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Paxil (Paroxetine)

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Updated October 03, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

What Paxil Is Used For:

How Paxil Is Taken:

Paxil is available in 10, 20, 30 and 40 mg tablets and a oral suspension liquid containing 10 mg paroxetine per 5 mL.

Paxil can be taken with or without food; morning is usually recommended.

Your particular dose will depend on your personal case and your doctor's judgment. Always follow the dosing instructions provided to you.

Who Should Not Take Paxil:

Your doctor will not prescribe Paxil for you if you are already taking:

Your doctor will also not prescribe Paxil if you have a known hypersensitivity to paroxetine or any of Paxil's inactive ingredients.

Paxil Side Effects:

The most common side effects of Paxil are:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Sleepiness
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Tremor
  • Nervousness
  • Ejaculatory and orgasmic disturbances and sexual dysfunction

Drugs That Interact With Paxil:

Drugs and supplements that may potentially interact with Paxil include, but are not limited to:

  • Other antidepressants
  • Dexfenfluramine
  • Fenfluramine
  • Phentermine
  • Procarbazine
  • St. John's wort
  • Tryptophan
  • Pimozide
  • Thioridazine
  • Warfarin
  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen
  • Triptans
  • Cimetidine
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin
  • Lithium
  • Digoxin
  • Diazepam
  • Procyclidine
  • Theophylline
  • Fosamprenavir
  • Linezolid
  • Ritonavir

Always inform your doctor of any other medications you are taking, including any herbs or supplements.

Concerns for Specific People Using Paxil:

  • Pregnant women in the third trimester: Babies exposed to Paxil during the third trimester may develop complications following birth including prolonged hospitalization, as well as the need for breathing support and tube feeding. You should discuss the risks and benefits of continuing Paxil in the third trimester with your doctor to determine if you need to taper off Paxil or switch to another drug.
  • Elderly or debilitated patients and patients with severe kidney or liver impairment: If you fall into one of these groups, your doctor may prescribe a lower or less frequent dose than he would for a younger and/or healthier patient.

Some Important Notes About Paxil:

  • You may be screened for bipolar disorder and monitored for any signs of mania or hypomania while taking Paxil.
  • Tell your doctor if you have any other diseases or conditions, particularly a history of seizures, kidney or liver disease, diseases that affect metabolism or blood flow regulation and angle-closure glaucoma. These specific concerns may affect how or even if your doctor chooses to prescribe Paxil for you.
  • Paxil may increase the risk of abnormal bleeding, especially if used with other drugs that affect blood clotting.
  • Abnormally low levels of sodium in the blood may occur with Paxil.
  • Paxil may cause a movement disorder called akathisia.
  • Use caution when operating machinery while taking Paxil.
  • Avoid alcohol while taking Paxil.

Should You Stop Taking Paxil?

Never stop taking Paxil without speaking to your doctor first.

  • If you feel that your depression is worsening or you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact your doctor immediately for advice.
  • Your doctor may recommend discontinuing Paxil if you experience adverse events like serotonin syndrome, neuroleptic malignant syndrome-like reactions or an allergic reaction.
  • If your doctor recommends that you stop taking Paxil, make sure you ask for clear instructions for tapering off your dose. Although Paxil is eliminated from the body more slowly than other antidepressants, it is still possible that you may experience discontinuation syndrome if you stop taking Paxil abruptly.

Source:

Paxil - Prescribing Information. GlaxoSmithKline plc. Accessed: Jan. 28, 2010. http://www.paxil.com

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