Zoloft vs Prozac: Which Is Better For The Treatment Of Depression?

Zoloft and Prozac are widely used antidepressants. Both of these medications are used for the treatment of mental health problems such as depression and panic attacks. But which of them is more effective- Zoloft or Prozac? Let us know more about it.

What is Zoloft?

Zoloft is a drug used as a medication for various mental health problems suffered by an individual, such as Depression and anxiety disorders. Sertraline is the generic name of Zoloft. Zoloft is a member of the drug group known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI). Zoloft was approved in the year 1991, and since it has been used widely for the medication of mental health problems.

What is Prozac?

Prozac is also a member of the drug class Selective Serotonin Reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and is used to treat mental health issues. It is generically known as Fluoxetine. Prozac was approved in the year 1987. It is used as an effective medicine for the treatment of depression and other mental problems.

Use of Zoloft:

As discussed earlier, Zoloft, being a part of the SSRI (Antidepressants) drug group, works against mental health problems. It is primarily prescribed for the medication of major depressive disorder. It is also used to treat panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Zoloft can also be used as a combination therapy. It also acts as a medication for premenstrual dysphoric disorder in women. 

Use of Prozac:

Prozac is an antidepressant drug. As the name suggests, it helps treat major depression, panic disorder, and social anxiety problems. Prozac is significantly used to treat Bulimia Nervosa. It is an eating disorder in which a person follows binge eating patterns and consumes food in large quantities. Prozac can also be used along with Zyprexa during the treatment of Bipolar Disorder to reduce manic depression. 

Working of Zoloft:

Sertraline is the active ingredient present in Zoloft. It works as a treatment for depression by increasing the level of certain natural substances in the brain called Serotonin. Serotonin helps the brain in maintaining a proper balance of mental health. This helps in reducing overthinking and the urge to do repetitive tasks.

Working of Prozac:

Prozac has Fluoxetine as its active ingredient present. It acts against depression and mental health issues by affecting the chemical messengers called neurotransmitters which send signals to brain cells. It helps to improve mood and increases appetite, energy level, and sleep which makes people distract from mental problems. It provides rest to the brain by discontinuing the signals sent to it.

Who Should Not Take it:

Zoloft

One should not take Zoloft if:

1. Allergic to Sertraline

2. Using MAO inhibitor 

3. Liver or kidney disorders

4. Bleeding problems

5. Seizures

6. Herbal medicines

7. Bipolar disorder

8. Asthma

9. Using NSAIDs

10. Women in their last three months of pregnancy 

11. Breastfeeding women

Who Should Not Take it:

Prozac

One should not take Prozac if:

1. Taking any other antidepressants

2. Having asthma and heart problems

3. Consuming narcolepsy medicine

4. Having MAO inhibitors

5. Allergic to Fluoxetine       

6. Liver problems

7. Problems in urination

8. Diabetes

9. Glaucoma

10. Below the age of 18

11. Women in their last three months of pregnancy

12. Breastfeeding women

Pregnant women can take Zoloft and Prozac only when needed and prescribed by the doctor. 

One should inform the doctor about his entire medical history and allergies before taking the medicines to eliminate the risk of adverse effects.

Dosage:

Zoloft

Zoloft is an oral medication and is available in the form of tablets and liquids. It can be taken with or without food once in the morning or the evening.

The starting dose of Zoloft for adults should be 50 mg for MDD, OCD, and PMDD in women, while 25 mg is the ideal starting dose for PTSD and SAD.

Depending upon the response and tolerability, it can range up to 50-200 mg as the treatment proceeds. 

For children below 12, the dosage amount is 25 mg, while for the age group 13-17, it can be 50 mg. 

A proper dose-measuring device should be used for Zoloft liquid and should be diluted first with any liquid such as water, ginger ale, and orange juice before use.

Dosage:

Prozac

Prozac is also an oral medication that is available as tablets, capsules, and liquids for consumption. 

The initial dosage of Prozac for adults should be 20 mg per day.

It can be changed to a 20 mg dose once or twice a daily, depending upon the improvement and response. 

The maximum daily consumption of Prozac should not be greater than 80 mg.

The initial dosage for children can be 10 mg per day, increasing to 20 mg daily after several weeks. 

For the treatment of Bulimia, 60 mg per day is the ideal dosage.

Side Effects:

Zoloft

Following are the common side effects observed after the medication of Zoloft:

1. Nausea

2. Indigestion

3. Sweating

4. Loss of interest in sex

5. Tremors

6. Tiredness

There are serious side effects associated with Zoloft, which require immediate medical help and medication termination.

1. Seizures

2. Allergic reactions like itching, rash

3. Difficulty in breathing

4. Change in vision

5. Problems in memory

6. Increased energy

7. Hallucination

8. Fast heart rate

Side Effects:

Prozac

Following are some of the common side effects of taking Prozac:

1. Headache

2. Sleep problems

3. Pain and weakness

4. Loss of appetite 

5. Decreased sex interest

6. Dry mouth

Following are the serious side effects that can be caused due to Prozac that require emergency doctor help:

1. Suicidal thoughts

2. Allergic skin reactions

3. Constant mood changes

4. Hyperactivity

5. Trouble in breathing

6. Shivering

7. Loss of coordination

8. Irregularity in heart rate  

Which is More Effective?

Zoloft and Prozac are both antidepressants and work for the exact cause. They help an individual deal with their mental health problems and maintain an optimal mental balance. 

A study was conducted by E.Aguglia Et al. to evaluate the efficacy of Zoloft and Prozac in the treatment of major depression in a total of 88 patients. 48 people were given a 72 mg dosage of Zoloft, while 40 people were given a 28 mg dosage of Prozac.

Significant improvement was seen in both the drug groups, and no major difference was observed. The incidence of adverse events was about 40.4% in the Zoloft group and 39.3% in the Prozac group. Prozac group participants faced adverse effects in a higher intensity as compared to the Zoloft group. But both the medicine groups were equally effective and showed similar results.

Most of the side effects and drug interactions associated with both these drugs are common. Prozac has an advantage over Zoloft as it can also be used as a medication for Bulimia. Still, on the other side, Zoloft can be used as a combination therapy, unlike Prozac.

Prescription of Zoloft and Prozac depends upon the doctor and how your body will react to them. But both Zoloft and Prozac are equally effective antidepressants. One should consult the doctor and convey the entire medical history to the proper selection of medicine between Zoloft and Prozac.

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