What is Paxil® (paroxetine) used for?
Paxil® is commonly used to treat depression, panic attacks, anxiety disorders, and a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (premenstrual dysphoric disorder). It works by helping to restore the balance of a certain natural substance (serotonin) in the brain.
How should I take Paxil® (paroxetine)?
Take Paxil® exactly as prescribed and directed by your doctor. Take this medicine by mouth with or without food, usually once in daily morning. However, take this medicine with food may decrease nausea.
Swallow the tablet whole. Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release Paxil® tablet. Shake the oral suspension (liquid) well just before you measure a dose.
It may take up to 4 weeks before your symptoms improve.
How do I store Paxil® (paroxetine)?
Paxil® is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Paxil® in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Paxil® that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.
You should not flush Paxil® down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Precautions & warnings
What should I know before using Paxil® (paroxetine)?
Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
- You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of Paxil® or other medications.
- You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.
You should not use Paxil® if you are also taking pimozide or thioridazine.
Do not use Paxil® within 14 days before or 14 days after you have used an MAO inhibitor, such as isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine.
Some young people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant. Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.
Taking Paxil® during pregnancy may cause serious lung problems, a heart defect, or other complications in the baby. However, you may have a relapse of depression or other treated condition if you stop taking your antidepressant. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Do not start or stop taking this medicine during pregnancy without your doctor’s advice.
Paroxetine can pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in the nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
Paxil® is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this medication during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication. This medication is pregnancy risk category C according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:
- A=No risk
- B=No risk in some studies
- C=There may be some risk
- D=Positive evidence of risk
What side effects can occur from Paxil® (paroxetine)?
Common Paxil side effects may include:
- Vision changes
- Sleep problems (insomnia)
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm
Call your doctor immediately if you have:
- Racing thoughts, decreased need for sleep, unusual risk-taking behavior, feelings of extreme happiness or sadness, being more talkative than usual
- Blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights
- Unusual bone pain or tenderness, swelling or bruising
- Changes in weight or appetite
- Easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), coughing up blood
- High levels of serotonin in the body – agitation, hallucinations, fever, fast heart rate, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, fainting
- Low levels of sodium in the body – headache, confusion, slurred speech, severe weakness, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady
- Severe nervous system reaction – very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, fainting
- Severe skin reaction – fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling
Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
What drugs may interact with Paxil® (paroxetine)?
Paxil® may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.
Products that may interact with this drug are:
- Cimetidine (Tagamet), St. John’s wort, tamoxifen, tryptophan (sometimes called L-tryptophan), warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
- Heart rhythm medicine
- HIV or AIDS medications
- Certain medicines to treat narcolepsy or ADHD – amphetamine, atomoxetine, dextroamphetamine, Adderall, Dexedrine, Evekeo, Vyvanse, and others
- Narcotic pain medicine – fentanyl, tramadol
- Medicine to treat anxiety, mood disorders, thought disorders, or mental illness – such as buspirone, lithium, other antidepressants, or antipsychotics
- Migraine headache medicine – sumatriptan, rizatriptan, zolmitriptan, and others
- Seizure medicine – phenobarbital, phenytoin
Does food or alcohol interact with Paxil® (paroxetine)?
Alcohol can increase the nervous system side effects of paroxetine such as dizziness, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating. Some people may also experience impairment in thinking and judgment. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with paroxetine.
Paxil® may interact with food by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food interactions before using this drug.
What health conditions may interact with Paxil® (paroxetine)?
Paxil® may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.
Health conditions that may interact with this drug are:
- Bone Fractures
- Renal Dysfunction
- Liver Disease
- Platelet Function
- Seizure Disorders
- Weight Loss
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication.
What is the dose of Paxil® (paroxetine) for an adult?
Major Depressive Disorder
Paxil® should be administered as a single daily dose with or without food, usually in the morning. The recommended initial dose is 20 mg/day.
Patients were dosed in a range of 20 to 50 mg/day in the clinical trials demonstrating the effectiveness of Paxil® in the treatment of major depressive disorder.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Paxil® should be administered as a single daily dose with or without food, usually in the morning. The recommended dose of Paxil® in the treatment of OCD is 40 mg daily. Patients should be started on 20 mg/day and the dose can be increased in 10-mg/day increments.
Paxil® should be administered as a single daily dose with or without food, usually in the morning. The target dose of Paxil® in the treatment of panic disorder is 40 mg/day. Patients should be started on 10 mg/day.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Paxil® should be administered as a single daily dose with or without food, usually in the morning. The recommended and initial dosage is 20 mg/day. In clinical trials the effectiveness of Paxil® was demonstrated in patients dosed in a range of 20 to 60 mg/day.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Paxil® should be administered as a single daily dose with or without food, usually in the morning. In clinical trials the effectiveness of Paxil® was demonstrated in patients dosed in a range of 20 to 50 mg/day. The recommended starting dosage and the established effective dosage is 20 mg/day.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Paxil® should be administered as a single daily dose with or without food, usually in the morning. The recommended starting dosage and the established effective dosage is 20 mg/day.
What is the dose of Paxil® (paroxetine) for a child?
The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How is Paxil® (paroxetine) available?
Paxil® is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:
- Tablet, film coated, oral suspension: paroxetine hydrochloride hemihydrate 10mg
What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?
In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of Paxil®, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Paxil. https://www.drugs.com/paxil.html. Accessed July 20, 2017
Paxil CR. http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-32900/paxil-cr-oral/details#interactions. Accessed July 20, 2017
Review Date: July 12, 2017 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019