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Dec 14, 2022

Mental Health

Prozac vs. Zoloft

Prozac and Zoloft are two of the most common prescription medications used to treat depression and other medical conditions

Although they both have comparable physiological effects, they vary in uses, adverse effects, as well as dosage forms.

Prozac (Fluoxetine) Zoloft (Sertraline)
  • Both are SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)
  • Both are taken orally with or without food
  • Both drugs may take up to 4 weeks to see an improvement of symptoms
  • Dosage ranging between 10–30 mg/day or 90 mg/week
  • Dosage ranging between 20–200 mg/day

How SSRIs Work

Antidepressants come in a variety of forms. They are often categorized based on how and which particular neurotransmitters (small molecules in your brain that carry information from neuron to nerve) they influence to alleviate depressive symptoms.

Both Prozac and Zoloft are part of a drug class known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). But what does that mean?

Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, is involved in mood regulation and causes you to feel satisfied, happy, and optimistic as well as contentment. You could experience depression if your brain's serotonin levels are insufficient.

Because they stop serotonin from being reabsorbed into your neurons, SSRIs raise the amount of serotonin in your brain.

Prozac and Zoloft: What are they used for?

Despite belonging to the same class of drugs as Zoloft, Prozac has important distinctions from it. Both medications can be used to treat a variety of ailments and come in a variety of forms and dose levels.

Prozac Zoloft
Both drugs are used to treat:
  • Prozac is used to treat Bulimia nervosa

Only Prozac is approved to treat depression in adolescents as young as 8 years old. However, children who are 7 years old or older who have OCD are also treated with it.

How long do they take to work?

After taking SSRIs for at least 2 weeks, you could feel less anxious and some symptom improvement, but it may take up to 6 weeks for their full impact to develop. Nevertheless, each individual's reaction to medicine varies, so you may see results sooner.

Speak with your provider if, after 6 weeks, your condition has not improved. Your doctor can suggest raising the dosage or considering an alternative drug.

Here's what to expect during the first few weeks on antidepressant medications.

Some individuals use these medications for a short period, but others may use them for many years. You can decide when to stop taking them along with your healthcare practitioner.

Your doctor can gradually reduce your dosage as soon as you're ready to stop taking them to lessen the likelihood of experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

The dose of Prozac or Zoloft should be progressively reduced before stopping use. In addition to withdrawal symptoms, abruptly stopping Zoloft or Prozac might have negative side effects such as headaches, nausea, irritability, and sleeplessness.

Side Effects

Your provider may start you on the lowest dosage feasible to reduce the likelihood of adverse effects. Your doctor could raise the dosage if your symptoms don't get better. Finding the right dosage and treatment for you may take some time.

Because Prozac and Zoloft are part of the same drug class they have very similar adverse effects, including the following:

  • Sexual side effects: decreased sex drive, ejaculation difficulties, erectile dysfunction, anorgasmia (difficulty experiencing an orgasm)
  • Insomnia or trouble sleeping
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Weakness
  • Tremor or shaking
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

Drug interactions

  • MAO (monoamine oxidase) inhibitors
  • Linezolid
  • Pimozide
  • Methylene blue injection
  • Drugs that increase serotonin: lithium, St. John's wort, other antidepressants

Combining these medications with Prozac or Zoloft can result in what's called serotonin syndrome, which is a severe condition where your body has too much serotonin accessible. Heart palpitations, sweating, fever, elevated blood pressure, and disorientation are among the symptoms.

Your physician must be aware of any additional medications you are taking because some of them might significantly raise your chance of developing serious muscle issues.

Complications with Prozac or Zoloft may also arise if you are nursing or pregnant. Generally speaking, you should only use these drugs in these circumstances if the possible benefit outweighs the possible risk.

Prozac vs Zoloft: Which is better?

According to studies, Prozac and Zoloft both effectively treat depression and have similar rates of adherence.

Both medications are effective in treating panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), although, if you suffer from a social anxiety disorder or PTSD, Zoloft may be recommended instead of Prozac.

Zoloft and Prozac have few negative effects. Prozac has a higher risk of headaches, but Zoloft has a higher risk of diarrhea and sexual issues.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Both Prozac and Zoloft should be taken at roughly the same time every day so you don’t forget to take them.

However, if you do forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it's almost time for your next dose. In this case, skip the forgotten dose and take the next one at the usual time. Do not take 2 doses together to make up for a missed dose.

If you forget to take a Prozac Weekly dose, do so as soon as you remember, then skip 7 days before taking the subsequent dose. If, however, the time for the next regularly scheduled weekly dose is approaching, skip the missed dose and proceed with the next as prescribed. Do not double up on your medication to make up for a missing dosage.

Talk To Your Doctor

Prozac and Zoloft are reliable and effective medications. They both have the same impacts on your body and operate in a comparable pattern. But because they are used to treat various ailments, your doctor's choice of medication for you may be heavily influenced by your diagnosis.

We also have medications guides for both Zoloft (sertraline) and Prozac (fluoxetine). Click the links to learn more.

Marley Drug provides free nationwide shipping, allowing you to receive your medication at no additional cost straight to your door.

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