Compare Pamelor vs. Zoloft

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.



Improves your mood. Pamelor (Nortriptyline) is a good option for treating depression, especially for people who also have problems with persistent nerve pain.Improves mood and helps you relax. Zoloft (Sertraline) is good for treating depression and anxiety. It's more likely to cause insomnia and diarrhea than other antidepressants.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Zoloft (Sertraline)
18% vs. Pamelor (Nortriptyline)
37% vs. Pamelor (Nortriptyline)
Same vs. Pamelor (Nortriptyline)
1299 reviews
Side effects

We haven’t found good data for Pamelor side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Pamelor »
  • Nausea 19%
  • Ejaculation failure 18%
  • Sleep difficulty 16%
  • Diarrhea/loose stools 14%
  • Fatigue 9%
  • Loss of appetite 9%
  • Lower sex drive 9%
  • Sweating increased 9%
  • Dizziness 8%
  • Indigestion 8%
More Zoloft side effects »
How it works
Pamelor (Nortriptyline) is a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA). It helps improve your mood by altering the levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and other similar chemicals in your brain.Zoloft (Sertraline) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases the activity of serotonin in the brain, which regulates mood.
Type of medication
Tricyclic antidepressant (TCA)
Prescription only
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)
Prescription only
Available as
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
How well it works for depression
The free Iodine Start program helps people track how well they are improving, and find the right antidepressant faster.
The free Iodine Start program (personal reports and coaching) is currently only for antidepressants. For now, you can read our pharmacist info about this medication.Learn more about Pamelor (Nortriptyline)

After 4 weeks using Start and Zoloft (Sertraline), here’s how much better people feel.

Risk factors for serious side effects
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • Age 65 years or older
  • Stopping Pamelor (Nortriptyline) suddenly
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • History of heart disease
  • Older age
  • Electrolyte imbalance
Detailed Pamelor (Nortriptyline) risks & warnings »
  • Under 24 years old
  • Interactions with other medications
      • Stopping Zoloft (Sertraline) suddenly
      • Taking with blood-thinning drugs
      • Elderly
      • Taking with diuretic medications
      Detailed Zoloft (Sertraline) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy category
      NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

      The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

      See the FDA package insert
      CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

      Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

      See the FDA package insert
      No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
      • Take it with food and/or at bedtime to decrease the potential side effects.
      No specific food-related info.
      Kidneys and liver
      No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
      No specific sex-related info.
      • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
      • Stopping Pamelor (Nortriptyline) suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, anxiety, agitation, flu-like symptoms, trouble sleeping, and dizziness. Withdrawal symptoms usually occur within 3-5 days of stopping the medication, and go away within 1-2 weeks. Work with your doctor to gradually reduce your dose.
      • Causes less drowsiness than other antidepressants.
      No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
      Upsides and benefits
      • Helpful with treating certain types of pain, like migraines or nerve-related pain.
      • Generally well tolerated and has fewer side effects than other medicines in the same class of drugs.
      • Effective at lowering symptoms and relapse rates of depression and anxiety disorders.
      • Causes less drowsiness than other antidepressants.
      • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
      Downsides and risks
      • Side effects are usually manageable, but can be annoying.
      • Increases the risk of falls, especially when used in the elderly.
      • There's an increased chance of it causing heart problems, especially in people with a history of heart problems.
      • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
      • More likely to cause diarrhea than other antidepressants.
      • Like most antidepressants, it can cause a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people younger than 24.
      • The first antidepressant you try doesn't always work or it can cause side effects you really don't like. You might need to try a few different medications until you find one that works for you.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      • Needs to be taken every day for 1 to 2 weeks to start feeling better, and for 6 to 8 weeks to see the full effect of the medication.
      • It's important to keep taking Pamelor (Nortriptyline) even when you feel your symptoms are getting better.
      • Take it with food and/or at bedtime to decrease the potential side effects.
      • If you decide to stop taking Pamelor (Nortriptyline), work with your doctor to slowly get off this medicine to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
      • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
      • Takes about 8 to 12 weeks to see the medication's full effects on your mood.
      • It interacts with St. John's Wort and Tryptophan.
      • Stop taking it slowly to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
      • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
      Learn more
      More about PamelorSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      More about ZoloftSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert