Prozac vs Zoloft - What are the Differences & Similarities?
Both Prozac and Zoloft belong to the class of medicines called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and are FDA approved to treat depression, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), and panic disorder.
The main differences between Prozac and Zoloft are:
- Prozac is a branded version of fluoxetine and Zoloft is a branded version of sertraline
- Prozac is also FDA approved to treat Bulimia nervosa and bipolar disorder associated depression
- Zoloft is also FDA approved to treat PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), social anxiety disorder, social phobia, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PDD)
- Prozac is available as a tablet, capsule, delayed-release capsule and liquid. Zoloft is only available as a tablet and a liquid
- There are some differences in their side effects with Prozac being more likely to cause sleep problems and dry mouth, and Zoloft is more likely to cause diarrhea
- Prozac was FDA approved in 1987 and Zoloft was FDA approved in 1991.
Because both drugs are SSRIs, they have many similarities, such as:
- They both work by preventing the reuptake of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that acts as a messenger between nerve cells. SSRIs increase levels of serotonin in the nerve synapse and this has been associated with a reduction in depressive symptoms
- Research1 has shown that Prozac and Zoloft are equally effective for the treatment of depression with similar rates of adherence (likelihood of a person taking their medicine)
- Side effects, such as headache, nausea and vomiting, nervousness and anxiousness, dizziness, sexual problems (eg, erectile dysfunction) and weight gain (although this tends to be less than with other antidepressants) or weight loss are common to both Prozac and Zoloft. Both have been associated with withdrawal symptoms when discontinued
- Both are branded drugs; however, generics are available for each drug which makes costs similar
- Both are prescription medicines and neither is a controlled drug
- The likelihood of interactions with other drugs (such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors, pimozide, tramadol, St John’s wort) is similar.
- Kroenke K, West SL, Swindle R, et al. Similar effectiveness of paroxetine, fluoxetine, and sertraline in primary care: a randomized trial. JAMA. 2001 Dec 19;286(23):2947-55.
Related medical questions
- SSRI’s vs SNRI’s - What's the difference between them?
- Lexapro vs Zoloft: How do they compare?
- How long for an increased dose of Zoloft to work?
- How long does Zoloft (sertraline) take to work?
- Does Zoloft (sertraline) cause weight gain?
- How long does sertraline withdrawal last?
- What are some common side effects of antidepressants?
- Is Zoloft (sertraline) a controlled substance?
- Can I take tramadol with sertraline?
- Taking fluoxetine, what can I use for a bad cough from cold or strep throat?
- What does Prozac feel like when it starts working?
Related support groups
- Zoloft (460 questions, 1,586 members)
- Sertraline (379 questions, 846 members)
- Fluoxetine (126 questions, 444 members)
- Prozac (249 questions, 1,096 members)
- Depression (2,086 questions, 8,655 members)
- Panic Disorder (918 questions, 4,112 members)
- Anxiety and Stress (633 questions, 3,021 members)
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (50 questions, 156 members)
- Major Depressive Disorder (461 questions, 1,328 members)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (293 questions, 983 members)
- Social Anxiety Disorder (207 questions, 936 members)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (184 questions, 1,095 members)
- Bulimia (11 questions, 65 members)