Luvox vs. Zoloft


Zoloft (sertraline) and Luvox (fluvoxamine) are SSRIs. SSRI is the abbreviation for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Both Zoloft and Luvox are medications for treating obsessive-compulsive disorders or depression.

SSRIs are popular and preferred choice of antidepressants used for treating numerous mental health disorders. They work by inhibiting or blocking reuptake (the nerve cells that reabsorb serotonin that carry signals to the brain). Serotonin has a positive impact on emotions, sleep, and mood. Hence, when SSRIs block reuptake, it ensures the body has more serotonin to pass messages between the nerve cells nearby.

About Luvox and Zoloft

What is Luvox?

It is a form of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or an antidepressant. Luvox works by boosting serotonin levels in the brain. It is widely used for treating obsessive-compulsive disorders.

What conditions is Luvox approved to treat?

Since 1983, Luvox has been used to alleviate OCD symptoms in patients worldwide. However, Luvox got its first FDA approval in 2000 for treating obsessive-compulsive disorders (depression). Other mental health conditions that Luvox may be suitable for are anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social phobia.

How does Luvox work for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Luvox works by decreasing unwanted thoughts and lowering symptoms of depression which are often part of OCD. Luvox minimizes obsessions that simply don’t go away. It further reduces the urge to carry out repeated tasks like counting, hand-washing, and checking that may otherwise interfere with your daily life. Luvox lowers obsessions while restoring the serotonin balance in the brain.

What is Zoloft?

Zoloft is a popular sertraline brand name. It is a widely used and prescribed medication for treating mental health conditions in children and adults. Sertraline is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or an antidepressant medication. It works similarly to other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Fluoxetine and Citalopram. However, it can take a few weeks before you may start seeing the positive effects of the medication in overcoming symptoms of the mental health condition you may be dealing with.

What conditions is Zoloft approved to treat?

FDA approved Zoloft in 1992 to treat multiple mental health conditions:

  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Depression
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

How does Zoloft work for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Those people who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder can benefit greatly from Zoloft. This medication has a calming effect on the mind and thought process. It is highly effective for minimizing the uncontrollable urges related to performing repetitive tasks in OCD. Zoloft limits the serotonin reuptake into neurons, further improving mood and lowering anxiety, compulsions, fears, and obsessions. However, for best results, researchers suggest using Zoloft in combination with psychotherapies like exposure & response prevention therapy.

Besides OCD, Zoloft also works on bulimia nervosa, premature ejaculation, body dysmorphic disorder, binge eating, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.


How effective are Luvox and Zoloft for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder?

Luvox and Zoloft are equally effective. It can be backed by a study on patients with OCD published in PubMed. In this 12-week randomized clinical trial, OCD patients were given doses of Sertraline and Fluvoxamine to determine their efficacy and improvement signs. The two drugs were simultaneously compared to treat OCD patients. They were randomly assigned after assessing their illness severity with YBOCS (Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale). The study showed that 60 percent of the patients showed a positive and early response in the fourth week with 95mg sertraline dose and 102 mg/d fluvoxamine.

Dosage Information

How is Luvox administered for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Luvox or fluvoxamine is readily available in two forms. These are:

  • Immediate release tablets
  • Extended release capsules

As prescribed by your doctor, you can take both types of Fluvoxamine orally, with or without food. Furthermore, the extended release capsules may not be suitable for children who have not taken Luvox before. Therefore, they may be advised to use a low dose of immediate-release Luvox. However, adults can take either tablets or capsules of Luvox to alleviate and manage OCD.

The dosage administered for the condition will vary and may be raised overtime depending on the symptoms in order to adequately control it.

How is Zoloft administered for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Zoloft is available in three different forms. These include capsules, oral suspension, and tablets. Your healthcare provider may suggest you the right form and dosage according to your mental health condition and symptoms. Nonetheless, the initial dose of Zoloft is usually 50mg daily which can be increased by 25mg as required.

Side Effects

Like all medications, Luvox and Zoloft also have potential side effects. So, even when the medication helps you deal with OCD, you can experience unwanted side effects. Take a look to understand the most common side effects of Luvox and Zoloft.

What are the most common side effects of Luvox?

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomits
  • Appetite
  • Taste change
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Diarrhea
  • Nervousness
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Weakness

Some side effects of Luvox specific to children are:

  • Excess gas
  • Skin rashes
  • Coughing
  • Heavy periods
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness

Are there any potentially serious side effects of Luvox?

Serious side effects of Luvox include:

  • Appetite & weight changes
  • Eye problems
  • Low sodium
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Worsening of Glaucoma
  • Withdrawal
  • Seizures
  • Sexual problem

What are there the most common side effects of Zoloft?

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Either difficulty sleeping or sleepiness
  • Dry mouth

Are there any potential serious side effects of Zoloft?

