Aa
Aa
A
A
A
Close
Avatar universal

sertraline vs. zoloft

I used to be on zoloft for 4 yrs and felt good...stopped for 6 months and on my 3rd week of sertraline right now not feeling as good the first time around. Is there a difference with the two drugs?
38 Responses
Sort by: Helpful Oldest Newest
Avatar universal
Here's a theory to sleep on.  I've been on a generic anti-anxiety drug, Xanax, made by Greenstone (generic arm of Pfizer) since 2000.  It was, by far, the best generic Xanax available (up until 2 years ago.)  What happened?  This generic  (called alprazolam) was probably actually the identical name brand Xanax manufactured by Pfizer. Pfizer simply sends the true Xanax formula to Greenstone; Greenstone just puts a generic number on it, so you are really buying and taking the name brand Xanax.  A pharmacy manager told me this is a very common practice among big pharma.  As of 2 years ago, I find Pfizer's generic Xanax now has NO EFFICACY!   Why?  My guess:  Pfizer has been trying to purchase another pharmaceutical company offshore (Ireland) to save federal taxes Pfizer must pay to the IRS. And Pfizer has been waiting for government approval of this purchase all this time. Pfizer's potential purchase of this drug company (Allergan) is a huge incentive for Pfizer to cut costs and  try to make their generic drugs as cheaply as possible (using a new cheap formula, instead of simply passing down the REAL Xanax to Greenstone.) By doing this, Pfizer's income statement shows the largest profits possible on paper to Allergan's  board of directors.  And if that's the case,  there is a higher probablility the Allergan board will approve the sale of their firm to Pfizer.

So if Pfizer has done this to their generic version of Xanax, whose to say they aren't playing the same game with Zoloft and their Greenstone generic, Setraline?  

Why did generic drugs come on the scene in the late 70's?  (Prior to that there were no such things as generic prescriptions.)  Can you say, nursing homes, skyrocketing government medicare costs, skyrocketing hospital costs, VA hospitals, etc? (All subsidized by the government.) Generics are a way to keep government's medical expenditures down, at the expense of the Americans who depend upon 1st line quality name-brand drugs.  Do you think anyone on Capitol Hill actually takes generic drugs when the name brand is available?  
Helpful - 1
Avatar universal
From my research, most sertraline (generic for Zoloft) are not made in the US. This means that the standards and some of the ingredients are not the same, and there is virtually no oversight. There is "Northstar sertraline," which was previously available at Target; "Camber sertraline," available at Target and CVS; "Greenstone sertraline," available at Walgreens, and "Teva sertraline," which is made in Israel--I'm not sure where that is available. I don't know where the others are made, but very likely abroad. A number of people who have written on this subject have complained of significant differences between Zoloft and the various generic sertralines, usually saying that the generics are less potent (which has been my own experience), and at least one person, regarding the "Greenstone sertraline," that it is more potent.  In any case, it is not true that sertraline is just Zoloft under another name. Far from it.
Helpful - 1
Avatar universal
Mal, I have just had the same experience. I have been on Zoloft now for over 10 years. My pharmacist substituted 2 repeats for the genereic Setrona. With  the first repeat of Setrona issued I began having frequent episodes of depression. At the time I thought it may have been due to circumstances in my life, so I decided to persevere with a second repeat of Setrona. I spent the next 4 weeks of hell battling severe depression with every minute of every filled with feelings of anguish and despair to the point on several occassions actually going through the motions and preparations of comitting suicide but backing away at the final moments. I had not felt that way in a very long time. Prior to finishing my 2nd repeat of Setrona I went back to the Pharmacist and directed that they fill my 3rd repeat with Zoloft. I took the Zoloft the following morning at my usual time. Approx 12 hours later I was back to my usual self. No feelings of anguish or despair and I was feeling content, even happy for the first time in 8 weeks. Consequently I REFUSE to believe that the generic brands produce "the same" results as Zoloft. I'm no Chemist, but I do know how the Generic brand affected me and I never want to go through that experience again. Whether it's something in the manufacturing process or quality control that makes the difference, I do not know. But I do know that a comprehensive study should be conducted on the effects of Zoloft versus generic brands and the effects of taking Zoloft long term then switching to a generic brand. Lives could be lost and probably already have due to an incorrect assumption amongst chemists that Zoloft and it's generic are "the same"
Helpful - 1
Avatar universal
I ran out of my Zoloft about 3 weeks ago.  My doctor sent me sertraline until I could get my Zoloft.  My friends and family have been asking me for days what is wrong.  I tell them nothing, but know I dont feel right.  I feel very suicidal and can not think straight.  I was wondering if it was because of the difference in the two drugs.  Now that I have read what everyone has said here, I realize I am not crazy.  Thanks
Helpful - 1
Avatar universal
I have been on Zoloft for over 4 years now for depression. Twice in that time-I have been given Sertraline--because it is cheaper. And both times--while I took the Sertraline--I was depressed, couldn't sleep, had anxiety, felt like I was unable to control my constant sadness and feelings of hopelessness.
EVERYONE keeps telling me they are the same drug! Then why do I feel the way I feel right now?
I have been on Sertraline (for the 2nd time---even after I told my  pharmacist that it doesn't work for me) since December 6th. It is now January 17th and I feel as though I am losing my mind! I have tried thinking positively, going to the gym, running, venting to friends, yoga,...but all I want to do is sleep all day---I don't want to get out of bed and I can't function they way I used to! This is how I felt before I started taking Zoloft!
It is not "all in my head!" I know my body--and something isn't right! so---the two drugs are NOT the same!
It affects me differently!
Helpful - 1
Avatar universal
  Generics are not the same, like Coke & Pepsi. Same ingredients, different formulation. The exact amount of each ingredient are a closely guarded secret.
  My brain knows the difference. Been on Zoloft for 19 years, with trials on Paxil, Sertraline, Prozac,........

