Zoloft and Prozac (with generic versions sertraline hydrochloride and fluoxetine, respectively) are medications that help improve a person’s mood. These two drugs fall under selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) because they work by preventing the reabsorption of serotonin by neurons. If reabsorption of serotonin is low, its concentration becomes high and improves message transmission in the brain cells.
Even though Zoloft and Prozac share many similarities, they also have differences. So what’s the difference between Prozac and Zoloft? And is Prozac better than Zoloft? Here’s a detailed comparison between these two antidepressants.
Are your symptoms of depression or anxiety overwhelming? Have an appointment with a doctor today and get effective treatment.
Difference Between Zoloft and Prozac
Zoloft is a brand name that Pfizer manufactures, while Prozac is a brand from Eli Lilly Company. Medics use these drugs to treat different conditions, including the following:
|Social anxiety disorder||✅||Off-label|
|Generalized anxiety disorder||Off-label||❌|
|Body dysmorphic disorder||Off-label||Off-label|
|Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)||❌||Off-label|
After taking the drugs, patients usually experience improvements in sleep, appetite, and mood. They’re also far less likely to have panic attacks, fear, and compulsive behavior.
Prozac Versus Zoloft: Dosage
|Oral tablets||25mg, 50mg, and 100mg||10mg, 20mg|
|Oral capsules||—||10mg, 20mg, 40mg|
|Standard dosage||50mg daily (can vary in individual cases)||20mg daily (can vary in individual cases)|
A patient should take Zoloft or Prozac at the same time each day. If one forgets to take the drug, they shouldn’t take a double dose to compensate for the missed one.
After two weeks, symptoms may start to improve. But the drugs can take up to six weeks to reach their full potential. Some people take them long-term, while others discontinue after some time. Before stopping these drugs, it’s essential to inform the doctor because it can lead to withdrawal symptoms.
Zoloft Vs. Prozac for Anxiety
Is fluoxetine or sertraline better for anxiety? A study in the Journal of Affective Disorders compared the effectiveness of Prozac versus Zoloft. The results failed to show significant differences in the two drugs in treating depression and anxiety. But since individuals respond differently to each drug, a doctor may choose the most suitable one based on how the patient’s body reacts.
Side Effects of Prozac Vs. Zoloft
Both Prozac and Zoloft have side effects, most of which are similar. Not everyone experiences these side effects, and in some cases, these signs disappear after a short time.
Doctors usually start by prescribing a lower dosage to minimize the possibility of side effects occurring. But if there’s no improvement in symptoms, the dosage can be increased. If the side effects worsen, the physician can prescribe an alternative antidepressant.
Similar side effects for both drugs include:
- Vomiting and nausea
- Weight gain or loss
- Anxiousness and nervousness
- Dry mouth
- Sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction
Even though the two drugs have similar side effects, Zoloft is more likely to cause diarrhea. And Prozac has more chances of resulting in sleeping problems and dry mouth.
The two drugs don’t have the potential for misuse. Therefore, they’re not controlled substances. However, they can cause withdrawal symptoms after long-term consumption.
Contact a doctor if you experience any side effects. Mental health experts at EZCare Clinic will adjust your plan accordingly or choose another medication.
Prozac Vs. Zoloft Weight Gain
It might seem confusing to say that antidepressants can lead to weight gain or weight loss. Well, depression can cause someone to lose weight but taking certain medications may lead to increased appetite and weight gain. Notably, one of the side effects of these antidepressants is nausea and vomiting, which affect appetite too. However, not all people experience these side effects.
That being said, a 2016 study showed that Zoloft was more likely to cause weight gain than Prozac. In the study, people who took Zoloft for two years had an average weight increase of 10.5 pounds. But those who took Prozac had an average weight increase of 4.6 pounds.
The two drugs can interact with other medications. Therefore, it’s essential for a patient to inform the doctor of any other medicines they’ve been taking. Prozac and Zoloft can interact with drugs like:
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors
- Methylene blue injection
Pregnant and breastfeeding women can also experience problems while using these drugs. So they should consult their doctors before taking the medications.
Zoloft and Prozac can also interfere with the activity of the CYP2D6 liver enzyme. For this reason, any drug that relies on this enzyme for metabolism will interact with the two antidepressants. Such drugs include benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, antiarrhythmics, and some antidepressants.
Also, Zoloft and Prozac can interact with warfarin, aspirin, and other blood thinners. Hence, the risk of excess bleeding is high if one takes the two drugs together.
Precautions for Zoloft and Prozac
Antidepressants can cause several side effects, and if those effects are severe, a patient should consult with a doctor to prescribe an alternative drug. Another thing, one should never take both drugs at the same time. The doctor should oversee the transition from one drug to the other.
People with pre-existing conditions like irregular heart rhythms and arrhythmias may experience electrical disturbances or QT prolongation. Pregnant women and those breastfeeding should only take the drugs if the benefits outweigh the risk.
Lastly, a person who wants to discontinue the drugs should consult the doctor. Doing this can help avoid or minimize the withdrawal symptoms.
Zoloft and Prozac fall under the same medications category and are used for the treatment of similar conditions. Still, they have some differences too, and only a doctor can choose the most suitable option considering your diagnosis, symptoms, medications history, and other factors. Contact EZCare Clinic today to connect with a certified prescriber online and start your treatment!