Zoloft vs Lexapro Breastfeeding

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For mothers who are breastfeeding and experiencing symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD) or other types of depression, certain drugs can help manage these symptoms and stabilize mood. Zoloft and Lexapro are two such medications often prescribed for this purpose. Both belong to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which work by increasing the concentration of serotonin, a neurotransmitter linked to mood regulation, in the brain.

Zoloft is widely considered safe for use during breastfeeding due to its low levels in breastmilk and minimal reported side effects in infants. On the other hand, Lexapro also passes into breast milk but at lower concentrations than many other SSRIs; however there's limited data on its safety during breastfeeding. It is important that nursing mothers consult with their healthcare provider before starting any new medication regimen, as individual responses can vary significantly.

What is Zoloft?

Sertraline (the generic name for Zoloft) and Escitalopram (the generic name for Lexapro) are both drugs in the SSRI class of antidepressants. They marked a significant development from earlier classes of antidepressant medications. Both were approved by the FDA, with Zoloft being approved in 1991 and Lexapro in 2002. They work by increasing levels of serotonin—a neurotransmitter that carries signals between brain cells—by preventing its reabsorption into these cells. This effectively keeps it circulating within the brain's pathways for longer periods, improving mood regulation.

Both Sertraline and Escitalopram are prescribed to treat various forms of depression as well as other psychiatric disorders like generalized anxiety disorder. While their primary target is serotonin, they have negligible effects on other neurotransmitters such as dopamine or norepinephrine which often results in fewer side effects compared to antidepressants that also target these neurotransmitters.

When considering breastfeeding while taking these medications, small amounts do pass into breast milk but both have been shown to be generally safe with minimal risk to nursing infants according to several studies. However, every individual's situation can vary so it is important that you discuss this matter thoroughly with your healthcare provider before making a decision.

What conditions is Zoloft approved to treat?

Zoloft (sertraline) and Lexapro (escitalopram) are approved for the treatment of various mental health disorders, including:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Panic Disorder, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - Zoloft only
  • Social Anxiety Disorder - both

Both medications pass into breast milk in small amounts. However, no adverse effects have been reported in infants exposed to either drug through breastfeeding. Still, it is crucial that nursing mothers consult their healthcare provider before starting or continuing these medications.

How does Zoloft help with these illnesses?

Zoloft and Lexapro are both selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that help manage depression and anxiety by increasing the amount of available serotonin in the synapses of the brain. They do this by preventing it from being reabsorbed into neurons, thus keeping levels higher for longer periods of time. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in mood regulation, cognition, memory, sleep patterns, hunger, and body temperature.

While both drugs can be effective at managing these conditions, their safety profiles during breastfeeding vary slightly. Although Zoloft has been found to pass into breast milk in very small amounts which are unlikely to harm a nursing infant according to several studies conducted on breastfeeding women taking SSRIs; Lexapro also enters breast milk but there's limited data on potential effects on a breastfeeding infant.

However with either medicine if you're nursing it's essential to monitor the baby for any changes such as excessive drowsiness or feeding difficulties. As always consult your healthcare provider before starting any new medication while pregnant or breastfeeding.

What is Lexapro Breastfeeding?

Lexapro, known generically as escitalopram, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), meaning it increases the levels of serotonin in the brain by reducing its reabsorption. It was first approved by the FDA in 2002. As escitalopram is an SSRI antidepressant, it does inhibit the reuptake of serotonin. Its action on this neurotransmitter results in a side-effect profile that differs from non-SSRIs like Zoloft; for instance, Lexapro can cause sleepiness and potential weight changes.

Specifically with reference to breastfeeding mothers, Lexapro has been found to pass through breast milk but at very low levels that are unlikely to harm nursing infants. However, every individual's response may vary and it’s always best for breastfeeding mothers considering antidepressants like Lexapro or Zoloft to discuss their options thoroughly with healthcare professionals familiar with both psychiatric medication and lactation issues.

What conditions is Lexapro Breastfeeding approved to treat?

Lexapro, when used during breastfeeding, is recognized for the management of:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

It's important to note that while Lexapro can pass into breast milk in small amounts, it is generally considered safe for use by nursing mothers. However, always consult a healthcare provider before starting any new medication while breastfeeding.

How does Lexapro Breastfeeding help with these illnesses?

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays crucial roles in various body processes, affecting mood balance, sleep regulation, and overall feelings of well-being. Low levels of serotonin have been associated with depression. Lexapro while breastfeeding works by increasing the availability of serotonin in the brain, thus helping to alleviate some symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders. Its action on other neural pathways may also contribute to its effectiveness as an antidepressant. Since it doesn't cause significant changes in norepinephrine or dopamine levels like Zoloft might do, it's often prescribed when a patient doesn’t respond well to other types of SSRI antidepressants or needs medication compatible with breastfeeding. It can be used solely or combined with other SSRIs depending on individual medical conditions and requirements.

How effective are both Zoloft and Lexapro Breastfeeding?