Helpful - 0
1 Comments
It's very true. And each person has their unique chemistry and react individually to medication.  I'm glad you found something that works for you!
Avatar universal
I am good on brand name Zoloft and feel like I'm going to die and have terrible anxiety when I take generic Sertraline. There is definitely a difference even though I don't know what it is.
Willow1952
Helpful - 0
12 Comments
Yes, I've been on brand Zoloft for 25 yrs and now, since I had to go on medicare Pfizer will no longer help me with the cost. It's $ 400 per month even with my ins. I had to switch to Sertraline and I definitely can tell the difference. This is the medication that has worked for me all these years.  Pfizer was only asking $24 for 3 months of 150mg a day.  To get Zoloft 150mg it would cost me over $1000 for 3 months. That just doesn't seem right! I wish Pfizer would offer the program for people that have switched to the Perscription D program because of medicare.
That doesn't sound right.  Even when it was brand new Zoloft didn't cost that much.  The generic is less expensive, much less expensive, but it was never a super expensive drug.  Something is strange here, unless they just raised the price out of range due to almost everyone who takes it uses the generic.  The brand name is usually better than the generic, but the generic is usually good enough for most people.  When it's not, it is a problem.  
That does sound inflated, to be honest.  My doctor says that they can write for brand name only and the insurance usually will cover it. However, I go ahead with generic on a lot of things without issue.  The issue with generics that can come up is that ya, side effects can change month to month as they may pull your script from a different generic manufacturer. So, then the slightly different pill make up (even when using the same components that make it work on your mental health issue) causes different things each month.  I've personally never had an issue with this when taking a chronic medication.  But you may.Then the brand name can be explained by your doctor to your insurance company.  If you have insurance---  EVEN if the brand isn't covered, they normally give a discount.  I just ran into that with a script for my son.  For those without insurance, I know that Pfizer has an excellent indigent patient program.  It's hard though once a med goes generic. MOST take the generic.  The manufacturer then has less supply.  But I'd speak to your insurance company. And you doctor.
I'm confused, Mom.  No doctor is limited in the prescriptions they can write, and for the decades I've been going through this my docs all wrote for generics as soon as they became available. You'd have to ask for the brand name to get it, and of course many insurers don't even cover brand names if there's a generic.  
https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/formulary/  Insurance companies have a formulary with medications on tiers.  I'm sure you have heard of this.  Generics are pushed. But a doctor can write for brand name and you can have it covered if the doctor wins approval for this through your insurance.  They have a whole complicated system of coverage.  What insurance does with your prescription and how they cover it is different for every individual based on their coverage.  I personally have absolutely no reason not to use the free or super cheap generic medication as I've never noticed a difference.  If someone did, their doctor would write dispense as written.  If it got kicked back from insurance, the doctor would be notified to state WHY to the insurance company through the normal procedure (like prior authorization, etc.). They'll either cover it completely or at a discounted rate if you have insurance based on contracting.  To help with your confusion.
I'm not confused, Mom, I know this.  I was confused because you stated your doc says they can write for brand name only and that's not logical, virtually all insurance companies insist on generic if it's available.  The fact is, the generic is usually so cheap compared to the brand name that it may very well be less expensive that the co-pay for a brand name even if insurance does cover it and you pay for the generic out of pocket, depending on the drug and how long it has been a generic.  Of course, these days, companies have been buying old drugs and charging a lot of money even for generics.  The classic example is insulin, which the inventor never patented so it would be cheap and available for all but the pharma companies bought all the rights anyway and now charge a lot of money for it.  It's a cold world out there in the US because all other countries regulate the price of drugs.  
