Paxil

Generic Name: Paroxetine

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Paxil is a medicine called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It is used to treat major depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Paxil is available in tablets and an oral solution.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Paxil is thought to work by increasing the activity of a chemical in your brain called serotonin. By increasing serotonin, Paxil may help improve your symptoms.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What:

    Major Depressive Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Paxil has been shown to relieve symptoms associated with these conditions, as measured by appropriate symptom rating scales that are commonly used by healthcare providers to evaluate the effectiveness of the medicine in people with such conditions.

    Panic Disorder: Paxil may reduce the number of panic attacks you experience.

    Social Anxiety Disorder: Paxil may relieve feelings of fear, anxiety, and avoidance of social and performance situations.

    When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Paxil exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed, even if you do not feel better right away.

    How do I know it is working?

    Your healthcare provider may ask you a series of questions from time to time that will help assess how well your symptoms are controlled with treatment.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    Paxil can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, teenagers, and young adults. Your healthcare provider will monitor you closely for clinical worsening and suicidal or unusual behavior after you start taking Paxil or start a new dose of Paxil. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you experience anxiety, hostility, sleeplessness, restlessness, impulsive or dangerous behavior, or thoughts about suicide or dying; or if you have new symptoms or seem to be feeling worse.

    More common side effects may include: weakness, sweating, nausea, decreased appetite, drowsiness, dizziness, trouble sleeping, shaking, nervousness, sexual problems, dry mouth, constipation, yawning, infection, diarrhea.

    Less common side effects may include:

    Serotonin syndrome (a potentially life-threatening drug reaction that causes the body to have too much serotonin, a chemical produced by the nerve cells) with symptoms such as mental status changes (such as agitation or hallucinations), an increase in your heart rate and temperature, lack of coordination, overactive reflexes, muscle rigidity, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

    Harm to your unborn baby if taken during pregnancy, including complications at birth.

    Abnormal bleeding or bruising, especially if you also take blood thinners (such as warfarin), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (such as ibuprofen or naproxen), or aspirin.

    Manic episodes with symptoms such as greatly increased energy, severe trouble sleeping, racing thoughts, reckless behavior, excessive happiness or irritability, or talking faster than usual.

    Low blood sodium (salt) levels with symptoms such as headache, weakness, an unsteady feeling, confusion, problems concentrating or thinking, or memory problems.

    Inner restlessness and agitation with symptoms such as an inability to sit or stand still.

    Bone fractures, with symptoms such as unexplained bone pain, tenderness, swelling, or bruising.

    Paxil may also cause seizures.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Paxil if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

    Do not take Paxil if you take another medicine called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (such as phenelzine, selegiline, or linezolid), a class of medications used to treat depression and other conditions. Do not start taking Paxil if you stopped taking an MAOI in the last 2 weeks, unless directed to do so by your healthcare provider.

    Do not take Paxil if you take pimozide or thioridazine.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Paxil. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have heart, kidney, or liver problems; high blood pressure; bipolar disorder or mania; low sodium levels in your blood; glaucoma (high pressure in the eye); a history of stroke, bleeding problems, or seizures; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Major Depressive Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Social Anxiety Disorder

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 20 milligrams (mg) once a day. Your healthcare provider may increase your dose as needed until the desired effect is achieved.

    Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

    Adults: The recommended dose is 20 mg once a day.

    Panic Disorder

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 10 mg once a day. Your healthcare provider may increase your dose as needed until the desired effect is achieved.

    If you are elderly or have liver or kidney impairment, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.

    It is important that you do not stop taking this medication abruptly. If you need to change or stop taking this medication, it is important that you only do this with the guidance of your healthcare provider.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Paxil exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Paxil without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    Take Paxil once a day, usually in the morning. Take it with or without food.

    Swallow Paxil tablets whole. Do not chew or crush them.

    Shake Paxil oral solution well before you take the medicine.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or engage in other dangerous activities until you know how Paxil affects you.

    Do not drink alcohol while you are taking Paxil.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Paxil is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. Paxil may interact with numerous medications. Therefore, it is very important that you tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking.

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Paxil may cause harm to your unborn baby, including complications at birth, if you take it during pregnancy. Paxil can be found in your breast milk if you take it while breastfeeding. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss a dose of Paxil, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature.

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