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Zoloft vs. Paxil for Anxiety Disorder
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by John C, Oct 16, 1999
For someone that is seeking treatment for an anxiety disorder, what are the meaningful differences between Zoloft and Paxil? I know that they are both SRI's and have similar side-effects. I guess Zoloft stays in your system longer than Paxil. I have been on Zoloft before for several years off and on, usually between 50 and 100 mgs, but have stopped taking it for about 3 months. I have not suffered from any withdrawal symptoms. My anxiety symptoms and associated depression which led me to take Zoloft in the first place persist and have increased in intensity on some episodes. Zoloft definitely helped me with these symptoms but never completely rid me of them. I am now considering Paxil since it appears to be more directed to social anxiety disorder which is definitely my core problem. I have concerns however because I've seen many postings discussing the difficulties of getting off Paxil. I have not seen such discussions about getting off Zoloft. Please tell me more about Paxil and whether it is more risky than Zoloft. Thank you.
Answer:
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by HFHS M.D.-SW, Oct 18, 1999
Dear John C

Good question.
Paxil and Zoloft are effective treatment for depression, anxiety and panic.
Both are serotonin reuptake inhibitors and are equally effective.  It is truethough that one patient may have more response to one versus the other, as they are chemically distinct.
In some patients Paxil may cause sedation and is therefore
recommended at bedtime.
Zoloft may cause insomnia and therefore taken upon awakening.

Paxil has been FDA approved for social anxiety (social phobia).  It is assumed that all of the SSRI help with this disorder, although the largest body of research is with Paxil.
Discuss your concerns with your psychiatrist.
Whether you switch to a new agent may depend on your previous dose of Zoloft and whether it was pushed to the maximum effective dose.

Sincerely,

HFHS M.D.-SW

Related Discussions
Member Comments (8)
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by mike c., Dec 15, 1999
In the answer to this post this statement was made:

>Whether you switch to a new agent may depend on your previous >dose of Zoloft and whether it was pushed to
>     the maximum effective dose.

Why is this so?  Thank you.
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by Deedee, Apr 23, 2000
I just started taking paxil and at the same time i am also trying
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by Deedee, Apr 23, 2000
I just started taking paxil and at the same time i am also tryin
g to stop drinking alchohol, everyone says dont drink alchohol while taking paxil but they never say why...does it cause liver
failure or what?  whats the reasoning?
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by Kate, Apr 27, 2000
Zoloft and Alcohol.  What are the affects?
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by Carol K., May 08, 2000
My mother is 95 years old, had been under treatment for osteoporosis, but no other illness.  Her doctor prescribed Zoloft because her caregiver said she cried a lot and was getting more unstable in walking, but she wasn't seen by a psychologist or counselor to figure out whether she was really depressed enough to take an anti-depressant.  Now my mother is in bed all the time, doesn't walk anymore, but sleeps about 90% of the time. She has terrific vital signs. She seems too weak to do anything for herself and is getting weaker and weaker by just being in bed. She is still on Zoloft. I can't help but wonder whether she might be less lethargic and bed-bound if she were not taking Zoloft.  What do you think?
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by Carol K., May 09, 2000
My mother is 95 years old, had been under treatment for osteoporosis, but no other illness.  Her doctor prescribed Zoloft because her caregiver said she cried a lot and was getting more unstable in walking, but she wasn't seen by a psychologist or counselor to figure out whether she was really depressed enough to take an anti-depressant.  Now my mother is in bed all the time, doesn't walk anymore, but sleeps about 90% of the time. She has terrific vital signs. She seems too weak to do anything for herself and is getting weaker and weaker by just being in bed. She is still on Zoloft. I can't help but wonder whether she might be less lethargic and bed-bound if she were not taking Zoloft.  What do you think?
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by Tony T., Jun 18, 2000
I remember when I read the initial instructions, for Zoloft, there was 52 weeks time limit.  No elaboration on what if you use it longer,  when you get weaned is there any withdrawal symptom, or relapse of condition.
I'm 68, suffered stress-depression for a long time.  The 1st medicine was Doxoepen, then Prozac & Paxil before Zoloft.
Although Zoloft 150mg is the best of them, I can
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by Tony T., Jun 18, 2000
I remember when I read the initial instructions, for Zoloft, there was 52 weeks time limit.  No elaboration on what if you use it longer,  when you get weaned is there any withdrawal symptom, or relapse of condition.
I'm 68, suffered stress-depression for a long time.  The 1st medicine was Doxoepen, then Prozac & Paxil before Zoloft.
Although Zoloft 150mg is the best of them, I can