No substitutes and dispense as written has to be legally honored.  If an insurance company pushes back, a doctor can use the traditional method of prior authorization/doc letter to support.  I personally think generics are fine for most drugs but some super sensitive people may react and a doctor CAN explain that to be the case as well as some meds are more prone to this.  From an article I read: "For medicines classified as “narrow therapeutic index drugs”—such as certain antiseizure medicines—it could make sense to stick with a brand-name drug if the doctor recommends it. For other patients, a generic may work perfectly, though they should be carefully monitored."  So, it's certainly worth a try if the poster has issues and her doctor will support the brand name being used in place of generic.  
And for further info, there were some threads on here in the past where people were switched from brand name to generic and the generic didn't work as well.  My understanding is, brand name is almost always a better bet, and some of the reasons why you've already stated.  Quality control is much better by brand name manufacturing than for generics, as many of the companies that make generics pretty much consider paying fines for poor quality to be just the price of doing business.  But you can't beat the price.  Peace.
j
To the poster, just check with 1. your doctor if they support your being on brand name verses generic based on your body's reaction to generic sertraline.  If they support you, they should go to bat to you writing dispense as written or no substitution and providing reasoning via a letter to your insurance provider.  and then 2. check with your insurance company.  You may find it ends up being covered.  OR you at least pay a discounted price.  And if the insurance company says no, you can appeal.  I have actually won an insurance company appeal as they expect no one to go through the process 'for real'.  They make it a paper work heavy process and a bit of a pain in the butt. But many do win the appeals. And if the appeal does not go in your favor, if you have a company that you or your spouse work for that the insurance is through, you can make your plea to them.  I've done this also (first baby was at an in network hospital but the anesthesiologist was out of network and the charges were outrageous.  Two failed appeals with the insurance company resulted in my calling my HR department's benefits coordinator. They overruled the insurance and those charges were absorbed and covered. Who asks the anesthesiologist if they are in network providers at an in network hospital when they are about to get put out unexpectedly put out?  crazy).  You never know and all is worth a try.   good luck to you.
This is a big problem and experts do advise if you have a procedure at a hospital demand in network providers, especially the anesthesiologist.  I have also won with an insurance company -- and I've also lost most of the time.  I think Mom gives great advice here and I hope it helps.
Zoloft works for me, generic does not. I've tried the other equivalents, they all took me to a dark place I never want to go back to. Generic might be the same ingredients, but different formulation.  
Avatar universal
Here's a theory to sleep on.  I've been on a generic anti-anxiety drug, Xanax, made by Greenstone (generic arm of Pfizer) since 2000.  It was, by far, the best generic Xanax available (up until 2 years ago.)  What happened?  This generic  (called alprazolam) was probably actually the identical name brand Xanax manufactured by Pfizer. Pfizer simply sends the true Xanax formula to Greenstone; Greenstone just puts a generic number on it, so you are really buying and taking the name brand Xanax.  A pharmacy manager told me this is a very common practice among big pharma.  As of 2 years ago, I find Pfizer's generic Xanax now has NO EFFICACY!   Why?  My guess:  Pfizer has been trying to purchase another pharmaceutical company offshore (Ireland) to save federal taxes Pfizer must pay to the IRS. And Pfizer has been waiting for government approval of this purchase all this time. Pfizer's potential purchase of this drug company (Allergan) is a huge incentive for Pfizer to cut costs and  try to make their generic drugs as cheaply as possible (using a new cheap formula, instead of simply passing down the REAL Xanax to Greenstone.) By doing this, Pfizer's income statement shows the largest profits possible on paper to Allergan's  board of directors.  And if that's the case,  there is a higher probablility the Allergan board will approve the sale of their firm to Pfizer.

