350 million people worldwide struggle with depression.

Almost 7% of Americans are affected by one of the numerous types of depression.

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These include major depression, persistent depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, manic-depressive illness, seasonal affective disorder, or postpartum depression.

There are many treatments people can turn to including counseling, group therapy, exercise, diet, social supports, etc.

One of the most helpful though is medication. Two common medications are Prozac and Zoloft. But how can you know which is right for you?

This article will walk you through the similarities and differences in Prozac vs Zoloft.

Prozac vs Zoloft: Uses

While Prozac and Zoloft for depression have been effective, they can also be used to treat other mental disorders.

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Let’s take a look at the specifics.

Prozac can be prescribed for:

  • Depression
  • Hot Flashes
  • Panic Disorder
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder-Associated Depression

Zoloft can be prescribed for:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

There’s a lot of overlap between these two drugs, but Prozac can treat a few more things than Zoloft.

Prozac vs Zoloft: How do They Work?

Prozac, Zoloft, and many other antidepressants are SSRIs. This stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. Serotonin is the chemical in the brain that creates feelings of happiness and wellbeing.

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People who are depressed often do not have as much serotonin as they should.

The chemicals in the brain are released and then broken down during “reuptake”. An SSRI does not affect the release of serotonin, but it keeps the brain from cleaning it up and breaking it down. This means more serotonin builds up, making a person feel more happiness and wellbeing.

By increasing a person’s level of serotonin, these antidepressants help people with depression feel normal again.

Prozac Benefits

The generic name for Prozac is Fluoxetine. So, if you’re on Fluoxetine, you’re taking Prozac under a different name. Let’s look at the benefits of using Prozac for depression.

While Prozac for depression is very effective, it can also treat many other mental health issues like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Panic Disorder as we mentioned earlier. It treats a few more mental disorders than Zoloft can.

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One symptom of depression is low energy. Prozac helps with this symptom and makes people feel more energized after taking it.

Studies are indicating that Prozac can be helpful for children who are struggling with depression or OCD too. It is the only antidepressant that can treat children as young as 7 or 8.

Many antidepressants have negative effects on the heart over time, but Prozac doesn’t have these effects. This means Prozac can be a great option for the elderly population struggling with depression.

Antidepressants can have different effects on a person’s weight. A symptom of depression can be weight gain. Prozac can counteract this by causing weight loss.

This helps people not only fight their depression but get physically healthier too.

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Prozac can be taken in three different forms: pills, delayed-release pills, and liquid. More choices mean each person can take Prozac as they prefer.

Zoloft Benefits

Now, what are the benefits of Zoloft?

The generic name for Zoloft is Sertraline.

It has great effectiveness rates and is tolerated well by most people. Many antidepressants make it hard for people to sleep, but not Zoloft.

If you are pregnant, Zoloft is also the safest antidepressant for the health of your baby.

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Zoloft is also used to treat Bipolar Disorder in children as young as 6. It is not prescribed for any other use in children though.

There is also a generic version that is cheaper for most people. The cheapest generic version of Zoloft is $97 for 100 mg while Prozac’s generic version is $31 for 20 mg. If you want the brand name medications though, the price is much higher.

Zoloft can be taken in two different forms: pills and a liquid.

Prozac vs Zoloft: Negatives

As with any medications, there are some effects that are not as desirable. The common side effects of both Zoloft and Prozac are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiousness

Both Prozac and Zoloft will take 1-2 weeks to take effect, meaning you won’t feel a difference for a week or two. It can also take up to 12 weeks before the medication is fully working. That can be a long time to wait when you’re depressed.

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Another similarity between Prozac and Zoloft is the possibility of withdrawal.

You should not stop taking either medication cold turkey. Your body can get used to having these medications in your system, and it is dangerous to suddenly quit. Talk to your doctor about weaning off these medications rather than trying to stop on your own.

Here are the negatives of each drug.

Prozac

Prozac may lower your sex drive, which for some people is a deal breaker.

Prozac is also more likely than Zoloft to give you dry mouth or sleep problems.

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For people under 24, Prozac can also increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior. If you or someone you love is taking Prozac, make sure to watch for this change!

Zoloft

Now on to Zoloft’s negative effects.

Zoloft can also lower your sex drive and cause an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.

It can also cause weight gain of 1-5 pounds.

Compared to other antidepressants, Zoloft is more likely to cause diarrhea too.

The most dangerous effect of Zoloft though is its interaction with other medications. You have to be careful not to take anything that could create a lethal mix with Zoloft. This means ask your doctor before you take any other medications, even over-the-counter items.

More Information

You’ve seen the pros and cons of Prozac and Zoloft, which are two often prescribed antidepressants. One last reminder though is that you might have to try several different antidepressants before you find the one that’s just right for you. Don’t get discouraged if it takes awhile or if your first try isn’t successful.

If you’re interested in finding out more information on the similarities and differences between Prozac vs Zoloft though, you can find great information in this article!

Which Medication Do You Prefer?

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