OverviewDosageSide EffectsInteractionsHalf-Life

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are medications prescribed to treat a variety of mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression. Lexapro (escitalopram) and Zoloft are two commonly prescribed SSRIs, though each can treat different conditions.

If you and your doctor determine an antidepressant to be effective in treating your symptoms, it is critical to discuss your options in-depth before deciding on which medication to take.

What’s the difference between Lexapro and Zoloft?

There are multiple differences between the two medications. One of the main differences, however, is the various and differing mental health conditions each medication can treat.

In general, physicians prescribe Lexapro to treat:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Depression, including depression related to Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

In comparison, physicians generally prescribe Zoloft to treat:

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
  • Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Aswell as what lexapro treats as listed above

Please note that this list is not complete. Further, it is critical to talk with your doctor about which medication is right for you, based on your individual needs. Side effects of each medication may differ from one individual to another, so always communicate any that you experience with your prescribing physician.

Is Zoloft or Lexapro better for anxiety?

The answer to this question will depend. Again, it is absolutely necessary and critical to discuss your symptoms in-depth with your prescribing physician before starting treatment with either of these medications. Your physician may even refer you to a psychiatrist in order to properly diagnose you if your symptoms are severe.

Please note the conditions mentioned above that Lexapro and Zoloft treat vary in terms of anxiety symptoms. It is critical to receive a proper diagnosis from your doctor and/or psychiatrist before starting treatment with prescription medicine. Always follow up with your doctor(s) in regards to any side effects you experience during treatment. If needed, your doctor will alter your dosage or offer to prescribe you a different medication based on your individual needs.

The Bottom Line

To say that one medication is more effective than the other is limited here. The effectiveness of each medication will depend entirely on the individual and the mental health condition(s) it intends to treat.

Always talk with your physician about the symptoms you are experiencing before starting treatment with medication. This way, they will be able to properly diagnose you and determine which medication is right for you.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

More about Lexapro

Written by

Fact Checked by