicated that the antidepressant can increase heart rate variability in such patients. Although it may not trigger a significant change, care must be taken in such people (1). 

A research review indicated that antidepressants generally can affect heart rate because of increased sympathetic nervous system activity, which can trigger heart muscles to contract (2). However, antidepressants that work on more of such excitatory chemicals possess a greater risk.

Zoloft is an SSRI, which selectively works on serotonin. There are several other antidepressants that increase the availability of serotonin as well as other chemicals like norepinephrine and dopamine. Such meds are more commonly associated with cardiac adverse events.

However, Zoloft may not be the best choice of antidepressant for every other person. There are other factors that can also affect how Zoloft works like your dose, frequency of drug administration, age, genetics, and any underlying health condition. 

Zoloft may also affect thyroid functions in some people. Although it is rare, increased thyroid functions or hyperthyroidism can also increase heart rate. So, make sure you monitor your side effects and report them to your healthcare provider.

Zoloft may also interact with some medications that can be used to manage heart rate, like Flecainide. However, these medications may help manage Zoloft-induced increased heart rate in some individuals.

What to do if Zoloft increases your heart rate? 

As I stated earlier, the first and most important thing to do is to talk to your healthcare provider. Only your doctor can help you determine if Zoloft is the culprit behind your increased heart rate and will rule out any underlying health condition that may interact negatively with your antidepressant. 

In some cases, the dose of Zoloft is higher than the body can bear and this causes rare side effects. If that’s the case with you, your doctor will most likely reduce your dose and ask you to report back in a week or two. 

If your side effects subside, it’s a good sign. If it doesn’t and it continues to make your heart beat faster and harder, Zoloft may not be the right choice of antidepressant for you. 

The most important point:

Do not stop Zoloft abruptly. If you think discontinuing the medication right away will normalise your heart rate, you are absolutely wrong. Sudden Zoloft withdrawal can open a new door to disturbing symptoms for you. 

It is even more important if you are a cardiac patient. Abrupt Zoloft withdrawal can trigger your heart condition and increase the risk of heart attacks. So make sure you always report your side effects to your doctor, you can help you out in the best possible way. 

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Glassman AH, Bigger JT, Gaffney M, Van Zyl LT. Heart rate variability in acute coronary syndrome patients with major depression: influence of sertraline and mood improvement. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2007 Sep;64(9):1025-31. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.64.9.1025. PMID: 17768267. Available from:


Yekehtaz H, Farokhnia M, Akhondzadeh S. Cardiovascular considerations in antidepressant therapy: an evidence-based review. J Tehran Heart Cent. 2013 Oct 28;8(4):169-76. PMID: 26005484; PMCID: PMC4434967. Available from:

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