Compare Zoloft vs. Effexor

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

Zoloft
(sertraline)

Effexor
(venlafaxine)

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.Improves mood and helps you relax. Effexor (Venlafaxine) is good for treating depression and anxiety. It may work when other antidepressants haven't, but it's more likely to cause side effects and withdrawal symptoms than other antidepressants.
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 Effexor
62%
-3% worse vs. Zoloft
51%
-10% worse vs. Zoloft
23%
+8% better vs. Zoloft
577 reviews
Have you used Effexor (venlafaxine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
ZoloftEffexor
  • 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 »
  • Nausea 26%
  • Headache 1%
  • Drowsiness 14%
  • Dry mouth 11%
  • Dizziness 11%
  • Sleep difficulty 8%
  • Abnormal ejaculation 16%
  • Constipation 8%
  • Nervousness 17%
  • Muscle weakness 14%
More Effexor side effects »
How it works
ZoloftEffexor
Zoloft (Sertraline) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases the activity of serotonin in the brain, which regulates mood.Effexor (Venlafaxine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulate mood.
Type of medication
ZoloftEffexor
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
ZoloftEffexor
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Used for
ZoloftEffexor
Risk factors for serious side effects
ZoloftEffexor
  • Under 24 years old
  • Interactions with other medications
  • Stopping Zoloft (Sertraline) suddenly
  • Taking with blood-thinning drugs
  • Elderly
Detailed Zoloft (sertraline) risks & warnings »
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • Stopping Effexor (Venlafaxine) suddenly
  • History of high blood pressure
  • Taking other blood-thinning drugs
Detailed Effexor (venlafaxine) 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.

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
ZoloftEffexor
  • It interacts with St. John's Wort and Tryptophan.
No interactions related info.
Sex
ZoloftEffexor
  • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
  • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
Sleep
ZoloftEffexor
  • 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.
No sleep related info.
Upsides and benefits
ZoloftEffexor
  • 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 depression and anxiety symptoms.
  • Lowers relapse rates of depression.
  • Causes more sleepiness than other antidepressants, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
  • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
  • Might work when other antidepressants haven't worked since it affects two chemicals in the brain that impact your mood. Many other antidepressants affect only serotonin, but not norepinephrine too.
Downsides and risks
ZoloftEffexor
  • 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 sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
  • Not the best option for people with high blood pressure.
  • Overdosing on this medication could be fatal.
  • It's more likely to cause nausea and vomiting or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants. Also causes more sleepiness than others.
  • 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
ZoloftEffexor
  • 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.
  • Takes about 8 to 12 weeks to see the medication's full effects on your mood.
  • You can take the extended-release form once a day with food either in the morning or in the evening at about the same time each day.
  • Extended-release capsules should be swallowed whole. If you can’t swallow pills, open the capsule, sprinkle it on a spoonful of applesauce and then swallow it without chewing.
  • 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 ZoloftSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Zoloft (sertraline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about EffexorSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Effexor (venlafaxine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it