Compare Paxil vs. Zoloft

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

Paxil
(Paroxetine)

Zoloft
(Sertraline)

Improves mood and helps you relax. Paxil (Paroxetine) is good for treating depression and anxiety but it causes more weight gain, sleepiness, and withdrawal symptoms than other antidepressants.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
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.516587677725118Paxil
Reviews for Paxil (Paroxetine)
52%
of people say Paxil (Paroxetine) is worth it
39%
say it works well
23%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Zoloft (Sertraline)
59%
+7% vs. Paxil (Paroxetine)
40%
+1% vs. Paxil (Paroxetine)
15%
+8% vs. Paxil (Paroxetine)
Side effects
PaxilZoloft
  • Abnormal ejaculation† 27%
  • Ejaculatory disturbance 26%
  • Nausea 22%
  • Dry mouth 19%
  • Drowsiness 17%
  • Lower sex drive 11%
  • Diarrhea 11%
  • Sleep difficulty 11%
  • Constipation 10%
  • Decreased libido 10%
More Paxil side effects »
  • 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
PaxilZoloft
Paxil (Paroxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin activity in the brain, which regulates mood.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
PaxilZoloft
Antidepressant
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)
Prescription only
Antidepressant
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)
Prescription only
Available as
PaxilZoloft
  • Pill
  • Extended release tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
PaxilZoloft
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.

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

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

Risk factors for serious side effects
PaxilZoloft
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • Stopping Paxil (Paroxetine) suddenly
  • Taking other blood-thinning drugs
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • At risk for bipolar disorder
      Detailed Paxil (Paroxetine) 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
          PaxilZoloft
          DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

          Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

          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
          Alcohol
          No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
          Food
          • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
          No specific food-related info.
          Kidneys and liver
          No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
          Sex
          • Can cause more sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate than most antidepressants.
          • Paxil (Paroxetine) can cause lower sex drive or difficulty having an orgasm. If the problem persists after the first 2 to 3 months, you can talk to your doctor about alternative antidepressants or performance-enhancing medications.
          • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
          Sleep
          • It causes drowsiness, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
          • Stopping Paxil (Paroxetine) suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, anxiety, agitation, flu-like symptoms, trouble sleeping, and dizziness. Withdrawal symptoms usually occur within 3 days of stopping the medication, and go away within 1 to 2 weeks. Work with your doctor to gradually reduce your dose.
          • Causes less drowsiness than other antidepressants.
          Weight
          • More likely to cause minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants.
          • Can cause weight gain, which can be helpful if you've recently lost weight or have a low appetite.
          No specific weight-related info.
          Upsides and benefits
          PaxilZoloft
          • Effective at relieving depression and anxiety symptoms.
          • Lowers relapse rates of depression and anxiety disorders, including OCD, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
          • It causes drowsiness, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
          • Can cause weight gain, which can be helpful if you've recently lost weight or have a low appetite.
          • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
          • 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
          PaxilZoloft
          • Can cause more sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate than most antidepressants.
          • More likely to cause minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants.
          • Can harm an unborn child, so you can't take it if you're pregnant.
          • Like most antidepressants, it can cause a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people younger than age 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.
          • 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
          PaxilZoloft
          • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
          • The controlled-release (CR) tablet can cause less nausea than other forms.
          • Don’t crush, break, or chew the Paxil (Paroxetine) controlled-release tablet or the Pexeva film-coated tablets.
          • It’s best to take Paxil (Paroxetine) in the morning, except Brisdelle, which can be taken at bedtime.
          • Takes about 8 to 12 weeks to see the medication's full effects on your mood.
          • Stop taking it slowly to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
          • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
          • It interacts with St. John's Wort and Tryptophan.
          • Takes about 8 to 12 weeks to see the medication's full effects on your mood.
          • 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 PaxilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
          More about ZoloftSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert