Compare Zoloft vs. Ativan

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

Zoloft
(sertraline)

Ativan
(lorazepam)

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.Helps you relax. Ativan (lorazepam) is an effective medicine for occasional or short-term anxiety. It's less likely to have drug interactions, but more likely to cause withdrawal symptoms compared to similar drugs.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.74Zoloft
Reviews for Zoloft
59%
of people (All ages) say Zoloft is worth it
41%
say it works well
15%
say it's a big hassle
1472 reviews
Have you used Zoloft (sertraline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Ativan
71%
-12% worse vs. Zoloft
51%
-10% worse vs. Zoloft
15%
Same vs. Zoloft
642 reviews
Have you used Ativan (lorazepam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
ZoloftAtivan
  • Nausea 14%
  • Diarrhea/loose stools 9%
  • Sleep difficulty 7%
  • Mouth dry 7%
  • Drowsiness 7%
  • Dizziness 5%
  • Tremor 8%
  • Fatigue 3%
  • Sweating increased 5%
  • Constipation 2%
More Zoloft side effects »
  • Sleepiness 16%
  • Dizziness 7%
  • Weakness 4%
  • Unsteadiness 3%
More Ativan side effects »
How it works
ZoloftAtivan
Zoloft (Sertraline) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases the activity of serotonin in the brain, which regulates mood.Ativan (lorazepam) is a fast-acting benzodiazepine. It affects areas of the brain that help calm you down. This reduces anxiety and can cause sleepiness.
Type of medication
ZoloftAtivan
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
ZoloftAtivan
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Injection
Used for
ZoloftAtivan
Risk factors for serious side effects
ZoloftAtivan
  • Under 24 years old
  • Interactions with other medications
  • Stopping Zoloft (Sertraline) suddenly
  • Taking with blood-thinning drugs
  • Elderly
Detailed Zoloft (sertraline) risks & warnings »
  • Taking with opioids
  • Taking more than the prescribed dose
  • Taking Ativan (lorazepam) for longer than 4 weeks
  • History of drug abuse
  • Long-term use
Detailed Ativan (lorazepam) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

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
ZoloftAtivan
  • It interacts with St. John's Wort and Tryptophan.
  • Less likely to have drug interactions compared to other drugs like it, so it might be a better option if you're taking multiple medications.
Alcohol
ZoloftAtivan
No alcohol related info.
  • Not safe to use with alcohol.
  • Can be habit-forming, so it's not typically used for long-term treatment or for people who've had problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
Sex
ZoloftAtivan
  • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
No sex related info.
Sleep
ZoloftAtivan
  • 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.
  • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
Upsides and benefits
ZoloftAtivan
  • 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.
  • Effective at relieving short-term anxiety.
  • Can be used together with antidepressants to manage anxiety disorders. Especially helpful for anxiety symptoms while you wait for an antidepressant to kick in.
  • Less likely to have drug interactions compared to other drugs like it, so it might be a better option if you're taking multiple medications.
Downsides and risks
ZoloftAtivan
  • 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.
  • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
  • Can be habit-forming, so it's not typically used for long-term treatment or for people who've had problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Compared to other similar medicines, Ativan (lorazepam) is more likely to cause withdrawal if you take it for a long time and then suddenly stop.
  • Most people find that Ativan (lorazepam) gets less effective over time.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
ZoloftAtivan
  • 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.
  • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Take only as much as your doctor prescribes. Taking more than directed or taking this for a long time can cause you to become dependent on it.
  • Not safe to use with alcohol.
  • Use caution or avoid use in older adults.
Learn more
More about ZoloftSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Zoloft (sertraline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about AtivanSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Ativan (lorazepam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it