In the fast paced world we live in today many people find themselves with increased anxiety, depression, and overall stress. Many health professionals are prescribing anti-depression medications as a way to treat these conditions and among these are two of the most popular treatments today, Lexapro and Zoloft.
Both Lexapro and Zoloft are members of the SSRI family of drugs. SSRI stands for Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor their purpose is to allow the available serotonin in the patient’s body to be utilized more effectively. Studies have shown that low levels of serotonin in a person often results in anxiety, depression, and sometimes personality disorders.
While SSRIs are not considered addictive, there are certain psychological withdrawal symptoms that may occur when a patient suddenly discontinues use. It is important that a patient seek the advice of a health care professional before beginning or ending SSRI treatment. There is also an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in adolescent patients, and therefore young patients on these treatments should be monitored very closely until treatment is complete.
While Lexapro and Zoloft are similar in the way they treat depression and anxiety, there are some differences in the side effects patients experience with each. Below is an overview of the most common side effects associated with each medication:
Lexapro is said to be a relatively safe drug with a low occurrence of side effects. Some of the most common are nausea, insomnia, ejaculation disorder, somnolence, increased sweating, decreased libido, and anorgasmia. While not all patients experience side effects it is always important to report any discomfort or change in your body to the health care professional administering the drug. Additionally, patients may develop certain respiratory tract infections, sinusitis, flu-like symptoms, and fatigue. Most side effects are reported to have decreased or subsided completely with continued treatment and the vast majority of patients did not discontinue use of the drug based on the side effects they experienced.
The side effects associated with Zoloft are generally similar to Lexapro and can include headaches, tremors, nervousness, anxiety, nausea, diarrhea, dry mouth, changes in appetite, changes in weight, fatigue, insomnia, decreased sex drive, impotence, and difficulty having an orgasm. You should seek emergency care if you experience low or high blood pressure symptoms, an allergic reaction, chills or fever, or an irregular heartbeat or pulse. One of the most distinguishing differences between Zoloft and Lexapro is the higher occurrence of gastrointestinal side effects associated with Zoloft. While both medications have some risk of gastrointestinal problems, Zoloft is reported to have a higher chance of continued problems throughout treatment.
When taking any SSRI, be sure to inform your doctor of any medications you are currently taking or have recently taken. Certain drugs from the MAOI family sometimes have fatal interactions with SSRIs and cannot be taken in conjunction with Lexapro or Zoloft. Additionally, if you have experienced liver or kidney problems in the past Lexapro and Zoloft may not be the right treatment for you. If you suffer from seizures or manic thoughts you should also be sure to inform your healthcare professional before beginning an SSRI treatment.
As with all depression treatments, it is important that you do your own research in order to decide which medication may work best for you. In concurrence with your health care professional, you can make an informed decision and choose whether Zoloft or Lexapro will effectively treat your condition. Keep in mind that it is incredibly dangerous to self-medicate and that these drugs are available by prescription only for a good reason. Self education and an open mind are often the best guidelines for choosing the correct treatment. Also, feeling comfortable with the suggestions of your health care professional is imperative. Be sure that you are both in agreement about your treatment decisions before beginning any medication.