OverviewDosageSide EffectsInteractionsHalf-Life

Sertraline (Zoloft) was the 14th most commonly prescribed drug in the United States in 2017. In that year alone, there were 38,296,630 prescriptions for the drug. Considering this popularity, it pays to know a little bit more about this medication, including how long sertraline stays in your system.

DrugBank states the following information regarding sertraline half-life:

Mean effective half-life: approximately 26 hours

Time to steady-state: 1 week following once-daily administration

Sertraline has an oral bioavailability of greater than 44 percent. The body readily metabolizes and breaks down sertraline, and excretes the metabolites in urine and feces.


What is the half-life of sertraline?

The half-life of sertraline is approximately 26 hours.

How long does sertraline stay in your system?

With a 26-hour half-life, it would take about 6 days to get out of the consumer’s system.Patients can expect this drug to remain detectable in their systems for the following time frame:

  • Blood tests can detect traces of sertraline as small as 50-200 ng/mL.
  • Urine and fecal tests for about 9 days. The body breaks down sertraline into smaller metabolites, which is excreted through urine and feces. Lab tests can detect the metabolites in urine and feces. Between 40 and 45 percent of one such metabolite, desmethylsertraline, is detectable in urine and feces for about nine days.

Patients can expect the result of urine tests to be available more than 72 hours after providing the urine specimen, depending on the lab performing the test. Turnaround time for blood tests can be 5 to 10 days, depending on the lab.

How long does it take for sertraline to get out of the system?

Sertraline takes about six days to clear from the body. However, the body breaks down sertraline into metabolites, which can take up to two weeks to clear the body.

Does sertraline have a long half-life?

The half-life of sertraline is approximately 26 hours, which is a longer half-life than some other SSRIs, although it does not have the longest half-life in this drug class.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

More about Sertraline

Written by

Fact Checked by