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Paxil and Zoloft – what is the difference? After all, they are quite similar. Both, for instance, are prescription drugs that can treat depression and anxiety. That said, there are some notable differences between the two.

Paxil

Paxil, also known by its generic name paroxetine hydrochloride (its primary ingredient), is an antidepressant that treats major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and anxiety.

Uses

Paxil is approved for the treatment of:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder (PD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

How it Works

Paxil is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which means it helps maintain high levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a “feel good” hormone that produces feelings of relaxation and happiness.

Zoloft

Also known by its generic name sertraline (its primary ingredient), Zoloft is an antidepressant that medical providers prescribe to treat major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and panic disorder.

Uses

Zoloft has received FDA approval for the treatment of:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder (PD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)

How it Works

Like Paxil, Zoloft is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). This drug works by maintaining high serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that works as a chemical messenger to pass messages between brain cells. The body usually reabsorbs, or reuptakes, neurotransmitters once the chemical messengers have done their job once; SSRIs inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, which leaves more of the mood-boosting hormone in the brain.

Paxil vs Zoloft – What’s the Difference?

Zoloft and Paxil are similar in many ways. The FDA has approved both for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder (PD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social anxiety disorder (SAD), for example.

They are different in that Zoloft is also approved for the treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), whereas Paxil is not. Also, Paxil is approved for use in the treatment of the generalized anxiety disorder, whereas Zoloft is not. They also contain different active ingredients: Zoloft contains sertraline whereas Paxil contains paroxetine.

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