How long does diarrhoea last on Sertraline?

In this article, we will discuss Sertraline-induced diarrhoea and how long it lasts. We will also talk about the incidence of this side effect and some treatment strategies to help your symptoms.

How long does diarrhoea last on Sertraline?

Sertraline-induced diarrhoea typically lasts anywhere from a few days to a week or two. 

Gastrointestinal side effects, including diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, acid reflux, abdominal pain, etc are quite common with antidepressants, particularly with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – the class of antidepressants to which Sertraline belongs. (1,2)

However, diarrhoea is still not as common as other GI side effects are and it does start getting better within a few days as your body adjusts to the antidepressant. 

It is also important to note that Sertraline can affect people differently and the presence of other factors affecting your health can also make a difference. It’s best to keep a close eye on your side effects and discuss them with your healthcare provider.

What is the incidence of Sertraline-induced diarrhoea?

The incidence of diarrhoea induced by Sertraline is relatively common and has been reported in a number of cases. Many individuals taking Sertraline have experienced this side effect. 

The exact mechanism through which Sertraline can increase gastrointestinal motility, leading to diarrhoea, is not fully understood. However, it is believed to be related to the medication’s influence on serotonin levels in the gut (3). 

Sertraline is known to increase gastrointestinal motility, meaning it speeds up the movement of things through your digestive system. 

This can lead to diarrhoea in some people because when things move too quickly, your body doesn’t have enough time to absorb water from your stool, resulting in loose and watery bowel movements. 

So, if you’ve been prescribed Sertraline and are experiencing diarrhoea, it’s not uncommon, and you should discuss it with your healthcare provider. They may suggest ways to manage this side effect or consider adjusting your medication if it becomes too troublesome. 

What to do if Sertraline causes diarrhoea? 

If Sertraline causes diarrhoea, there are a few things you can do to manage it:

  • Talk to your doctor: It’s crucial to discuss this side effect with your doctor, especially if you’re a new user. They may consider adjusting your dose to help alleviate diarrhoea.
  • Over-the-counter antidiarrheal medications: You can consider using over-the-counter (OTC) antidiarrheal medications that are safe to take with Sertraline. These can help reduce diarrhoea symptoms (4).
  • Probiotics: Adding probiotics, like Acidophilus, to your diet can be helpful in managing Sertraline-induced diarrhoea (5). Probiotics can help balance your gut flora.
  • BRAT diet: The BRAT diet, which stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, can be gentle on your stomach and may help firm up stools during episodes of diarrhoea (6).
  • Dietary adjustments: Avoid heavy, greasy, or spicy foods as they can exacerbate diarrhoea. Opt for bland and easily digestible foods.
  • Stay hydrated: Diarrhoea can lead to dehydration, so it’s essential to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. This is crucial for your overall health.
  • Electrolyte replenishers: Consider using oral rehydration solutions (ORS) or electrolyte replenishers cautiously, especially if you have hypertension. These can help replace lost fluids and electrolytes during bouts of diarrhoea.

Remember, it’s essential to keep your doctor in the loop about any side effects you experience with Sertraline. Your provider can help you deal with them in a safe and effective manner. 


In this article, we have discussed Sertraline-induced diarrhoea and how long it lasts. We have also talked about the incidence of this side effect and some treatment strategies to help your symptoms.

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


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


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


Food and Drug Administration, HHS. Antidiarrheal drug products for over-the-counter human use; final monograph. Final rule. Fed Regist. 2003 Apr 17;68(74):18869-82. PMID: 12701600.


Kline MD, Koppes S. Acidophilus for sertraline-induced diarrhea. Am J Psychiatry. 1994 Oct;151(10):1521-2. doi: 10.1176/ajp.151.10.1521b. PMID: 8092348.


Weir SBS, Akhondi H. Bland Diet. 2023 Jul 25. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 30844169.

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