  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Risk of severe bleeding
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Worsening suicidal thoughts, depression, and unusual behavior
  • Glaucoma
  • Low-blood sodium level
  • Abnormal heart rhythm, which can also be life-threatening

Contraindications and Interactions

Warnings and general precautions for Luvox and Zoloft

Luvox and Zoloft are drugs that should be used as prescribed by your healthcare provider. It is because they can lead to serious complications when they interact with other medications. For example, Zoloft can increase the risk of bruising and bleeding by using anti-platelets such as clopidogrel, anti-coagulants, and aspirin. Similarly, if you are already at risk of bipolar disorder, then avoid antidepressants like Zoloft. It is because Zoloft can easily trigger a bipolar manic episode.

Likewise, Luvox can also have a high tendency to interact with other drugs and cause major side effects. Some of them include the following:

Alosetron or Lotronex- a medication prescribed for treating diarrhea and IBS. However, when taken with Luvox, Lotronex may not be easily broken down by the body. Hence, you may have a high amount of Lotronex inside your body, which can lead to overdose symptoms and serious medical conditions like seizures and breathing difficulties.

MAOIs or Monoamine oxidase inhibitors: Combined with Luvox, it can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome, which can be life-threatening.

Pimozide is used for speech and muscle tics due to Tourette’s syndrome. However, when taken with Luvox, it can lower the impact of the medication. Luvox slows the body’s ability to eliminate pimozide, leading to abnormal heart rhythm, lightheadedness, blurred vision, and weakness.

Thioridazine is prescribed for schizophrenia. However, with Luvox, the body can retain thioridazine in large amounts, increasing the risk of a fast or abnormal heartbeat.

Tizanidine is used for muscle relaxation. However, Luvox can slow down the body’s ability to break down Tizanidin, which can increase the drug amount in the body leading to lowered blood pressure.

Contraindications and important interactions for Luvox and Zoloft



Not recommended for patients who are also pregnant or breastfeeding.

Not recommended to elderly patients with a history of falls or fractures an


Not recommended for patients allergic to its main component, sertraline.

Not recommended to any patient with impaired liver function and a history of bipolar disorder, manic and hypomanic disorder.

Drug Interactions


Do not administer Luvox with:

  • MAOIs such as Marplan, Zyvox, Eldepryl, and Emsam.
  • Lotronex
  • Pimozide (Orap)
  • Thioridazine
  • Tizanidine


Do not co-administer Zoloft with:

  • Anti-platelets such as clopidogrel, anti-coagulants and aspirin
  • Thioridazine
  • Toloxatone
  • Tranylcypromine

Food/Beverage/Supplement Interactions


Though you can take Luvox with or without meals, don’t combine it with alcohol. It is because alcohol can worsen the symptoms of OCD and the side effects of Luvox.

Also, don’t use it with supplements like Kava Kava, St. John's Wort, and valerian.


Intake of alcohol with Zoloft is not recommended. It can worsen side effects such as dizziness and drowsiness and other anxiety symptoms.

Cost Comparison

How much do Luvox and Zoloft cost?

The pricing of Luvox and Zoloft may vary depending on factors like location and pharmacy. However, below are the retail prices on average. Take a look:

Luvox (fluvoxamine) extended-release bottle of 30 capsules of 100mg may cost you around $402. It is approximately $13.39 per unit. However, a 150mg bottle of ER capsules will cost you roughly $430 with $14.36 per unit. Luvox is slightly pricey, but the good news is that it is covered by most health insurance plans.

Zoloft (sertraline) 100 mg bottle of tablets for one month will cost you approximately $416.15. However, 20mg/ml of Zoloft will cost around $289.04. Likewise, the price of 25mg tablets is $416.15 (one month supply) and $140.12 for 50mg tablets (one month supply). More importantly, Zoloft in the US is covered by most insurance plans. Plus, coupon codes are also available at large pharmacies nationwide. Hence, you can easily save on your purchase of Zoloft.

Popularity of Luvox and Zoloft

When it comes to popularity, Zoloft is the top choice and most preferred compared to Luvox. It is because of multiple factors. For example, unlike Sertraline, Luvox or Fluvoxamine is a newer addition to the SSRIs market. Moreover, Zoloft’s popularity is also owed to the fact that it is available in different forms and dose amounts. Furthermore, it has been around for the longest time, making people more inclined to use Zoloft instead of Luvox. Also, compared to Luvox, Zoloft is less pricey and covered by most insurance plans.

According to a publication in the National Library of Medicine, Zoloft is among the most commonly prescribed antidepressants.



Luvox and Zoloft are both effective treatments for conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. They are both selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors that work by boosting the serotonin levels in the brain, much needed to reduce unwanted thoughts and minimize OCD symptoms. Though Zoloft is an excellent choice for most depressive psychiatric mental health conditions, Luvox has proven to be a better option if you’re dealing with obsessive-compulsive disorder alone.

However, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, Zoloft may be a safer choice compared to Luvox. Surprisingly Zoloft is one of the safer serotonin reuptake inhibitors to take during pregnancy if you’re also dealing with mental health conditions like depression and OCD. Please note it is always advisable to use these drugs after consulting with your doctor or general health physician. Discuss your condition with your healthcare provider and the medication you may use already. It is vital to provide a complete medical history and current medication usage because SSRIs can cause serious side effects when they interact with other drugs like MAOIs such as Marplan, Zyvox, Thioridazine, Toloxatone, and Tizanidine, to name a few.