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Paxil Side Effects

What Is Paxil

When Paxil (paroxetine) first was approved, it was hailed as a much-needed and welcomed addition to the antidepressant/antianxiety arsenal. In addition to being a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, it also had mild to moderate noradrenergic effects by inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine (NRI or NARI) and could be activating, which often helped depressed patients with lethargy. Additionally, Paxil is efficacious in the treatment of generalized anxiety, panic, posttraumatic stress, social phobia, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders. Unfortunately, the presence of Paxil side effects is one of the most frequently reported reasons patients discontinue antidepressant medications, and antidepressant medication discontinuation is associated with poorer treatment outcomes.

After a few years in Phase IV post-marketing clinical reporting, paroxetine exhibited a higher than an average number of adverse events reported to both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline. [1]

Paroxetine is an effective antidepressant that also has proven effective in treating generalized anxiety, panic, posttraumatic stress, social phobia, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders. It also is being used to treat peri-menopausal or menopausal hot flashes. Currently, it has received FDA indications for major depressive disorder, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, and hot flashes. However, the Paxil side effects range from congenital birth defects and heart abnormalities to breast and other possible cancers. It also may, along with other SSRIs and SNRIs, increase suicidality, aggression, and akathisia in pediatric patients with incidence outcomes that initially may have been significantly underestimated in clinical trials.

Paxil Side Effects
The active ingredient in Paxil is paroxetine, which is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). SSRIs treat depression by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain.

Paxil For Anxiety

Paroxetine, also known by the trade names Aropax, Paxil, Pexeva, Seroxat, Sereupin, and Brisdelle, was first marketed in the U.S. in 1992. Effective for major depression and various anxiety disorders, it quickly gained a sizable share of the antidepressant prescription market. By the late 1990s, paroxetine frequently was being associated with serious drug interactions and medication side effects.

Most significantly, in a major Canadian epidemiological study examining the relationship between antidepressants and diseases, paroxetine was associated with a 620 percent increase in the rate of breast cancer in women who had taken it over a four-year period. Though re-analyses of this investigation discounted the magnitude of these findings, other studies have associated paroxetine with numerous side effects and adverse events not reported in clinical trials. Among these effects on male fertility are birth defects, gestational hypertension, prolonged QT interval in infants, hyperprolactinemia, cognitive impairment in the elderly, autism, sexual side effects, weight gain, suicidality, aggression, and akathisia in children and adolescents. [2]

Side Effects Of Paxil

Most studies of Paxil discontinuation have focused on the acute phase of treatment. It is probable that the issues involved in discontinuation due to Paxil side effects are different in the acute, continuation, and maintenance phases of treatment. Patients may be willing to tolerate some Paxil side effects, such as sexual dysfunction, early in the course of treatment, but likely they are less willing to tolerate the side effects that reduce their quality of life during ongoing treatment. Therefore, it is important for clinicians to continually be aware of the emergence of Paxil side effects during the continuation and maintenance phases of treatment.

What Side Effects Can This Medication Cause?

Paroxetine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Heartburn
  • Changes in ability to taste food
  • Nervousness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Sexual problems in males; decreased sex drive, inability to get or keep an erection, or delayed or absent ejaculation
  • Sexual problems in females; decreased sex drive, delayed orgasm, or unable to have an orgasm
  • Confusion
  • Sleepiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Stomach pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Yawning
  • Pain in the back, muscles, bones, or anywhere in the body
  • Tenderness or swelling of joints

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING or SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS sections [3], call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:

  • Seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist (hallucinating)
  • Fainting
  • Rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Agitation, fever, sweating, confusion, fast or irregular heartbeat, severe muscle stiffness or twitching, hallucinations, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Abnormal bleeding or bruising
  • Tiny red spots directly under the skin
  • Peeling or blistering of the skin
  • Sore throat, fever, chills, cough, and other signs of infection
  • Uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
  • Unsteady walking that may cause falling
  • Bone pain or fracture
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands, feet, arms, or legs
  • Painful erection that lasts for hours
  • Sudden nausea, vomiting, weakness, cramping, bloating, swelling, tightness in hands and feet, dizziness, headache, and/or confusion
  • Hives
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • Hoarseness
  • Black and tarry stools
  • Red blood in stools
  • Bloody vomit
  • Vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • Tenderness, swelling, or bruising of one part of your body

Paroxetine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication. People should speak to a doctor about any changes in their thoughts, feelings, and mood after starting to take antidepressants. They can change the dose, and medication, and help people manage their Paxil side effects symptoms.

How Long Do Paxil Side Effects Last?

Most common Paxil side effects such as nausea, headache, and dizziness, tend to go away within two to four weeks as the body adjusts to the medicine. Some adverse effects, such as sexual problems, may persist. You should take Paxil exactly how it is prescribed. If you have questions or concerns, talk with your doctor.

Paxil Side Effects
The dose of Paxil that a doctor will prescribe depends on its intended use. Doctors will recommend a starting dose and may increase or decrease the dose depending on the person’s symptoms and Paxil side effects.


If a person takes too many antidepressants, they can overdose. Some of the symptoms of an antidepressant drug overdose may include nausea, vomiting, and blurred vision. Symptoms of Paxil drug overdose may include the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Fever, sweating, confusion, fast or irregular heartbeat, and severe muscle stiffness or twitching
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Dark red or brown urine
  • Frenzied, abnormally excited mood

Paxil Withdrawal

Before discontinuing Paxil, talk with your doctor. Some people have reported withdrawal-like symptoms when decreasing or stopping SSRI therapy. It is believed that these symptoms are the result of the brain trying to stabilize serotonin levels after an abrupt change.

Paxil Withdrawal Symptoms

The Paxil withdrawal symptoms that may occur during discontinuation of any SSRI therapy include:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Muscle Aches
  • Dizziness
  • Electric shock-like sensations in the neck and head

While all of these symptoms are not believed to be dangerous, they can be quite upsetting. When discontinuing an SSRI, your doctor may give you a gradual reduction schedule to avoid these withdrawal-like symptoms.

Drug Detox & Prescription Drug Rehab Texas

We Level Up TX involves round-the-clock medically supervised Paxil detox to help clients break the cycle of misusing prescription drugs. The client’s physical comfort and safety during drug detox are our utmost priority. Nurses monitor each client’s withdrawal signs regularly so that any medication intake can be adjusted accordingly.

Texas Inpatient Consultants

Paxil detox at We Level Up TX starts with a thorough pre-assessment by our Consultant Psychiatrist to determine the patient’s personalized drug detox program. They will gather all relevant medical history and drug use history information and prescribe any medication for managing Paxil withdrawal symptoms. The duration of Paxil detox will also be assessed on a case-by-case basis, as it depends on how much of the medication is in the patient’s body and for how long they had been using it, as well as other drugs. This needs to be monitored by the medical team.

Paxil Side Effects
Paxil carries a boxed warning from the FDA stating that the Paxil side effects can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or actions.

How We Can Help? Searched for “dual diagnosis treatment centers Texas” or are you seeking a national inpatient rehab destination?

Paxil may not be appropriate for everyone, so it is important to speak with a doctor before taking this antidepressant. People should also talk to their doctor if they experience any worsening symptoms or suicidal thoughts when taking Paxil or any antidepressant.

We Level Up TX has the expertise to treat dual-diagnosis, which is common among Paxil users. Since the Paxil side effects can lead to co-occurring mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts, the We Level Up TX treatment program is tailored to address these disorders at the same time. Reclaim your life, call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Your call is private and confidential and there is never any obligation.