Paxil (paroxetine) is a prescription medication used to treat depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder.
It is in a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) that are believed to work by restoring the balance of serotonin which helps to balance mood.
It is taken orally and comes in tablet form, liquid form, and long-acting tablets. Typically, it is taken once daily in the morning or evening, with or without food.
Some folks find that taking it with food is the best way to prevent upset stomach which may be a side effect in some folks who take it.
It is meant to be taken at the same time every day. The tablets are intended to be swallowed whole, not chewed or crushed.
If you take the liquid form, shake it well prior to use. It may take several weeks to see the full benefits of this medication; patience is key. See this handy dosage guide.
Side effects may include headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, tiredness, confusion, decreased appetite, weight loss or weight gain, and dry mouth. Side effects usually occur in a small number of people who take this medication. Side effects are usually temporary when first taking a new medication.
More serious side effects may include: blurred vision, hallucinations, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, difficulty breathing, seizures, fever, skin irritations or abnormalities, tremors, unsteady gait, severe or sudden nausea or vomiting, difficulty swallowing, or swelling in body parts such as the tongue, throat, face, legs, hands, or feet.
Serious side effects may be an indication of serotonin syndrome, which can be potentially life-threatening. If you experience these serious side effects, contact your doctor immediately. Also, report any unusual side effects that are not listed here if they occur while taking this drug.
Overdose symptoms may include the following: nausea, coma, drowsiness, uncontrollable tremors, irregular heartbeat, confusion, psychosis, vomiting, blurred vision, extreme fatigue, stomach pain, flu-like symptoms, agitation, diarrhea, sweating, fever, difficulty urinating, total loss of appetite, abnormal gait, or difficulty walking or moving. Seek emergency medical attention or call 911 if you experience these symptoms.
Withdrawal may result if you abruptly stop taking this medication. Withdrawal symptoms can include depression, sudden mood changes, anxiety, irritation, confusion, dizziness, headache, fatigue, insomnia or sleep disturbances, nausea, and sweating. If you experience these symptoms, report them to your doctor right away.
In some studies, suicidal thoughts were a reported side effect that occurred mostly in some younger patients (under age 24) when first starting this drug. It is not typical for children younger than 18 years of age to take this medication, but it is prescribed carefully for some young patients on a case-by-case basis.
Do not take this medication together with Orap (pimozide), Mellaril (thioridazine), or a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as Marplan (isocarboxazid), Nardil (phenelzine), Azilect (rasagiline), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), or tranylcypromine (Parnate).
Paxil And Pregnancy
Research indicates a link between this antidepressant and birth defects in women who use this medication while pregnant. Read this special warning about the risks of combining antidepressants and pregnancy. In addition, birth defects related to use of this medication in pregnant mothers was the basis for a Paxil class action lawsuit.
Mixing With Alcohol
It is not recommended that one mix psychiatric medications with alcohol. Read about the possible health risks when combining antidepressants and alcohol: The Dangers Of Mixing Antidepressants And Alcohol.
Psychiatric medications affect everyone differently so there is often a bit of trial and error involved in finding the most effective dose with minimal side effects. Finding the correct balance for each individual is key.
It is important to attend regular medication monitoring sessions with your prescribing doctor in order to track your progress and address any concerns.