Sertraline hydrochloride belongs to a class of antidepressant agents known as selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Despite distinct structural differences between compounds in this class, SSRIs possess similar pharmacological activity. As with other antidepressant agents, several weeks of therapy may be required before a clinical effect is seen. SSRIs are potent inhibitors of neuronal serotonin reuptake. They have little to no effect on norepinephrine or dopamine reuptake and do not antagonize α- or β-adrenergic, dopamine D2 or histamine H1 receptors. During acute use, SSRIs block serotonin reuptake and increase serotonin stimulation of somatodendritic 5-HT1A and terminal autoreceptors. Chronic use leads to desensitization of somatodendritic 5-HT1A and terminal autoreceptors. The overall clinical effect of increased mood and decreased anxiety is thought to be due to adaptive changes in neuronal function that leads to enhanced serotonergic neurotransmission. Side effects include dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, sexual dysfunction and headache (see Toxicity section below for a more detailed listing of side effects). Compared to other agents in this class, sertraline may cause greater diarrheal and male sexual dysfunction effects. Side effects generally occur within the first two weeks of therapy and are usually less severe and frequent than those observed with tricyclic antidepressants. Sertraline may be used to treat major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and social anxiety disorder (social phobia).