Paroxetine (Paxil)


Overview: Paroxetine, known by the brand name Paxil, is an antidepressant of the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) class. Paroxetine is used to treat depressionAnxietyObsessive compulsive disorder, and sometimes Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Paroxetine has helped many people recover from depression. It doesn’t have many side effects compared to older antidepressants. Paroxetine is only available on prescription.





Key Facts: It will take around four to six weeks for Paroxetine to work, however minor improvements might be visible after around a week. There are a few side effects to Paroxetine, as mentioned below. Paroxetine should be used without interruption – you shouldn’t suddenly stop taking it. The medication should help jump start your mood, and slowly make you feel like your old self again.


How do they work?: Unfortunately, it isn’t entirely known how antidepressants work. The most widely accepted belief is that antidepressants work by increasing levels of a group of chemicals in the brain named neurotransmitters. Some of these neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and noradrenaline, can help improve mood and emotion. How this process exactly works is unknown. It is recommended that Paroxetine is used in conjunction with therapy.


Dosage: You should take Paroxetine once a day, preferably in the morning. Paroxetine should always be taken with food to avoid stomach aches. The dose of Paroxetine ranges from 10mg to 30mg. Sometimes, a lower dose will be prescribed at the beginning of treatment. It can take some time to find the correct dose. A typical treatment course of Paroxetine is six months, though a longer treatment course is common.


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Side Effects

With each box of Paroxetine, there will be an information leaflet enclosed. This will provide an exhaustive list of side effects. Side effects from Paroxetine should only last a few days, and are relatively mild. It is natural to experience some side effects as your body gets used to the medication.


Common side effects of Paroxetine include a lack of appetite, increased sweating, drowsiness, abnormal dreams, dizziness, headaches, tiredness, a dry mouth, constipation, sexual dysfunction and vomiting.


Serious side effects include suicidal thinking, chest pain, blurred vision, heavy bleeding, vomiting blood and psychosis. An overdose should be avoided, as it can cause the potentially fatal Serotonin Syndrome. You should contact your doctor if any of these serious side effects take place.




You should always read the information leaflet that comes with your medication as it will include important information there. You should tell your doctor if you are taking any other medication. It is important that you don’t use the herbal remedy St. Johns wort. You shouldn’t take any other antidepressant with Paroxetine unless directed by your doctor. Some antipsychotics, triptans and dopamine antagonistrs should also be avoided when using Paroxetine.


Alcohol acts as a depressant, therefore it is recommended that anyone taking an antidepressant stays away from drinking alcohol. Combining Paroxetine with  recreational drugs is also not recommended.


Paroxetine is not recommended in pregnancy or the breastfeeding stage. The medicine can cause withdrawal symptoms for breastfed babies.


Paroxetine isn’t recommended for use in people under the age of 18. Instead, some form of psychotherapy is recommended. Paroxetine was believed to be effective in treating adolescent depression, though the controversial Study 329 didn’t provide a truthful account.


Paroxetine is generally one of the lesser-prescribed SSRIs. This is because withdrawing from the medicine has been proven to be more difficult than other SSRIs. Withdrawal effects have been labelled as ‘severe’ compared to other antidepressants. Due to this, Doctor’s generally look to prescribe a different SSRI wherever possible.


Other SSRI’s: