Paroxetine (Paxil)


What is Paxil Used to Treat?

Paxil® is the brand name for the drug paroxetine and is an antidepressant in the SSRI family. Paxil is used to treat depression, panic and anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Paxil is also used to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PDD).

How Does Paxil Work?

As an SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor), Paxil works by increasing serotonin levels and helping to create a normal chemical balance in the brain. Paxil is thought to be the most potent of the SSRI antidepressant drugs and the effect is has on neurons is considered the reason for the success in treatment of depression.

What are the Possible Side Effects of Paxil?

Persons who use Paxil sometimes experience side effects. Side effects usually happen within the first 1-4 weeks as the body is getting adjusting to the medication. Anyone taking Paxil should consult with their health care provider if they experience any or all of the following:

  • Weight gain
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Tremors
  • Memory or concentration problems
  • Parethesia
  • High blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Mania
  • Hypomania

Paxil has been shown to contribute to sexual dysfunction not only while someone is taking Paxil but sometimes for months or years after discontinuation. This has been especially frustrating to people who use Paxil. Sexual dysfunctions associated with Paxil include changes in sex drive, difficulty with sexual arousal, difficulty with achieving orgasm and problems with ejaculation.

Research indicates an increased rate of suicidal ideations in children, teens or young adults who use Paxil, as well as increased amount of thoughts of self harm and bad outcomes. Because of this, Paxil is contraindicated in persons under the age of 18.


Persons who discontinue using Paxil may suffer from Discontinuation Syndrome or Withdrawal. This is especially true if patients suddenly stop taking Paxil instead of being slowly weaned off under the supervision of a health care provider. Physical symptoms of withdrawal include anxiety, crying, insomnia, vivid dreams or nightmares, nausea, dizziness and vertigo. In 2001 the World Health Organization ranked Paxil as the most difficult of all the antidepressants to withdraw from.

Couples planning on pregnancy should be aware that Paxil has been shown to cause DNA fragmentation in sperm in the male, fetal defects and increased risk of miscarriage. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not take Paxil.

Women with a history of breast cancer should not take Paxil. Women who take tamoxifen along with Paxil have a higher rate of death from breast cancer.

Drugs that inhibit metabolism of serotonin, anti-psychotics or other dopamine antagonists are not compatible with Paxil use.

Persons considering taking Paxil should consult with their health care provider to help determine if it is the best medication for them.

photo by Tokino


The information provided on the is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

PsyWeb Poll

Are you currently taking or have you ever been prescribed anti-depressants?
Total votes: 3979