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Prozac vs. Zoloft: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 17, 2023
Prozac and Zoloft are both selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) used to treat depression. Prozac contains fluoxetine, while Zoloft contains sertraline.

Key Differences

Prozac and Zoloft are both medications that fall under the category of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). They are commonly prescribed by doctors to treat conditions such as depression, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The mechanism of action for both drugs involves increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain, which is a neurotransmitter believed to influence mood.
However, the main difference between Prozac and Zoloft lies in their chemical composition. Prozac's active ingredient is fluoxetine, while Zoloft's is sertraline. Although their actions in the brain are quite similar, the different chemical structures can lead to variances in side effects, drug interactions, and effectiveness for certain individuals.
Another point of distinction between Prozac and Zoloft is their general applications and FDA approvals. For instance, while both are approved for treating depression in adults, Prozac is also approved for treating depression in children above the age of eight, while Zoloft is approved for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
It's essential for patients not to interchange these medications without a doctor's guidance. Though Prozac and Zoloft have similarities, their distinct characteristics may make one more suitable than the other based on a patient's specific needs and medical history. Ultimately, the prescription of either drug should be based on individual evaluation by a healthcare professional.

Comparison Chart

Generic Name


Drug Category

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI)
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI)

Primary Use

Depression, OCD, panic disorder
Depression, PTSD, PMDD, OCD, panic disorder

Approved Age Group

Adults and children over 8 for depression
Adults (varies by condition)

Common Side Effects

Nausea, upset stomach, dry mouth
Insomnia, dizziness, fatigue

Prozac and Zoloft Definitions


A medication used to treat various mood disorders.
Some patients experience relief from their symptoms after starting Prozac.


A prescription medication primarily used for mood-related disorders.
He began taking Zoloft to manage his panic attacks.


A prescription drug primarily used to treat depression.
Prozac has been on the market for several decades.


A drug used to treat depression, panic disorder, and other conditions.
After discussing her symptoms, the doctor recommended Zoloft.


A drug known to regulate the balance of serotonin in the brain.
Many people know Prozac as one of the first popular SSRIs.


A brand name for the generic drug sertraline.
Zoloft has been beneficial for many individuals with mood disorders.


An antidepressant drug belonging to the SSRI class.
My doctor prescribed Prozac to help manage my depression.


A medication known to affect serotonin levels in the brain.
Zoloft is one of the commonly prescribed SSRIs in the U.S.


A brand name for the generic drug fluoxetine.
She started taking Prozac to help with her anxiety.


An antidepressant medication belonging to the SSRI class.
Zoloft is often prescribed for patients with PTSD.


A selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor commonly prescribed as an antidepressant (trade name Prozac)


A selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor commonly prescribed as an antidepressant (trade name Zoloft)


What is the active ingredient in Prozac?


What about in Zoloft?


Is Zoloft safe during pregnancy?

There are potential risks. Consult with a healthcare provider about the specifics.

Can I switch between Prozac and Zoloft without consulting a doctor?

No, always consult a healthcare professional before making changes to medication.

Do Prozac and Zoloft affect libido?

Both drugs have the potential to affect sexual desire and function; discuss any concerns with a healthcare provider.

What class of medication do Prozac and Zoloft belong to?

Both belong to the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) class.

Are Prozac and Zoloft used for the same conditions?

They both treat depression, OCD, and panic disorder, but they have some different approved uses as well.

Can children take Prozac?

Prozac is approved for treating depression in children over 8, but always consult a doctor.

Can these medications cause weight gain?

Weight changes can be a potential side effect of both Prozac and Zoloft.

How long does it take for Prozac or Zoloft to start working?

Typically, it may take several weeks to notice therapeutic effects.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

Don't double the dose; take the next scheduled dose or consult a pharmacist.

Can I drink alcohol while taking Prozac or Zoloft?

It's best to avoid alcohol as it can intensify drug side effects.

How should I store Prozac and Zoloft?

Store them in a cool, dry place, away from light and children.

Are there withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping Prozac or Zoloft?

Yes, it's crucial to taper off under a doctor's guidance to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Are Prozac and Zoloft addictive?

They aren't considered addictive, but sudden discontinuation can lead to withdrawal symptoms.

Which medication is better for depression?

Effectiveness can vary by individual. A doctor will determine the best option.

Are there generic versions available for Prozac and Zoloft?

Yes, fluoxetine for Prozac and sertraline for Zoloft.

How about Zoloft?

Common side effects of Zoloft include insomnia, dizziness, and fatigue.

Can I take other medications with Prozac or Zoloft?

Always inform your doctor about other medications to avoid potential interactions.

What are the common side effects of Prozac?

Common side effects include nausea, upset stomach, and dry mouth.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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