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Zoloft and Alcohol: Can You Safely Drink on Sertraline?

Last Updated: November 3, 2023

Editorial Policy | Research Policy

Mixing Zoloft and alcohol can cause side effects, so it’s best to avoid alcohol until you know how sertraline can affect you.

Zoloft (sertraline) is a prescription medication commonly used to treat major depressive and posttraumatic stress disorders and others. However, mixing sertraline with alcohol can increase the chance of side effects or impair judgment and is not recommended. Talk with your pharmacist or healthcare provider for more personalized advice.  

What Is Zoloft (Sertraline)? 

Zoloft is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, commonly abbreviated as SSRI — SSRIs like Zoloft work by keeping serotonin in the brain longer, where they can repeatedly activate receptors. Doing so can improve mood and be used for several conditions, including major depressive, obsessive-compulsive, panic or posttraumatic stress disorders. However, it is notable that sertraline can take four to six weeks to take effect, and, for some, sertraline can cause mood changes or increase the risk of suicide.  

Common side effects can include

  • Nausea 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Tiredness 
  • Dizziness  
  • Insomnia 
  • Tremor 
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Sweating 

Zoloft and Alcohol Interactions

Combining sertraline and alcohol can increase the likelihood of sertraline side effects, including:

nausea, diarrhea, dry mouth, drowsiness and sexual side effects like erectile dysfunction or delayed ejaculation. This combination can also worsen depression, impair judgment and delay motor skills. Therefore, it is best to avoid alcohol until you know how sertraline can affect you. For the most personalized advice, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

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How Long After Taking Zoloft Can You Drink? 

While there is little to no data about drinking alcohol while taking Zoloft, the package insert cautions against drinking on this medication. It is necessary to discuss the long half-life of sertraline, too. The time it takes the body to metabolize and eliminate half of a dose is called its half-life. Especially after taking a medication for several weeks, it takes five or six half-lives for it to be entirely out of your body. For sertraline, this means it will take most people five to six days for the drug to be eliminated from the body. 

Given sertraline’s long half-life, it is important not to skip doses because you plan to drink. Instead, talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist for their recommendations.  

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Sources “Sertraline Monograph for Professionals.” February 6, 2023. Accessed April 30, 2023. “Sertraline and Alcohol/Food Interactions.” 2023. Accessed April 30, 2023.

A-S Medication Solutions. “Sertraline Package Insert.” Revised February 2023. Accessed April 30, 2023.