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Hydroxyzine vs. Zoloft—A Comparative Guide

Hydroxyzine vs. Zoloft—A Comparative Guide

Imagine a sleepless night, where the minutes drag on like hours, and restlessness gnaws at your very core. The constant tossing and turning, the racing thoughts that seem impossible to silence—it's a scene familiar to many who have grappled with anxiety or mood disorders. In the quest for relief from such torment, two common medications often emerge as potential saviors—hydroxyzine and Zoloft. These pharmaceutical choices offer a glimmer of hope to those desperate for a reprieve from sleepless nights and relentless unease.

In this in-depth guide, we'll compare hydroxyzine vs. Zoloft, two distinct medications with unique approaches to addressing insomnia. Whether you're having trouble falling asleep, constantly worrying, or just curious about the various treatment choices available, we've got you covered.

How Does Hydroxyzine Work?

Hydroxyzine belongs to a class of drugs known as antihistamines. It primarily works by blocking histamine receptors in the brain, which can alleviate anxiety and help you relax. Histamine is a natural compound that plays a significant role in the body's immune response and is also associated with the regulation of wakefulness and alertness.

By inhibiting histamine receptors, hydroxyzine produces a sedative effect that can reduce your anxiety but also help you fall asleep more easily.

Who Can Take Hydroxyzine?

Source: manbob86

Doctors usually prescribe hydroxyzine to those dealing with anxiety disorders, allergic reactions, and itching. It is also used as a pre-surgery medication to reduce anxiety. It's generally considered safe for adults and can be given to children under medical supervision. Hydroxyzine comes in multiple forms, including tablets, solutions, and capsules, so you can choose a form that aligns with your needs and preferences. The available doses for hydroxyzine are:

  1. 10 mg
  2. 25 mg
  3. 50 mg
  4. 100 mg

Your healthcare provider will carefully assess your condition, taking into account its severity and your response to the medication. They'll then recommend a suitable dose and provide guidance on how often you should take it. For optimal results, you should take hydroxyzine 15–30 minutes before bedtime so that the medication takes effect right when you're ready to go to sleep.

The Side Effects of Hydroxyzine

Hydroxyzine can provide relief for various conditions, but like any medication, there are some potential side effects. Keep in mind that not everyone will experience these side effects, and their severity can vary from person to person.

Common side effects of Hydroxyzine may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation

While common side effects are generally mild and manageable, it's crucial to be aware of the potential for more adverse reactions. Although rare, a severe allergic reaction to hydroxyzine can occur. Its symptoms may include:

  1. Rash
  2. Itching/swelling, especially of the face, tongue, or throat
  3. Severe dizziness
  4. Trouble breathing

If you experience any of these symptoms, don't hesitate to contact a healthcare professional or seek emergency medical assistance.

How Does Zoloft Work?

Zoloft, also known by its generic name sertraline, is classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Its mechanism of action centers around the intricate dance of neurotransmitters within the brain. At the heart of this dance is serotonin, a neurotransmitter often referred to as the "feel-good" chemical due to its vital role in regulating mood and emotions.

In the brain, communication between nerve cells occurs through chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters. After transmitting their message, neurotransmitters need to be reabsorbed by the nerve cells to maintain balance. This is where Zoloft comes in—as an SSRI, it inhibits the reabsorption of serotonin, allowing it to linger between your nerve cells for longer. The extended presence of serotonin enhances its impact, helping regulate your mood.

As a result, Zoloft's ability to bolster serotonin levels in the brain makes it efficient in alleviating the symptoms of:




By raising your serotonin levels, Zoloft can help reduce the symptoms of depression with a "feel-good" effect


The enhanced serotonin levels can produce a soothing effect to calm your anxiety

Various mood disorders

The increase in serotonin that Zoloft causes can help regulate and stabilize your mood overall

By enhancing the brain's serotonin transmission, Zoloft helps you regain emotional balance and improves your mood and sleep quality. It's this careful modulation of neurotransmitters that makes Zoloft a valuable ally in your quest for emotional stability and improved sleep quality.

Source: manbob86

Who Can Take Zoloft?

Zoloft is commonly prescribed for individuals with:

Zoloft is generally considered safe for adults and for children under close medical supervision. This medication has the potential to bring about positive changes in various facets of your well-being—it can enhance your mood, promote better sleep, stimulate a healthier appetite, and boost your energy levels, improving your overall quality of life. 