So if Pfizer has done this to their generic version of Xanax, whose to say they aren't playing the same game with Zoloft and their Greenstone generic, Setraline?  

Why did generic drugs come on the scene in the late 70's?  (Prior to that there were no such things as generic prescriptions.)  Can you say, nursing homes, skyrocketing government medicare costs, skyrocketing hospital costs, VA hospitals, etc? (All subsidized by the government.) Generics are a way to keep government's medical expenditures down, at the expense of the Americans who depend upon 1st line quality name-brand drugs.  Do you think anyone on Capitol Hill actually takes generic drugs when the name brand is available?  
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
There are different "acceptable levels" of the active ingredient in generic medications. Additionally, there are different fillers. Many generics, in this case, sertraline, come from overseas, and have less stringent manufacturing processes than we do in the U.S. If possible, ask your physician do write your prescription as DAW (dispense as written) for zoloft. Hopefully your insurance will cover it. Good luck.
Helpful - 0
16426782 tn?1447843358
Yes, Zoloft also have some common side effects like insomnia, dizziness, nausea, skin rash, headache, diarrhea, constipation,weight loss etc.
I have experienced dizziness and headache when I started taking Zoloft but later my doctor put me on lower dosage. And its working fine.
PillsforAll
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hi there. How do you feel now being back on regular Zoloft? Please let me know and how long it took for it to work. Thanks!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
i am experiencing the same! This is awful. Are you still going through it? Please let me know.
Helpful - 0
612551 tn?1450022175
Yet to find out the benefits to me of generic Zoloft.  What I read in the last post is the generic isn't the same - sad, but it is what I will try.   My prescription insurance may pay (at least most) for a Brand Name if it is established that the generic don't work.  I don't see how I get there, I am starting on generic.

We'll will see.  Trazadone seems to be causing mental issues, minor but a problem nonetheless.  

