Paxil v/s Zoloft

Paxil and Zoloft are medications that have similar functioning and method of action however, vary in a few aspects. To know read further.

What Are Paxil And Zoloft?

Paxil and Zoloft are the medications that are generally prescribed for the treatment of depression, anxiety, and panic. Paxil and Zoloft are both serotonin reuptake inhibitors and are equally effective. Paxil and Zoloft are both Food and drug administration (FDA) approved medications; Paxil is also used for social anxiety (social phobia). It is important to discuss your doubts with a psychiatrist whether you should switch to a new agent that may depend on the previous dose of Zoloft and whether it was pushed to maximum effect.

There are many differences between Paxil and Zoloft; though, one patient may have a different response to Paxil and Zoloft as they are both chemically distinct. In some patients, Paxil might cause sedation, and hence, it is recommended at bedtime, while Zoloft can cause insomnia and therefore is recommended in the morning. This was just an example of the differences. Many differences will be further discussed in the blog.(Zeskind, P.S. and Stephens, L.E., 2004)

Study On The Effectiveness Of Paxil And Zoloft

Several studies have been conducted that compare effectiveness of both Paxil and Zoloft. A survey study conducted in 2004 found out that Paxil and Zoloft were equally effective in treating depression and panic disorder.

However, Zoloft was known to be better tolerated by patients and to cause fewer side effects in patients. Another study in 2000 focused on comparing the effects of Paxil and Zoloft in patients. While most patients experienced similar side effects and relieving symptoms, some found one better than another.

Difference Between Paxil and Zoloft

Drug Class:

The drug class of both of these medications are similar, that is, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Generic Name:

The generic name of Paxil is Paroxetine whereas, the generic name of Zoloft is Sertraline.

Dosage in the form of :

The dosage of Paxil is in the form of Tablets Extended-release tablets Suspension where, on the other hand, the dosage of Zoloft is in the form of Tablets Solution.


The recommended dosage of Paxil is 10-60 mg daily depending on the intensity of the whereas, the dosage of Zoloft is about 50-200 mg per day depending on the intensity and doctor’s consultation.
Treatment duration: In the case of Paxil as well as Zoloft, the treatment is based on a long-term basis depending on the condition.

Who can take this medication:

Paxil can be consumed by children aged 7 years and above and adults. In the case of Zoloft, the drug can be consumed at an age ranging from 6 years and above.

Side Effects Of Paxil And Zoloft

Both Paxil and Zoloft are associated with a long list of side effects. The side effects caused by both medications are known to cause the users to discontinue the medications. Side effects of both Paxil and Zoloft will be discussed below.(Howland, R.H., 2007)


Paxil is known to consist of both common side effects and serious side effects. Side effects that are commonly caused due to Paxil are listed below:

  1. Weakness
  2. Sleepiness
  3. Delayed ejaculation
  4. Dizziness
  5. Sweating
  6. Shaking

Paxil can also cause some serious life-threatening side effects; if you experience any of these side effects, then seek medical help immediately:

  1. New or worsened depression
  2. Suicidal thoughts
  3. Acting on dangerous impulses
  4. New or heightened anxiety or panic attacks
  5. Agitation, anger, or irritability
  6. Aggressive behavior
  7. Swelling or redness in eyes

These are some of the side effects of Paxil, but it is suggested to consume Paxil only with the guidance of a doctor as an individual can experience many more side effects.


Zoloft causes different side effects to children and adults. However, some of the side effects which are common in both adults and children are listed below:

  1. Nausea
  2. Changes in sleep schedules
  3. Increased sweating
  4. Fatigue and drowsiness
  5. Diarrhea
  6. Loss of appetite
  7. Indigestion

Zoloft can cause serious side effects and symptoms that require immediate medical attention and potentially be dangerous. Serious side effects caused by Zoloft are:

  1. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  2. Serotonin syndrome. This can be life-threatening. Symptoms include:
  3. Hallucinations
  4. Nausea
  5. Seizures
  6. Vomiting
  7. Changes in blood pressure
  8. Fast heart rate

In The End

Zoloft and Paxil are drugs that are known to have equal effectiveness in treating depression and other mental health conditions like common anxiety disorders. However, Zoloft is also used in obsessive-compulsive disorders in children as young as seven years. Studies also show that Zoloft may be tolerated better by some patients.(Frank, R.G., 2008)

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