Is there any interaction between caffeine and Sertraline?

In this article, we will discuss the potential interactions between caffeine and Sertraline. We will also discuss what side effects one may experience by combining these two together and if spacing them out can help prevent them. 

Is there any interaction between caffeine and Sertraline?

There is no known interaction between caffeine and Sertraline (1). However, they may cause some additive side effects when used excessively together. These side effects can vary from person to person, depending on how much caffeine you consume and when you consume it. 

In moderate amounts, like having a cup or two of coffee, most people won’t experience significant issues when taking Sertraline. However, if you go overboard with caffeine, it could potentially increase certain side effects that Sertraline is meant to help reduce – like anxiety (2). 

So, it’s all about balance. Enjoying a reasonable amount of caffeine is usually fine, but going way beyond that may become a bit disturbing.

What are the potential side effects associated with the use of caffeine and Sertraline? 

There are some potential side effects of caffeine and Sertraline when used together. Both caffeine and Sertraline can team up to disrupt your sleep, leading to insomnia (3,4). 

Sertraline on its own can cause sleep troubles, and if you consume caffeine later in the day, it might make matters worse or increase the insomnia induced by Sertraline. Furthermore, they both can trigger some gastrointestinal (GI) issues (3,5). 

Caffeine has the tendency to speed up intestinal motility, which is why many people experience a need to use the restroom after drinking it (5). On the other hand, Sertraline can sometimes lead to acid reflux or heartburn, and it’s not uncommon for it to cause diarrhoea as well. 

So, when taken together, there’s a possibility that these gastrointestinal side effects could be amplified. It is important to note that too much caffeine can be dangerous. Excessive caffeine intake or even caffeine addiction can lead to an increased release of serotonin in the brain. 

This is significant because Sertraline is actually a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which means it works by increasing serotonin activity in the brain too (3). 

The combination of both caffeine and Sertraline, when not done in moderation, could potentially increase the risk of serotonin syndrome, which is a rare – but serious and life-threatening condition (6).

How to drink coffee safely while taking Sertraline?

You can safely consume coffee while being treated with Sertraline by adjusting the timing of having them both. Finding the right balance here can help you avoid potential discomfort and make sure both substances work effectively.

Spacing out your coffee and Sertraline intake by a few hours is a smart strategy. This helps minimize the potential for stomach discomfort, as taking them together might lead to an upset stomach for some individuals. 

Since many people opt to take their Sertraline in the morning, you have the flexibility to enjoy your coffee either before or after a few hours of taking it. Additionally, drinking low to moderate amounts of coffee is important while taking Sertraline.  

This not only helps manage any potential interactions but also ensures you’re not overloading your system with caffeine, which could lead to its own set of concerns. 

Remember, individual responses can vary, so it’s always a good idea to observe how your body reacts when you adjust the timing of your coffee and medication. If you’re uncertain about the best approach for you, please discuss this with your healthcare provider. 


In this article, we have discussed the concomitant use of caffeine and Sertraline. We have discussed some concerns related to their use and how spacing them out can help prevent some side effects, especially gastrointestinal discomfort.

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


Broderick P, Benjamin AB. Caffeine and psychiatric symptoms: a review. J Okla State Med Assoc. 2004 Dec;97(12):538-42. PMID: 15732884.


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


Clark I, Landolt HP. Coffee, caffeine, and sleep: A systematic review of epidemiological studies and randomized controlled trials. Sleep Med Rev. 2017 Feb;31:70-78. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2016.01.006. Epub 2016 Jan 30. PMID: 26899133.


Nehlig A. Effects of Coffee on the Gastro-Intestinal Tract: A Narrative Review and Literature Update. Nutrients. 2022 Jan 17;14(2):399. doi: 10.3390/nu14020399. PMID: 35057580; PMCID: PMC8778943.


Ohta R, Sano C. Serotonin Syndrome Triggered by Overuse of Caffeine and Complicated With Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome: A Case Report. Cureus. 2022 Feb 21;14(2):e22468. doi: 10.7759/cureus.22468. PMID: 35345760; PMCID: PMC8942071.

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