Medically reviewed by Mary Lucas, RN
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 7/23/2020
Living with depression is merely existing. And sometimes the sheer effort it takes to go through the daily motions of life leaves no energy for seeking help.
Getting medical advice about how you’re feeling is the first step in getting help. You don’t have to live with depression. There are treatment options available.
Paxil® is one such treatment. It does come with the risk of side effects. But like all medical treatments, these risks should be weighed carefully with the potential benefits.
When depression has you feeling down and out, the risk of mild side effects may be a risk worth taking.
Paxil is a brand name antidepressant drug, also available under the generic name paroxetine.
Generic drugs are considered as safe and effective as the original, brand name medication. It is a member of the class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.
These drugs work to increase the amount of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, believed to affect mood and sleep, among other things.
Paxil is available in tablets, liquid and long-acting tablet forms.
It is prescribed for the treatment of several mental health conditions, including depression or major depressive disorder, panic disorder (characterized by panic attacks), social anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Mental health problems, such as depression, often come with a stigma. But they shouldn’t.
They’re relatively common and affect people of all backgrounds. Depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions are not a sign of weakness.
Your healthcare provider can determine whether your symptoms may be helped by an antidepressant such as Paxil or paroxetine. This determination is based on, among other things, your diagnosis, medical history and the medications you’re currently on.
As with all medications, there are potential side effects with Paxil. The most common side effects, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), include:
Sleepiness and yawning
Changes in appetite
If these side effects are disruptive or do not go away, tell your healthcare provider. There may be an alternative better suited for you.
If you’re considering taking Paxil, tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you’re on, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements.
It may interact negatively with some medicines, so it’s important to prevent such adverse effects whenever possible.
A few of the medications known to cause drug interactions with Paxil include: blood thinners, other antidepressant medications, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, antihistamines, St. John’s wort and more.
Stopping Paxil abruptly can result in symptoms of withdrawal, so tell your healthcare provider if you want to be taken off of the medication.
Potential withdrawal symptoms include: nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, nightmares, irritability and the feeling of pins and needles on the skin.
A health care professional can help you come up with a plan to come off of Paxil gradually, minimizing these effects.
Serotonin syndrome is relatively rare, but possible when taking Paxil. If you experience the following symptoms, seek medical attention: shivering, diarrhea, confusion, muscle tension, seizures or fever.
This condition may be fatal.
The decision whether to take Paxil, as with any drug, should be made balancing the potential risks with the potential benefits. Your healthcare professional can help you make an educated decision on whether it’s the right drug for you.