Taking Skullcap With Zoloft

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not Skullcap can safely be taken with Zoloft (sertraline).

Mar 10, 2018

Kaleigh asked

Hi there! Can I take the herb skullcap with the drug sertraline/ Zoloft? Thank you!


Skullcap, also known as Scutellaria lateriflora, is a perennial plant that is native to both United States and Europe. It is used for a variety of indications including:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Fever
  • High cholesterol
  • Dermatitis
  • Spasms

The exact mechanism of how skullcap works isn't well known or understood. Preliminary studies suggest the following:

  • Constituents of skullcap may bind to and affect certain serotonin receptors in the body, such as the 5-HT(7) receptor. It isn't known if the actions on this receptor are agonistic or antagonistic. Zoloft, although a SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), isn't thought to affect this specific receptor.
  • Skullcap may increase GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is a common target of anti-anxiety medications.

Taking Skullcap With Zoloft (Sertraline)

Zoloft is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) that works primarily by increasing concentrations of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.

There has been no reported drug interaction between Zoloft and skullcap but the combination is not well studied. As studies have reported that skullcap may potentially affect certain serotonin receptors (e.g. 5-HT(7)), there may be some concern using drugs that affect serotonin as well, like Zoloft. 

If you plan on, or are thinking of, using skullcap while taking Zoloft, it would be prudent to discuss the combination with your doctor so you may be monitored appropriately. There may be a theoretical risk of excess serotonin symptoms.

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