What is Paxil?Paxil belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Paxil is used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, social and generalized anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What is the most important information I should know about Paxil?Paxil is not approved for use in children and adolescents.
Antidepressants can increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressants or are taking a new dose should be watched closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual behavior. Patients and their families should contact the doctor immediately if new symptoms develop or seem to get worse. Signs to watch for include anxiety, hostility, sleeplessness, restlessness, impulsive or dangerous behavior, and thoughts about suicide or dying. These symptoms are especially important to watch for when an antidepressant is first started or when the dose is changed.
Paxil may cause the development of potentially life-threatening reactions known as serotonin syndrome or neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) when taken alone or in combination with other drugs. Symptoms may include increase in heart rate and temperature, incoordination, confused mental state, jerking movements, muscle rigidity, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
Paxil should not be taken in combination with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), or within 14 days before or 5 weeks after treatment with Paxil. MAOIs are a class of drugs used to treat depression, psychiatric or emotional conditions, and Parkinson's disease.
If Paxil is used during pregnancy, it could harm a developing baby. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
Paxil may cause a condition called hyponatremia (low blood sodium levels). Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms: headache, difficulty concentrating, confusion, weakness, unsteadiness, hallucinations, falls, or seizures.
Paxil may increase your risk of bleeding. Do not take Paxil with aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or blood thinners such as warfarin without your doctor's approval.
Paxil may cause eye problems such as glaucoma (high pressure in the eye). Contact your doctor immediately if you notice any vision changes.
Who should not take Paxil?You should not take Paxil if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. Also, do not take Paxil if you are currently taking MAOIs, linezolid, thioridazine, or pimozide.
What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Paxil?Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Paxil. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have a history of suicidal thoughts, panic attacks, insomnia, seizures, glaucoma, bleeding from the stomach or esophagus (tube that connects your mouth and stomach), or severe kidney or liver problems. Inform your doctor 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 doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder, MDD, OCD, and PTSD
Adults: The recommended starting dose is 20 milligrams (mg) once a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as necessary.
Adults: The recommended starting dose is 10 mg once a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as necessary.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Adults: The recommended dose is 20 mg once a day.
How should I take Paxil?Paxil should be taken once a day, preferably in the morning, with or without food. Paxil is available as tablets and an oral suspension. Swallow the tablets whole; do not chew or crush them.
Do not stop taking Paxil without first talking with your doctor; discontinuing it abruptly can cause serious side effects.
What should I avoid while taking Paxil?Paxil may cause you to become drowsy or less alert and may affect your judgment. Therefore, driving or operating dangerous machinery or participating in any hazardous activity that requires full mental alertness is not recommended until you know how Paxil affects you.
It is best to avoid alcohol while taking Paxil.
What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Paxil?If Paxil is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Paxil with any of the following: alcohol, amitriptyline, aspirin, atomoxetine, cimetidine, desipramine, digoxin, flecainide, fosamprenavir, imipramine, linezolid, lithium, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, nortriptyline, other SSRIs such as fluoxetine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, procyclidine, propafenone, quinidine, risperidone, ritonavir, St. John's wort, tamoxifen, theophylline, tramadol, triptans (migraine medications), tryptophan, and blood thinners such as warfarin.
Never take Paxil with MAOIs, thioridazine, or pimozide.
What are the possible side effects of Paxil?Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.
Side effects may include: abnormal ejaculation, decreased sex drive, impotence, constipation, diarrhea, decreased appetite, dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, nervousness, insomnia, sweating, tremor, weakness
Can I receive Paxil if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Unless the benefits of using Paxil justify the risks, you should talk with your doctor about either discontinuing Paxil or switching to another antidepressant.
Paxil appears in breast milk; talk to your doctor if you plan on breastfeeding.
What should I do if I miss a dose of Paxil?If you miss a dose, 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 Paxil?Store the tablets at room temperature. Store the oral solution at or below room temperature.