Prozac vs Zoloft: Which One Should You Take?

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Globally, 350 million people suffer from some form of depression. Depression can be treated in a few different ways including counseling and various forms of medication.

Both Prozac and Zoloft are prescription drugs that are often used to treat depression and other illnesses. However, these two drugs have key differences that can be deciding factors when choosing which one to take.

In this article, we are going to examine the Prozac vs Zoloft debate by looking at their key differences and effects.

Prozac vs Zoloft: The Similarities for Treatment

Both Prozac and Zoloft are medications that require a prescription from a doctor or a psychiatrist.

Both Prozac and Zoloft are prescribed to help people suffering from:

Prozac and Zoloft are both SSRIs, aka serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Some of the key functions of serotonin involve regulating mood, sleep, and appetite.

What Prozac and Zoloft do as SSRIs is they prevent the brain from reabsorbing serotonin once it is released. This keeps your serotonin levels consistently high.

Higher serotonin levels can help to improve your mood, appetite, sleep, and energy. It can also reduce anxiety and depression symptoms.

Prozac Vs Zoloft: The Differences for Treatment

While both Prozac and Zoloft are similar in their makeup, they are usually used in different ways and in different treatment plans.


Prozac is often used to treat people with bulimia nervosa. Bulimia is an eating disorder categorized by compulsions to binge eat and cycles of compensatory behavior. These behaviors can include laxative abuse, induced vomiting, excessive exercise, and medication abuse.

Prozac can take 1-2 weeks for effects to be noticed. Some reports show that Prozac can take longer to take effect than other forms of depression medications.


In the Prozac vs Zoloft debate, it seems that Zoloft is more applicable in the treatment of a wide variety of illnesses.

Besides depression and anxiety, Zoloft is often used to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is an anxiety condition that develops after an individual goes through a dangerous or traumatic event.

Zoloft can also be used to treat Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). PMDD affects menstruating women. This condition can cause:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Hot flashes
  • Appetite fluctuation
  • Intense mood swings
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Anger, irritation, and tension

Zoloft can help relieve many of these symptoms for those suffering from PMDD.

Zoloft is also used as a treatment for social anxiety disorder.

Side Effects of Prozac vs Zoloft

As with all medications, Prozac and Zoloft come with some side effects. The side effects of each medication will vary in type and severity depending on the individual. That being said, there are a few common side effects that come with both Prozac and Zoloft use.

These include:

  • Agitation
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Sudden mood shifts
  • Fluctuating energy levels
  • Sexual dysfunction (low sex drive, inability to orgasm, etc)

These side effects vary with each individual. If you find that these side effects are too much or are interfering with your normal life, talk to your doctor.

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Both Prozac and Zoloft can cause suicidal thoughts to occur in certain patients, usually in children and young adults. If you experience this on these medications, it is crucial that you speak to a doctor to switch your treatment plan.


There are a few Prozac specific side effects to take into consideration when deciding between Prozac vs Zoloft.

Prozac is known for significantly increasing energy levels even more so than other antidepressants. This can be great for those suffering from low energy as a result of their depression, but it can also cause sleep disturbances and insomnia.

Prozac can also lead to weight loss, which can be an issue for those who are at a healthy weight or who are already underweight.

Prozac can also have a dangerous interaction with a drug called an MAO inhibitor. Before taking Prozac, you should have ceased taking an MAO inhibitor medication 2 weeks prior. You should also wait to take this medication until at least 5 weeks after you’ve stopped taking Prozac.


Diarrhea is a common side effect of Zoloft, while it is almost never a side effect of Prozac.

Zoloft is also known to have many different interactions with other types of medication, including:

  • Narcotics
  • Blood thinners
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Seizure medications
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Migraine medications

Before taking Zoloft, make sure you discuss all of your current medications with your doctor to make sure there will be no harmful or potentially dangerous drug interactions.


Both Prozac and Zoloft come in capsules. Zoloft also comes in a liquid form.

To take Zoloft in its liquid form, you first dilute it in water according to your dosage. Once it is thoroughly mixed, you then simply drink the water-Zoloft mixture. This option can be good for people who are unable or unwilling to swallow pills.

Price Differences

Since both Prozac and Zoloft have generic forms, it is likely that insurance will only cover the generic. Depending on your coverage type, the price of these two medications will vary.

You can compare drug prices from different providers on our website.

Prozac vs Zoloft: Wrapping Up

Prozac and Zoloft are effective for treating depression and anxiety disorders. They do have slight differences in their applications, but many of their effects are the same or similar.

Choosing which one is right for you will depend on your original symptoms as well as your reaction to taking the medication. Some people find that they have more severe side effects on one medication versus the other. Some people find that one medication simply does not work for them.

Talk with your doctor about your specific concerns and experiences as you try these medications. If you’d like more information on these drugs, take a look at the Prozac and Zoloft price-comparison pages on our website.

Do You Take Prozac or Zoloft?

We’d love to hear from you. Please share your experience and thoughts in the comments below!

About Cary Byrd

eDrugSearch founder, Cary Byrd, has been called an “e-health innovator” by MarketIntellNow, interviewed by top pharmaceutical industry journalists, invited to Matthew Holt’s Health 2.0 Conference and a Consumer Report's health summit, and highlighted on numerous health blogs.

prozac vs zoloft

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