Drug products: Oralin, Sertralin Actavis, Sertralin Amendia, Sertralin Bluefish, Sertralin Hexal, Sertralin Krka, Sertralin Mylan, Sertralin Orion, Sertralin ratiopharm, Sertralin Sandoz, Sertralin STADA, Sertralin Teva, Sertraline Accord, Sertraline SUN, Sertrone, Setaloft, Zoloft, Zoloft®
ATC code: N06AB06
Substances: sertraline, sertraline hydrochloride
Studies regarding differences in effect of sertraline in men and women are not conclusive. There are studies that show women to have a better effect on depression and panic attacks. In type A alcohol dependence and post traumatic stress syndrome, on the other hand, men showed a better treatment effect of sertraline.
Pharmacokinetic studies have shown that men metabolize sertraline faster than women.
In our opinion, the described differences do not motivate differentiated dosing or treatment in men and women.
In a study in healthy volunteers (22 men, 22 women), sertraline was titrated from 50 mg daily during 9 days to 200 mg daily for 21 days. For sertraline, the terminal elimination half-life was shorter in young men (18–45 years), (22.4 hours) than in young women, older men, and women (32.1–36.7 hours). The Cmax, AUC24 and mean trough concentrations of sertraline were 21%, 25% and 33% lower in young men compared to the other groups. For the metabolite N-desmethylsertraline (DSERT) the trough plasma concentrations, Cmax and AUC24 were also lower in young men compared with the other groups . This is in contrast to another study (31 men, 61 women), where the dose-concentration correlation for sertraline and DSERT was approximately 30% higher for women than for men after 12 weeks of treatment (50–150 mg daily). No sex differences in the absolute concentrations for sertraline or DSERT were observed . In a bioavailability study, 100 mg sertraline were given to 24 healthy volunteers (13 men, 11 women). Women had higher Cmax values than men, but the sex difference disappeared when taking the distribution volume into consideration . No sex differentiation in dosing has been recommended by the manufacturer .
DepressionSeveral studies show better effect of sertraline in women than in men [5-9]. Treatment response after 12 weeks of sertraline treatment has been examined in patients with chronic depression (162 men, 264 women). Women responded better to sertraline treatment than men and premenopausal women responded better than postmenopausal women, suggesting that female sex hormones may enhance treatment response . Also in another study, menopause was shown to be related to worse treatment response of SSRI in depression compared to non-menopausal women , although one study showed that acute worsening of chronic depression was more frequent in premenopausal women than in postmenopausal women and men treated with either sertraline or imipramine (229 men, 267 premenopausal women, 58 postmenopausal women) (8.6%, 4.5% and 5.9%, respectively) .
Women responded better to sertraline when treated for non-melancholic depressive disorders  and behavioral disorders associated with Alzheimer’s disease . A retrospective cohort analysis of Japanese patients with major depressive disorders treated with sertraline (36 men, 46 women) showed that women were more likely to respond to sertraline treatment than men (74% vs. 44%) . According to the original manufacturer of sertraline, no differences between men and women has been recorded in the treatment response of major depressive disorders [4, 11].
PanicdisorderPooled data from four studies (in total 335 men, 338 women), showed a greater improvement on panic frequency and Clinical Global Impression-Improvement scale (CGI-I) in women . According to the original manufacturer of sertraline, no differences between men and women have been recorded in the treatment response of panic disorders or social anxiety disorders. For the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorders, men showed lower response than women. The clinical significance of this is uncertain [4, 11].
Alcohol dependenceIn a 14-week double-blind placebo-controlled study (52 men, 48 women) men, but not women, with type A alcohol dependence showed an improvement with sertraline treatment .
Pooled data from four studies (in total 335 men, 338 women), showed no sex differences in adverse events . In a study where treatment response after 12 weeks of sertraline treatment was examined in patients with chronic depression (162 men, 264 women), women were more likely to report nausea and dizziness, whereas men were more likely to report dyspepsia, sexual dysfunction and urinary frequency .
Regarding teratogenic aspects, please consult the Drugs and Birth Defects Database (in Swedish, Janusmed fosterpåverkan).
In a German drug utilization observational study (1594 men, 3858 women), the mean prescribed dose of sertraline was lower for women than for men (45.5 vs. 46.5 mg/day) .
Date of litterature search: 2013-05-06
Reviewed by: Expertrådet för psykiatriska sjukdomar, Expertrådet för geriatriska sjukdomar, Mia von Euler
Approved by: Karin Schenck-Gustafsson