Compare Pristiq vs. Zoloft

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

Pristiq
(Desvenlafaxine)

Zoloft
(Sertraline)

Improves mood. Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) is basically the same medication as Effexor, which is cheaper because it's available as a generic.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
4.64Pristiq
Reviews for Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine)
48%
of people say Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) is worth it
45%
say it works well
25%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Zoloft (Sertraline)
59%
+11% vs. Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine)
40%
5% vs. Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine)
15%
+10% vs. Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine)
Side effects
PristiqZoloft
  • Nausea 31%
  • Excessive sweating 17%
  • Dry mouth 16%
  • Dizziness 11%
  • Constipation 10%
  • Impotence 10%
  • Sleep difficulty 9%
  • Decreased appetite 8%
  • Drowsiness 8%
  • Fatigue 7%
More Pristiq 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
PristiqZoloft
Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin and norepinephrine 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
PristiqZoloft
Antidepressant
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)
Prescription only
Antidepressant
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)
Prescription only
Available as
PristiqZoloft
  • Extended release
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
PristiqZoloft
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 Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine), 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
PristiqZoloft
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • Stopping Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) suddenly
  • History of high blood pressure
  • Taking other blood-thinning drugs
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • At risk for bipolar disorder
    Detailed Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) 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
        PristiqZoloft
        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
        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
        No specific food-related info.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 sexual side effects (usually low libido or the inability to have an orgasm or ejaculate).
        • Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) 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
        • Stopping Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) 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
        No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
        Upsides and benefits
        PristiqZoloft
        • Effective at relieving symptoms and lowering relapse rates for depression.
        • 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
        PristiqZoloft
        • Similar to Effexor, without any extra benefits in clinical studies.
        • Can cause sexual side effects (usually low libido or the inability to have an orgasm or ejaculate).
        • Not available in generic form, so it's more expensive.
        • Like most antidepressants, can cause higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people age 24 and younger.
        • 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
        PristiqZoloft
        • Takes 8 to 12 weeks to see full effects on mood.
        • Can cause sweating and high blood pressure.
        • Stop taking slowly to avoid 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 PristiqSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        More about ZoloftSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert