Background. Recently some pathogenetic parallels have been drawn between dialysis-induced hypotension and disorders characterized by hemodynamic instability due to autonomic dysfunction, such as neurocardiogenic syncope and idiopathic orthostatic hypotension. Several studies have shown that central serotonergic pathways participate in the abnormal response, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors improve the symptoms of patients with neurocardiogenic syncope or idiopathic orthostatic hypotension. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of sertraline on dialysis-induced hypotension a prospective study was designed. Methods: The data of 9 patients from a 4-week pre-sertraline period were compared with the data of a 4-week sertraline (100 mg daily) period. The therapeutic effect of sertraline requires 4 weeks. Therefore the sertraline period was begun 4 weeks after starting the drug. Results: Post-hemodialysis weights and ultrafiltration volumes were similar in the pre-sertraline and sertraline periods. There were also no changes in hematocrit and serum albumin. Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure before dialysis remained unchanged during sertraline treatment. The nadir systolic blood pressure and systolic blood pressure after dialysis increased significantly in the sertraline period. The nadir diastolic pressure was also increased significantly but the increase in post-dialysis diastolic blood pressure did not reach statistical significance. The necessity of therapeutic interventions per dialysis session decreased significantly in the sertraline period compared with pre-sertraline period. Conclusions: This pilot study has shown that sertraline has the potential to be a safe and effective therapy for dialysis hypotension. Longterm clinical and pathophysiological studies are currently in progress. Copyright (C) 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel.