Sertraline (trade names Zoloft and others) is an antidepressant of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class. Sertraline is primarily prescribed for major depressive disorder in adult outpatients as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder, in both adults and children. The exact mechanism of action sertraline is not fully known, but the drug appears to selectively inhibit the reuptake of serotonin at the presynaptic membrane. This results in an increased synaptic concentration of serotonin in the CNS, which leads to numerous functional changes associated with enhanced serotonergic neurotransmission. It is suggested that these modifications are responsible for the antidepressant action observed during long-term administration of antidepressants. It has also been hypothesized that obsessive-compulsive disorder is caused by the dysregulation of serotonin, as it is treated by sertraline, and the drug corrects this imbalance. Compared to other SSRIs, sertraline tends to be associated with a higher rate of psychiatric side effects and diarrhea. It tends to be more activating (that is, associated with a higher rate of anxiety, agitation, insomnia, etc.) than other SSRIs, aside from fluoxetine. Over a two-week treatment of healthy volunteers, sertraline slightly improved verbal fluency but did not affect word learning, short-term memory, vigilance, flicker fusion time, choice reaction time, memory span, or psychomotor coordination. In spite of lower subjective rating, that is, feeling that they performed worse, no clinically relevant differences were observed in the objective cognitive performance in a group of people treated for depression with sertraline for 1.5 years as compared to healthy controls NCATS
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