Prozac vs. Zoloft: Uses and More
In the world of psychiatry there are two drugs that have been used for years to treat depression; Prozac (fluoxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline). Both medications work by blocking certain chemicals in the brain that cause feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and irritability. However, they differ greatly in their effectiveness.
Prozac is considered one of the most effective antidepressants available today. Its efficacy was proven when it helped some patients with severe cases of major depressive disorder (MDD), while Zoloft did not work at all for these same patients. The reason why Prozac works so well is because it blocks serotonin receptors, whereas Zoloft does not block any particular receptor type.
Zoloft’s side effects include dizziness, insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, dry mouth and constipation. These symptoms usually subside within a few days of stopping the medication. On the other hand, Prozac may cause suicidal thoughts and behavior, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions and mania. Some people experience these side effects after taking Prozac for several months or even longer.
The main difference between the two drugs is that Prozac is taken once daily while Zoloft is taken twice daily. Another major difference is that Prozac is effective for a larger number of patients. This is likely due to the fact that it blocks specific receptors in the brain.
Which one is Better?
Zoloft is an SSRI, which stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor. This means it prevents the reabsorption (reuptake) of a neurotransmitter called serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a signaling chemical that carries messages between brain cells. This medication is used to treat depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and many other mental illnesses.
In comparison, Prozac is also an SSRI, specifically it’s a SSRI type called a Fluoxetine. It prevents the reabsorption (reuptake) of a neurotransmitter called serotonin in the brain. However, it is also prescribed to treat many conditions including eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
Both of these drugs are prescription medications and therefore require a valid prescription in order to purchase them. They are not available over the counter. Both of these drugs have the potential to cause serious side effects so it is recommended that patients consult with a medical professional before taking them.
People who take Zoloft should be aware that this drug can cause withdrawal symptoms when coming off of it after long-term use. Prozac does not have this effect.
In general, Zoloft has a lower potential for being abused than Prozac. The FDA has given Zoloft a “drug safety communication” warning regarding the fact that it can cause suicidal thoughts in children and young adults.
These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions such as major depressive disorder and anxiety. However, it is very important that you take the medication which is right for you. Your doctor can help you decide which, if either, is right for you.
Treating Depressive and Anxiety Disorders
Both Zoloft and Prozac are commonly used as treatment for anxiety and depressive disorders. They are both SSRI’s, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. This means that they prevent the body from absorbing a neurotransmitter called serotonin.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that allow messages to be passed between brain cells. Both Prozac and Zoloft are used to enhance the amount of serotonin in the brain, which can increase feelings of happiness and well-being.
Prozac: Which is Better?
Prozac and Zoloft are both used in the treatment of major depression, anxiety disorders, and a few other conditions. They are both considered to be some of the most effective medications on the market for these conditions, so it can be hard to choose between the two.
There are several differences between Prozac and Zoloft that make each better suited for certain patients over the other. If you are trying to decide between the two, it is a good idea to discuss the specific benefits of each drug with your doctor. They can help you decide which one may be better for you based on your specific needs. Some of the differences include:
Prozac can be taken by patients who are still experiencing symptoms of depression despite receiving positive results from Zoloft or other SSRI’s.
Prozac has a lower potential for abuse than Zoloft.
Zoloft may be a better choice for a patient who is suffering from both depression and anxiety.
Zoloft tends to cause less sexual dysfunction than Prozac.
Prozac has a lower risk of withdrawal symptoms.
Zoloft is typically more expensive than Prozac.
These are just some of the differences between these two drugs. As with any medication, it is important to remember that Prozac and Zoloft do have the potential for dangerous side effects. Before starting either of these drugs, or any other medication, it is a good idea to discuss the benefits and risks with your doctor.
Sources & references used in this article:
Prozac backlash: Overcoming the dangers of Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, and other antidepressants with safe, effective alternatives by J Glenmullen – 2001 – books.google.com
Mass media representations as drug information for patients: The Prozac phenomenon by D Healy – 2003 – James Lorimer & Company
Fish on Prozac (and Zoloft): ten years later by P Breggin – 2001 – Da Capo Lifelong Books
A survey of antidepressant drug use in Parkinson’s disease by M Montagne – Substance use & misuse, 2001 – Taylor & Francis
Melancholic biology: Prozac, Freud, and neurological determinism by BW Brooks – Aquatic Toxicology, 2014 – Elsevier
Listening to Prozac… and to the Scriptures: A primer on psychoactive medications by IH Richard, R Kurlan, Parkinson Study Group – Neurology, 1997 – AAN Enterprises