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.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.53Paxil
Reviews for Paxil
52%
of people (All ages) say Paxil is worth it
39%
say it works well
24%
say it's a big hassle
694 reviews
Have you used Paxil (Paroxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Zoloft
59%
-7% worse vs. Paxil
41%
-2% worse vs. Paxil
15%
-9% worse vs. Paxil
1472 reviews
Have you used Zoloft (Sertraline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
PaxilZoloft
  • Rash 1%
  • Oropharynx Disorder† 2%
  • Dyspepsia 1%
  • Myopathy 1%
  • Myalgia 1%
  • Drugged Feeling 1%
  • Taste Perversion 2%
  • Female Genital Disorders‡Þ 2%
  • Palpitation 2%
  • Vasodilation 2%
More Paxil side effects »
  • Anorexia 1%
  • Dyspepsia 3%
  • Agitation 2%
  • Ejaculation Failure 7%
  • Sweating Increased 5%
  • Constipation 2%
  • Tremor 8%
  • Fatigue 3%
  • Dizziness 5%
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
Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availablePrescription onlyLower-cost generic available
Available as
PaxilZoloft
  • Pill
  • Extended release tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for
PaxilZoloft
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
Detailed Paxil (Paroxetine) risks & warnings »
  • Under 24 years old
  • Interactions with other medications
  • Stopping Zoloft (Sertraline) suddenly
  • Taking with blood-thinning drugs
  • Elderly
Detailed Zoloft (Sertraline) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

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.

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.

Interactions
PaxilZoloft
No interactions related info.
  • It interacts with St. John's Wort and Tryptophan.
Food
PaxilZoloft
  • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
No food related info.
Sex
PaxilZoloft
No sex related info.
  • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
Sleep
PaxilZoloft
  • It causes drowsiness, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
  • Zoloft (Sertraline) may increase the risk of low sodium levels in the blood (hyponatremia). Watch out for symptoms including headache, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, confusion, weakness, and unsteadiness, which may lead to falls. Talk to a doctor right away before developing more serious symptoms, such as hallucination, fainting, coma, and death.
  • Causes less drowsiness than other antidepressants.
Weight
PaxilZoloft
  • Can cause weight gain, which can be helpful if you've recently lost weight or have a low appetite.
  • More likely to cause minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants.
No 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 PaxilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Paxil (Paroxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about ZoloftSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Zoloft (Sertraline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it