Drug vs. Drug

Prozac vs Xanax: Main Differences and Similarities

By | June 25, 2019

Prozac (fluoxetine) and Xanax (alprazolam) are two different drugs that can be used to treat panic disorder. Although they can treat similar symptoms, they work in different ways. Prozac is grouped into a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) while Xanax works as a benzodiazepine. We’ll explore their differences and similarities here.

Prozac

Prozac is the brand name for fluoxetine. As an SSRI, it works by increasing the availability of serotonin in the brain. It is approved to treat depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and bulimia in addition to panic disorder.

Prozac comes as a 10 mg, 20 mg, or 40 mg oral tablet. It is also available as a delayed-release oral capsule taken once per week. For panic disorder, Prozac is usually prescribed as 10 mg once daily. However, dosing ultimately depends on your doctor’s instruction.

Prozac may take 1 to 2 weeks to fully produce its effects. It is considered a medication for long-term use compared to other drugs.

Xanax

Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam. As a benzodiazepine, it works by increasing the activity of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, to produce feelings of calm. It is used to treat anxiety and panic disorder.

Xanax is available as a 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg oral tablet. Other forms are also available such as extended-release tablets, orally disintegrating tablets, and oral solutions. For panic disorder, Xanax may need to be taken multiple times throughout the day.

Xanax may produce its effects relatively quickly compared to Prozac. For this reason, it can sometimes be abused and is not generally recommended for long-term use.

Prozac vs Xanax Side by Side Comparison

Prozac and Xanax are two medications that treat similar conditions. However, they have several similarities and differences to understand. These features can be found in the table below.

Prozac Xanax
Prescribed For
  • Panic disorder
  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Panic disorder
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Drug Classification
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI)
  • Benzodiazepine
Manufacturer
Common Side Effects
  • Somnolence
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased libido
  • Ejaculation Disorder
  • Anorgasmia
  • Shaking
  • Nervousness
  • Pharyngitis
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Headache
  • Indigestion
  • Agitation
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Constipation
  • Restlessness
  • Decreased libido
  • Changes in appetite or weight
Is there a generic?
Is it covered by insurance?
  • Varies according to your provider
  • Varies according to your provider
Dosage Forms
  • Oral capsule
  • Oral capsule, delayed release
  • Oral tablet
  • Oral concentrate
  • Oral tablet, extended release
  • Oral tablet, orally disintegrating
Average Cash Price
  • $39 for a supply of 6, 200 mg capsules
  • $42.89 for a supply of 90, 1 mg tablets
SingleCare Discount Price
Drug Interactions
  • MAO inhibitors (isocarboxazid, phenelzine, selegiline, tranylcypromine)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline, nortriptyline, imipramine)
  • Triptans
  • Pimozide
  • Other SSRIs
  • SNRIs
  • NSAIDs
  • Cimetidine
  • Lamotrigine
  • Phenytoin
  • Carbamazepine
  • Zolpidem
  • Amiodarone
  • Fentanyl
  • Lithium
  • Tramadol
  • Buspirone
  • Amphetamines
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Aspirin
  • Warfarin
  • Thioridazine
  • Ketoconazole
  • Itraconazole
  • Clarithromycin
  • Cimetidine
  • Cyclosporine
  • Desipramine
  • Diltiazem
  • Ergotamine
  • Erythromycin
  • Fluconazole
  • Fluoxetine
  • Fluvoxamine
  • Imipramine
  • Nefazodone
  • Nicardipine
  • Nifedipine
  • Sertraline
  • Theophylline
  • Birth control pills
  • Seizure medications
Can I use while planning pregnancy, pregnant, or breastfeeding?
  • Prozac is in Pregnancy Category C. Animal studies have shown adverse effects to the fetus. Adequate studies have not been performed in humans. Consult a doctor regarding steps to take while pregnant and breastfeeding.
  • Xanax is in Pregnancy Category D. Therefore, it should not be taken during pregnancy. Consult a doctor regarding steps to take while planning pregnancy. Xanax should not be taken while breastfeeding.

Summary

Prozac (fluoxetine) and Xanax (alprazolam) are both potential options to treat panic disorder. However, as an SSRI, Prozac can also treat depression, OCD, and bulimia. Xanax, on the other hand, is primarily used for anxiety disorders.

Prozac can be used for long-term treatment of psychiatric disorders while Xanax is generally used as short-term treatment. For those with depression and panic disorder, Prozac may be a better option. In some cases, Prozac and Xanax may sometimes be prescribed together in the initial stages of treatment to allow for Prozac to reach consistent levels in the blood.

Prozac and Xanax exhibit similar side effects affecting sleep, mood, and libido. Both drugs can also interact with other medications that may increase the risk of adverse effects or decrease effectiveness.

Because Xanax has a higher abuse potential, its use may need to be monitored more often. Therefore, it’s important to discuss these medications with a doctor. One medication may be preferred over the other depending on your overall condition.