Both sertraline (Zoloft) and escitalopram (Lexapro) are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), often prescribed for the management of depression and anxiety disorders. They were approved by the FDA within a few years of each other, Zoloft in 1991 and Lexapro in 2002. They work by increasing levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood.

Both medications have been directly compared in several studies concerning their effectiveness in managing symptoms of various psychiatric conditions. A large-scale study conducted in 2014 found both drugs to be similarly efficacious with similar safety profiles. However, some patients may respond better or experience fewer side effects on one medication over the other due to individual physiological differences.

A review published in The Lancet's Psychiatry journal highlighted that sertraline is generally well-tolerated across populations including pregnant women and nursing mothers. There is evidence suggesting low transfer rates into breast milk, making it a preferred choice among SSRIs when treating postpartum depression.

Escitalopram also has demonstrated efficacy from the first week of treatment and maintains an acceptable side effect profile comparable to many antidepressants on the market today. It's also considered safe during breastfeeding as only small amounts pass into breast milk according to a Nordic cohort study published in JAMA Pediatrics.

However, despite their proven efficacies as standalone treatments for depressive symptoms, these drugs are often used adjunctively with other therapeutic options depending upon patient response and severity of illness.

It must be noted however that any decision related to drug use while breastfeeding should involve careful consideration between healthcare providers and patients weighing potential risks against benefits based on individual circumstances.

In conclusion, both Zoloft (Sertraline) & Lexapro(Escitalopram) can potentially be safely administered during breastfeeding but consultation with healthcare provider is mandatory before initiating therapy.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Zoloft typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Zoloft range from 50-200 mg/day, but studies have suggested that 50 mg/day is adequate for treating major depressive disorder in most individuals. For Lexapro, typical oral doses range between 10-20 mg/day, with research indicating that a starting dose of 10mg per day is sufficient for many people dealing with anxiety or depression. In both situations, if there is no response after several weeks, the dosage may be increased under medical supervision. The maximum daily dosage should not exceed 200 mg for Zoloft and 20mg for Lexapro. It's important to note that both medications pass into breast milk and can potentially affect a nursing infant; therefore it's crucial to discuss this aspect along with all other potential risks and benefits with your healthcare provider before using these medications while breastfeeding.

At what dose is Lexapro Breastfeeding typically prescribed?

Lexapro, also known as escitalopram, is usually prescribed to breastfeeding mothers at an initial dose of 10 mg/day. If necessary, the dosage can be increased up to 20 mg/day. This should be divided into two doses and taken approximately 12 hours apart. The maximum daily dose should not exceed 20 mg. It's important to note that Lexapro does pass into breast milk in small amounts; however, there are currently no reported adverse effects on nursing infants who have been exposed via lactation. Still, if any unusual symptoms or behaviors are noticed in a breastfeeding infant whose mother is taking Lexapro, immediate medical attention must be sought.

What are the most common side effects for Zoloft?

Common side effects of Zoloft (Sertraline) and Lexapro (Escitalopram) while breastfeeding include:

  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
  • Drowsiness or somnolence, which may affect your ability to care for a newborn
  • General weakness and fatigue (asthenia)
  • Nausea, dyspepsia, and diarrhea which may disrupt regular eating habits
  • Dry mouth that can lead to decreased fluid intake essential in lactation
  • Changes in sexual desire or libido
  • Sweating more than usual
  • Rash on the skin that needs medical attention as it could be an allergic reaction In addition, both these medications pass into breast milk in small amounts. While there have been no definitive studies showing harm to a nursing infant, some infants exposed through breast milk have shown drowsiness and weight loss. It's vital to discuss with your healthcare provider if you plan on breastfeeding while taking either Zoloft or Lexapro.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Zoloft?

When comparing Zoloft and Lexapro in relation to breastfeeding, it's important to know that both can pass into breast milk. Here are some potential side effects:

  • Unusual changes in your newborn such as excessive drowsiness or difficulty feeding
  • Allergic reactions including hives, difficult breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Changes in vision such as blurred vision or seeing halos around lights
  • Rapid heart rate or chest discomfort which may indicate an increase in anxiety levels
  • Low sodium levels (hyponatremia) may occur causing headache, confusion slurred speech severe weakness vomiting loss of coordination feeling unsteady
  • Severe nervous system reaction - very stiff (rigid) muscles high fever sweating confusion fast uneven heartbeats tremors feeling like you might pass out.

If you notice any signs of serotonin syndrome: agitation hallucinations fever sweating shivering fast heart rate muscle stiffness twitching loss of coordination nausea vomiting diarrhea

It is crucial to immediately contact a healthcare provider. Always consult with your doctor before starting any medication while breastfeeding.

What are the most common side effects for Lexapro Breastfeeding?

When using Lexapro while breastfeeding, mothers may observe the following potential side effects:

  • Dry mouth or increased thirst
  • Disturbances to sleep patterns including insomnia
  • Some level of unease, nervousness, or anxiety
  • Occasional nausea and upset stomach
  • A possible decrease in appetite leading to weight loss
  • More frequent urination than usual
  • Mild confusion or difficulty focusing
  • Headache or dizziness on occasion It's worth noting that these are potential side effects and not every individual will experience them. If any of these conditions persist or worsen, it is recommended to consult your healthcare professional for further advice. Always remember that the decision to use medication during breastfeeding should be made in consultation with your healthcare provider considering both the benefits for you and risks for your baby.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Lexapro Breastfeeding?