The starting dose for adults is usually 50 mg once a day, taken either in the morning or evening. However, your doctor may adjust your dosage based on your response to the medication and your individual needs. Some people may require lower doses, while some may need higher ones, up to a maximum of 200 mg per day.

The Side Effects of Zoloft

Common side effects of Zoloft may include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drowsiness
  • Increased sweating
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Decreased interest in sex
  • Shaking
  • Unusual weight loss

Although severe side effects are rare, they require immediate medical attention if they occur. It's crucial to discuss potential side effects with your healthcare provider before you start taking Zoloft.

Hydroxyzine vs. Zoloft—Key Facts

Here's a side-by-side comparison of hydroxyzine and Zoloft to highlight their key differences:




Drug class


Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)

Mechanism of action

Blocks histamine receptors in the brain

Inhibits the reabsorption of serotonin, increasing its availability in the brain

Designed for treating

Anxiety disorders, allergic reactions, itching, pre-surgery anxiety, and insomnia

Depression, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder

Suitable for children

Yes (under medical supervision)

Yes (under medical supervision)

Dosage forms

Tablets, solution, capsules

Tablets, oral concentrate

Available dosages

10mg, 25mg, 50mg, 100mg

25mg, 50mg, 100mg

Common side effects

Drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, blurred vision

Nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, dry mouth, increased sweating

Major considerations

Sedative effects, potential for drowsiness, allergies, and itching relief

Delayed onset of action, potential sexual side effects, and discontinuation syndrome




FDA classification

Not a controlled drug

Not a controlled drug

Warnings and precautions

Caution when operating heavy machinery or driving due to sedation

Caution in individuals with a history of bipolar disorder or seizures

Zoloft vs. Hydroxyzine—Which One Should You Use?

Your choice between hydroxyzine and Zoloft will depend on several factors, including your underlying medical condition, your response to the medication, the presence of other medical conditions, and potential interactions with other medications. Before you opt for a sleep medication, it's crucial to understand these shouldn't be the first-line treatment approach for sleep issues.

If sleep problems are your primary concern, healthcare professionals may recommend non-pharmacological interventions as the initial treatment. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is an effective approach that focuses on changing behaviors and thought patterns related to sleep, helping you develop healthy sleep habits without relying on medication.

However, if your sleep problems persist even after you've tried non-pharmacological treatments, you can consider sleep medications. In such cases, hydroxyzine is often chosen for its sedative properties, which help promote sleep. It's particularly useful if your sleep difficulties are associated with anxiety or itching.

Zoloft isn't typically prescribed for sleep problems, but it may indirectly improve your sleep quality by addressing underlying mood or anxiety disorders. Bear in mind that it can take some time for Zoloft to become effective.

For personalized guidance and expert help in addressing sleep issues, consider seeking assistance from a dedicated sleep professional. If you're looking for tailored solutions and support, Kick can connect you with experienced experts who will provide you with valuable insights and strategies for achieving restorative sleep.


Kick—Your Best Night's Sleep Designed by Experts

With limited sleep specialists across the U.S., it can be difficult to get expert help if you're experiencing sleep problems. Kick bridges this gap by offering a comprehensive solution designed and overseen by sleep specialists, including the expertise of a renowned Stanford sleep specialist. This program offers a swift and hassle-free process that eliminates the need for frequent doctor visits. With Kick, you receive two trial medications tailored to your specific needs rather than generic prescriptions.

The entire treatment journey is closely supervised, allowing for prompt adjustments if the initial approach doesn't yield the desired results. You'll also gain access to our team of experts for valuable insights into cultivating healthy sleep practices. 

Kick's convenience extends to the delivery system, which allows you to pick up your prescribed medications from a local pharmacy or opt for home delivery. That's not all—as part of Kick's commitment to patient satisfaction, you won't have to pay for your consultation if our doctors deem the program isn't the right fit for you. This is what we call a Doctor Guarantee. With exceptional Trustpilot reviews, Kick has built a proven track record of unwavering excellence.

Get Started With Kick Today

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Kick makes it easy for you to get relief from sleeplessness through personalized treatment. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Go to our signup page and start your brief sleep visit
  2. Fill out the questionnaire to give the relevant info regarding your specific issue and medical history
  3. Enter the delivery address and payment details

Experience the benefits of better sleep today—take action and transform your nights!

Featured image source: cuncon