I didn't scrub to the old posts but got the drift that outside the USA there were defect/problems with the generic.  May have gotten that wrong... full speed ahead.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hi, I have the same exact feeling on sertraline. I have been struggling for about a year now being on sertraline because my insurance would only pay 200 towards a 600 dollar monthly supply! I could not afford that. It got so bad that I considered going on something else but I was afraid of weight gain, the brand name Zoloft worked best for me. I finally went back to dr and asked her to prescribe the brand name Zoloft because there is this company that you can call and for at least a year you may be eligible for a discounted rate. Thank God, I was eligible and my monthly payment is 60 a month for the brand name. I have been back on the Zoloft for 4 days and already feel better....It is not in your head, they effect people differently. Please call your Dr. and find out about the company that is online that offers the discount.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
So glad I stumbled across this thread, and just in time! Having similar issues, so this information may be a lifesaver (no exaggeration, as some of you know too well). I often seem to be in that tiny percent of people who are highly sensitive...sigh. Wondering if that's the deal w/ this, too. Zoloft is $50 more monthly than generic ($600 yrly!), but worth it if it improves my quality of life. Hanging on, I will try to report back if I have a significant difference (or not). Best wishes to all who come here, and BIG thanks from Texas.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Totally agree with you. I have exactly the same. Everybody keeps telling me that these 2 medicine s are the same.. But its not true. First I got setraline ranbaxy for one year . I should take akineton at the same time for the very annoying side effects I had. Now I take Zoloft. Now I am OK!!! Finally!! At the hospital said setraline ranbaxy is generic made by second class company . Zoloft are the pure setraline made in Germany.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hi, another Aussie here (from Brissy) and ao glad I found this post!! I'm so glad (in a bittersweet way) to learn it's not just me!! I've always insisted on true brand Zoloft since I was diagnosed 8 years ago and this forced switch to generics has not sat well with me at all! I'm on 200mg/day and ever since the switch i feel like it's been an endless spiral downwards. I think I feel worse now then even before I started! Hopefully the supply problem will be fixed asap. Im the meantime, love and strength to you all!!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Did you find any in Australia?   I am not impressed with the generics at all.  I can't get any information on how to contact Pfizer.   Can anyone supply that?
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I am so glad I took the time to look into this today, I am now in my third week of taking Sertraline as an alternate to Zoloft as none was available (Im from Sydney Australia) and each day that goes by I have been feeling worse and worse. Depressed, no motivation, anxious and also a really bad twitchy eye!?
Thank you all for your comments, its really helped me to understand why I might feel the way I do... Off to find some Zoloft!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I have only just this moment read your post.  I hope Pfizer will reply with a positive answer to your email.  This issue is extremely important for many people.  I can't imagine why Australia can't get supplies when Zoloft is still readily available in other countries.   It is mystifying.  Hopefully Zoloft will be available again very soon.  Best Wishes to you.
Helpful - 0
1 Comments
Doubtful Pfizer even reads this. It would be so wonderful if they would reinstate the program I was on. I wonder if I told them it was  the medication part D which is separate from medicare. It's a private company?
Avatar universal
Hello, I am in the same situation, I too am in Australia and have not been able to get any Zoloft only the generic brand, it is only after 3 months I have worked out why I am feeling at my worst, I have been on Zoloft for 20 years and I know that the doctors and chemists say that the generic brand is the same but they are not.  I have just emailed Pfizer to see when we can get Zoloft back in Australia. I wish us all the best :)
Helpful - 0
1 Comments
Absolutely 100% understand - I had exact same problem with generic Zoloft/Lustral (am in UK)  Sourcing Zoloft is a problem ... why is this?!
Avatar universal
Mate, I just read your post and have no clue if you will ever read this but I just want to tell u that u r not alone! I, 2, feel like im losing my mind....hanging in such a thin ice....but hanging may be the solution mate...maybe we will get better. i wish u the best brother
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I am in Australia, and recently there has been a supply problem from Pfizer to Chemists.  I have in the past been given a generic brand of Sertraline instead of Zoloft, and it didn't take long for me to find out that taking a generic brand was not for me.  The generic brand didn't seem to be effective for me at all, and I definitely felt terrible.  Since then I have insisted on Zoloft and would not accept a generic brand which would have cost less.   However, last week I was told that many other people have tried Chemists all around the city where I live, and that there are no remaining stocks of Zoloft anywhere.  Where to from here I don't know.  Apparently Pfizer are unable to supply Zoloft until the end of 2015.  I just wonder what is the real reason behind this.  
Helpful - 0
2 Comments
Notformeatall, I live in the UK and we too are having major problems with Zoloft/Lustral, but apparently things should start moving next week.  It's a serious worry for me!
Hi there - I'm going slightly loopy  here & do suspect it is the generic substitution. I live in Australia, too, and we've had a real battle getting "real" Zoloft here for the past six months or so. I find that "Apo" (I think that's it) works fine for me but "Sandoz" and the generic version given out by Terry White Chemist both send me over the edge. Is it because the tablets are not as potent, or is it because they have something in them that I react to? I don't know what it is, but it is a very clear, definite effect. Zoloft and Apo = fine; others = feeling bonkers very quickly.
Avatar universal
the generics although have the same ingredients - most do - if you google the both of them what difference do you see? Could it be that ones a capsule and ones a tablet? and they would release the medication at a different rate while they were "breaking down" in your system!!! I found that based on the packaging of the generic meds and how its released or delivered into your system depending on the obvious factors, metabolism, weight, health etc, is the difference on how you respond to the med, could just be a slight difference or a noticeable difference, keep that in mind, next time time your doctor wants to keep you on a med your sure is not right for you, keep track of your progress, alot of insurance companies now have to fill your prescription with the generics so if your doctor wants you on a particular med, and you see a pattern with the generic bring it up to him, and get him to request the "real thing" I've been ok with the generic but not always. so good luck and i hope this help someone that may have not have known.
Helpful - 0
2
Have an Answer?

You are reading content posted in the Depression Community

Top Mood Disorders Answerers
Avatar universal
Arlington, VA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
15 signs that it’s more than just the blues
Discover the common symptoms of and treatment options for depression.
We've got five strategies to foster happiness in your everyday life.
Don’t let the winter chill send your smile into deep hibernation. Try these 10 mood-boosting tips to get your happy back
Herpes sores blister, then burst, scab and heal.
Herpes spreads by oral, vaginal and anal sex.