While Lexapro is generally considered safe for breastfeeding mothers, in rare cases it can result in certain side effects. If you're breastfeeding and taking Lexapro, pay close attention to these potential warning signs:

  • Symptoms of allergic reactions such as hives, itching, fever or swollen glands. Difficulty breathing or swelling in your face or throat are particularly concerning.
  • A shift towards feeling unusually low or having thoughts about harming yourself
  • Experiencing a seizure
  • Notable changes in mood or behavior that feel out of character
  • Vision disturbances like blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain/swelling, seeing light halos around objects.

In extremely rare instances there might be fast/irregular heartbeats and symptoms akin to a manic episode: racing thoughts, increased energy levels beyond normal enthusiasm postpartum period. This could encompass reckless behavior and feelings of extreme happiness or irritability. Increased talking more than usual coupled with severe sleep disruptions should also raise concerns.

If you notice any of the above while on Lexapro during the breastfeeding phase ensure to contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Contraindications for Zoloft and Lexapro Breastfeeding?

Both Zoloft and Lexapro, like most antidepressant medications, can potentially exacerbate symptoms of depression in certain individuals. If you notice an increase in your depressive symptoms or have thoughts of self-harm or suicide while taking these drugs, please contact a healthcare professional right away.

Neither Zoloft nor Lexapro should be taken if you are currently using or have recently used monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), as this could cause dangerous drug interactions. It is crucial to disclose all current and past medications to your physician; MAOIs necessitate a clearance period of about 5 weeks from the system before starting treatment with either Zoloft or Lexapro.

Furthermore, both Zoloft and Lexapro pass into breast milk so they need careful consideration when breastfeeding. Although studies suggest that the amount ingested by infants is small, there's still a potential risk for side effects in nursing infants. Therefore it’s important to consult with your doctor on whether continuing these medications whilst breastfeeding is suitable for both mother and child.

How much do Zoloft and Lexapro Breastfeeding cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price for 30 tablets of Zoloft (50 mg) averages around $400, which works out to about $13.33/day.
  • The price for 30 tablets of Lexapro (10 mg) is approximately $370, working out to roughly $12.33/day.

Thus, if you are in the higher dosage range for Zoloft (i.e., 200 mg/day or more), then brand-name Lexapro might be less expensive on a per-day treatment basis. Please note that cost should not be a primary consideration in determining which of these drugs is right for you when breastfeeding.

For the generic versions of Zoloft (sertraline) and Lexapro (escitalopram), costs are significantly lower:

  • Sertraline is available in packs from 30 to 90 capsules with approximate costs ranging from as low as $0.08 up to about $1 per day depending on your dose.
  • Escitalopram can also come in packs varying from 5 up to1000 tablets with prices starting from just under a nickel per day and going up to around one dollar daily.

Both these medications have been studied extensively regarding their safety while breastfeeding, but always consult your healthcare provider before making any decisions on medication use during this time.

Popularity of Zoloft and Lexapro Breastfeeding

Sertraline, also known by its brand name Zoloft, was prescribed to an estimated 38.7 million people in the US in 2020. It accounted for roughly 23% of antidepressant prescriptions that year. Sertraline is classified as a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). Its use has been increasing steadily since it first came on the market.

Escitalopram, better known by its brand name Lexapro, was prescribed to approximately 13.4 million people in the United States during the same period. This accounts for about 8% of SSRI prescriptions and just over 4% of total antidepressant prescriptions. The prevalence of escitalopram has remained stable over recent years.

It's important to note that both sertraline and escitalopram are considered safe for use while breastfeeding according to several studies; however, always consult with your healthcare provider before starting or continuing these medications while breastfeeding.


Both Zoloft (sertraline) and Lexapro (escitalopram) have long-standing records of usage in patients with depression and anxiety, supported by numerous clinical studies and meta-analyses indicating that they are more effective than placebo treatments. In some cases, the drugs may be combined, but this is subject to careful consideration by a physician as they also interact with each other. The key difference lies in their selectivity for serotonin receptors, with Lexapro being more selective than Zoloft.

Zoloft is often considered a first-line treatment option not only for depression but also for post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. On the other hand, Lexapro would usually be considered as an adjuvant therapy to Zoloft or in patients who did not respond well to first-line SSRI antidepressants such as Zoloft.

Both drugs are available in generic form which represents significant cost savings especially for those paying out-of-pocket. Both medications may require an adjustment period, meaning that effects might not be noticeable immediately.

The side effect profile is similar between the two medications; both being generally well-tolerated but with different potential side effects: weight changes with Zoloft versus sleep disturbances with Lexapro. For breastfeeding mothers specifically considering these drugs' use should consult their healthcare provider since small amounts can pass into breast milk potentially affecting the nursing infant.