Paxil vs Zoloft: Effective Tools for Depression Treatment

With the ever-changing lifestyle and many other factors, mental illnesses have become very common nowadays. Although mental illnesses are known since ancient times, people have never been as aware of the corresponding medications as they are now. With time, people have become able to understand that they can get treatment of mental illnesses by taking proper medications. Two of the most common mental illnesses include anxiety and depression. People with depression and anxiety are usually prescribed antidepressants. These are the medicines that are used to cure various symptoms of depression and excessive nervousness. Nowadays, two of the most common antidepressants are Paxil and Zoloft.

If you are someone who is suffering from depression or anxiety, or is taking one of these medicines and wants to switch to the other, you should know about these drugs in detail. In this article, we will provide a comparison of Paxil and Zoloft and try to see which one is better at treating depression and anxiety.

What are Paxil and Zoloft?

Paxil and Zoloft are antidepressant medicines that fall under the category of serotonin reuptake inhibitors. These are the most common kinds of antidepressants that are given to the patients suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, depression, panic disorder, hot flashes, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, social anxiety disorder, bulimia nervosa, and much more. Most of the people find both Paxil and Zoloft efficient in treating their mental illness symptoms. However, in addition to their benefits, these medicines come with some side effects as well, and thus need to be taken with precautions.

Side effects of Paxil and Zoloft

Antidepressants are known to cause many side effects in the patients. This is why these medicines are only taken under doctor's supervision and in controlled quantities. Regular overdose of these drugs can cause addiction or lead to other various harmful results. Most of the side effects of Paxil and Zoloft are associated with withdrawal syndrome and they can sometimes be very severe. Some of the side effects of Paxil and Zoloft are as follows:

  • Dizziness: One of the most common side effects of Paxil and Zoloft is dizziness. It can happen due to overdose of the medicines.
  • Gastrointestinal troubles: Taking these medicines can cause some gastrointestinal troubles, such as loose motions, constipation, stomach pain, and much more.
  • Nausea: Nausea and vomiting can also be caused by Paxil and Zoloft. However, it goes away as the body adjusts to the medicines.
  • Fatigue: Another side effect of Paxil and Zoloft is fatigue. It can be a withdrawal symptom of these medicines as well.
  • Irritability: Irritability is a common withdrawal symptom of Paxil and Zoloft. This can cause a person to have mood swings and lose focus.
  • Muscle pain: Body pain and muscle pain are two other things that affect the people who are trying to quit Paxil and Zoloft.
  • Tremors: Tremors or unnecessary shaking of the limbs are also considered to be a side effect of taking Paxil and Zoloft. You should consult your doctor if this is affecting you on a daily basis.
  • Headaches and visual hallucinations: Common side effects that most people face while being treated with Zoloft or Paxil include headaches and visual hallucinations. These can be really scary if you don't get a proper therapy.
  • Abnormal dreams and withdrawal buzz: Withdrawal buzz is a symptom that happens during the withdrawal period and included sweating, tingling sensations in the legs and much more. You might also get abnormal dreams disrupting your sleep. Please, note that withdrawal symptoms are really common with these medicines and your health care provider should be informed if you have any if these symptoms.

Differences between Paxil and Zoloft

Even though both Paxil and Zoloft belong to the antidepressants type of medicines and share the same function, they also differ in many ways. The biggest differences between Paxil and Zoloft are listed below:

  • Side effects: Although all antidepressants have side effects, some medicines are more dangerous than the other in terms of unwanted consequences. If we compare two discussed medicines, Paxil has more adverse effects and withdrawal symptoms than to Zoloft.
  • Sexual dysfunctions: One of the major side effects of Paxil is that it causes sexual dysfunction which involves lack of sexual desire and late orgasms. Although Zoloft is also associated with sexual dysfunctions, its effects are not so severe.
  • Effects on the sleeping regime: Paxil might cause sedation in the user and hence it is advised to take it before going to sleep. At the same time, Zoloft often causes insomnia, so it should be taken upon awakening.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnant women can take Zoloft in small proportions as prescribed by the doctor. However, it is prohibited to take Paxil during pregnancy because it can cause dysfunctions in the child and birth defects. But in general, it is advised to stay away from similar drugs during pregnancy.
  • Weight gain: Both Paxil and Zoloft lead to weight gain in the user. The only difference is that the weight gain that happens due to Zoloft is extremely low and can be better controlled than the same effect of Paxil.
  • Stomach problems: Taking Paxil leads to more digestion problems than Zoloft treatment. The possible stomach problems include constipation, stomach ache, and much more.
  • Age of use: Paxil is not given to children since it can cause really bad side effects in them. Whereas Zoloft is safe for children.
  • Price tag: The price of these drugs varies greatly. Both of them are available in generic and branded forms. Paxil has a price tag of around $57 whereas Zoloft is much cheaper as it costs $8-9.


Depression and anxiety are two mental disorders that are really common amongst people and require an appropriate treatment. Paxil and Zoloft are two of the many available medicines that are used to treat mental illnesses. However, these drugs also come with serious side effects and Drug Interactions. Hence, it is very important for you to contact your doctor and tell him everything about your health conditions and the medications you are currently taking before you start your Paxil or Zoloft treatment.