If you are looking for a comparison between Paxil and Zoloft, chances are you're unaware of the antidepressant that works best for your pain. Let's break it down for you.
Paxil and Zoloft are two different and effective antidepressants available today. Here, the term "antidepressant" is a bit misleading as these medications are not only used to treat depression but also treat a wide range of mental health conditions. In 2022, a new study found that nearly 10% of Americans suffer from depression, with mood disorders increasing fastest among teens and young adults.
Continue reading this blog to learn about the similarities and dissimilarities between Paxil and Zoloft and other pharmacological properties that will help you choose the best-suited pain medication.
Paxil (Generic name- Paroxetine) is an antidepressant for treating depression and other psychological conditions. The FDA approved it in 1992 to treat anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and others. It is a Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that is available by prescription only. Paxil comes in two forms: an oral tablet and an oral liquid suspension. It is also known as Paxil CR, a controlled-release tablet designed to release its active ingredient slowly throughout the day. Both formulations are taken once a day. The following table lists the various dosages and strengths of Paxil.
|Paxil immediate-release tablets||10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg|
|Paxil suspension||10 mg/5 ml|
|Paxil CR (controlled-release) tablets||12.5 mg, 25 mg, 37.5 mg|
The FDA-approved uses of Paxil in adults include:
Off-label uses for Paxil include:
Paxil is not FDA-approved for use in children or adolescents under age 18. It is sometimes prescribed off-label in this group for OCD and Social Anxiety disorder.
Zoloft (Generic name- Sertraline). The FDA approved it in 1991 to treat depression and other mood disorders. It is a Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that is available by prescription only. Zoloft comes in two forms: an oral tablet (25 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg) and an oral liquid solution (20 mg/mL). It is usually taken once a day. The FDA-approved uses of Zoloft in adults (and children when age is specified) include:
Off-label uses for Zoloft include:
Paxil is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that helps to balance neurotransmitters in the brain. Specifically, it helps decrease serotonin reuptake, leading to more balanced levels and supporting better mood, feelings of calmness, and overall perception of well-being. Serotonin is a "feel good" hormone that produces feelings of relaxation and happiness.
Zoloft is another selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), like Paxil. It has mood-stabilizing effects and can reduce anxiety, depression, and other mood-related symptoms. This drug works by maintaining high serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is a chemical messenger to pass messages between brain cells. The body usually reabsorbs, or reuptakes, neurotransmitters once the chemical messengers have done their job; SSRIs inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, which leaves more of the mood-boosting hormone in the brain.
Paxil and Zoloft have unique characteristics and properties that make them more efficient drugs than one another. Both drugs vary in pharmacology, morphology, pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic properties. Let us find out about the similarities between these drugs.
|Drug class||Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) Antidepressant||Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) Antidepressant|
|FDA Approval||FDA approved||FDA approved|
|Indications||Major depression, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social Anxiety disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)||Major depression, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social Anxiety disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)|
|Legal status||Not a controlled drug||Not a controlled drug|
|Indications||Treats mental health conditions in adults only||Treats Obsessive-compulsive disorder in children as young as six years old|
|Dosage||Recommended daily dose is 10-60 mg, depending on the indication and response to treatment.||Recommended daily dose is 50-200 mg, depending on the indication and response to treatment.|
|Dosage Form||Available in tablets,
Extended-release tablets and Suspension
|Available in tablets and solution/liquid form|
|Metabolism||Extensive, Metabolized via Liver (CYP2D6-mediated)||Liver-mediated (primarily N-demethylation mainly by CYP2B6; also metabolism by CYP2C19, others)|
|Pregnancy category||Category D||Category C|
|Elimination half-life||21 hours||26 hours|
|Excretion||Renal (64 %) and fecal (36 %)||Urine (40-45 %) and Feces (40-45 %)|
Several clinical trials and studies have been conducted that compare the effectiveness of Paxil and Zoloft. One of the studies conducted in 2000 and the other in 2004 found that both drugs were equally effective in treating the major depressive disorder and panic disorder.
However, Zoloft was found to be slightly better tolerated than Paxil and cause fewer side effects in patients. While most individuals will experience similar relief in symptoms while taking the medications, some may let one drug be better.
Like many medications, Paxil or Zoloft also cause side effects. Because of this reason, your medical practitioner may recommend starting with the lowest possible dose of Paxil or Zoloft for the first 7 to 10 days of treatment.
|Side effects of Paxil||Side effects of Zoloft|
|Insomnia/ Sleepiness||Diarrhea or loose stool|
These are the side effects most frequently reported in clinical studies of each drug. These lists do not include all side effects and not everyone who takes Paxil or Zoloft experiences side effects. If you're experiencing sexual side effects, you must talk about it with your healthcare provider.
Precautions should be taken while taking SSRIs such as Paxil or Zoloft to avoid adverse effects.
Zoloft comes with a boxed warning as well. If an individual thinks of self-harm or experiences suicidal ideation, seek medical attention immediately. This risk can affect anyone at any age but is most increased in children, adolescents, and young adults.
If the signs of increased panic attacks, agitation, worsening anxiety, impulsiveness, restlessness, extreme irritability, or manic behavior occur, inform your healthcare provider.
SSRIs like Paxil and Zoloft have the same effect on the human body, i.e., increasing the level of serotonin, but they are not entirely the same. Each SSRI has a slightly different molecular structure, which means they have unique active ingredients and pharmacological properties. These molecular structures explain why various SSRIs vary slightly in side effects, dosage recommendations, contraindications, and reactions to other medications.
Several medications can interact with SSRIs. Drug interactions can lead to harmful effects. Because of this, it's important to always check with your pharmacist or healthcare provider before starting any new medications, including over-the-counter drugs or dietary supplements.
The most effective medication for you should only be determined by your healthcare provider, who can consider your medical conditions, history, and other drugs that could interact with Paxil or Zoloft.
Zoloft is contraindicated in individuals with certain health conditions or who take specific medications.
Paxil and Zoloft are prescription antidepressants equally effective in treating depression and other common mental health conditions like Anxiety disorders.
However, Zoloft can treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in children as young as six. The medicines cause similar side effects, but studies show that Zoloft was slightly better tolerated than Paxil. However, the best medication depends on the individual's medical history, genetics, medicines, and your healthcare provider's recommendations.
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