Deciding on medication to help with mental health issues can be a difficult decision. There are many different medications available and it can feel overwhelming trying to determine which one will work best for you. Two of the most commonly prescribed medications are Lexapro (escitalopram) and Zoloft (sertraline). Let’s take a look at the differences between them
What is Lexapro?
Lexapro is an antidepressant medication that belongs to the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) class of drugs. It is used to treat major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder in adults.
By influencing the balance of serotonin in the brain, Lexapro helps to alleviate symptoms associated with these conditions such as feelings of sadness or hopelessness, excessive worrying, restlessness, fatigue, difficulty sleeping and concentrating.
Lexapro works by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin within nerve cells after it has been released. This increases the amount of serotonin available for use in the brain which can help improve mood. Lexapro typically takes 2-4 weeks for its full effect to be felt but certain individuals may not experience any improvement during this period.
To ensure its effectiveness and safety, it is important to take Lexapro exactly as prescribed by your doctor and not at higher doses than recommended. It is also not recommended that you suddenly stop taking Lexapro without consulting your doctor first as this may lead to withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness and irritability.
Additionally, like other antidepressants Lexapro may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior so close monitoring throughout treatment is essential.
What is Zoloft?
Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride) is an oral antidepressant medication that helps to treat a range of mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. It’s in a class of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which work by increasing the levels of serotonin, a natural chemical in the brain that helps maintain mental balance. Zoloft can help improve mood, sleep, appetite, energy level, and interest in daily life. In addition to treating depression, it can be used to treat other mental health issues such as panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
Zoloft works by blocking the reabsorption (reuptake) of serotonin into nerve cells after it has been released. This helps prolong its effect on the brain’s neurons and increases its availability. The increased levels of serotonin in the brain may be responsible for changes seen in mood and behavior related to depression and other conditions.
While it usually takes four weeks or more for patients to notice an improvement in their symptoms, side effects are generally milder for this drug compared with some other antidepressants on the market today. Common side effects include nausea, drowsiness, insomnia and dizziness.
How Do They Work?
Both Lexapro and Zoloft are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs work by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain responsible for regulating mood. This helps to improve mood and reduce anxiety levels. Both medications work similarly, but there are some key differences between them.
Dosage and Side Effects
Lexapro is typically prescribed at lower doses than Zoloft, ranging from 5mg to 20mg. Common side effects include headache, nausea, insomnia, dry mouth, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue or sexual dysfunction.
Zoloft is usually prescribed at higher doses than Lexapro; it has been approved for use in doses up to 100mg by the FDA. It also has similar side effects as Lexapro but may also cause more severe side effects such as increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior in people under 24 years old. It is important to talk to your doctor about any potential risks or benefits of these medications before taking them.
Ultimately, both Lexapro and Zoloft can be effective treatments for depression and anxiety disorders when taken as prescribed by your doctor. It is important to speak with your doctor about any potential risks or benefits associated with either medication before taking them so that you can make an informed decision about what works best for you based on your individual needs and circumstances.
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