Paroxetine: Uses & Side Effects

Paroxetine is an antidepressant in a group
of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Paroxetine
affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with
depression, anxiety, or other disorders.

Paroxetine is used to treat depression,
anxiety disorders (including generealized anxiety, panic disorder,
obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and
social anxiety disorder) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

The Brisdelle brand of paroxetine is used
to treat hot flashes related to menopause. Brisdelle is not for treating any
other conditions.

should I take paroxetine?

Take paroxetine exactly as prescribed by
your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may
occasionally change your dose. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller
amounts or for longer than recommended.

Do not crush, chew, or break an
extended-release paroxetine tablet. Swallow it whole.

Shake the paroxetine oral suspension
(liquid) well just before you measure a dose. Measure liquid medicine with the
dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine
cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

It may take up to 4 weeks before your
symptoms improve. Keep using the medication as directed and tell your doctor if
your symptoms do not improve.

Do not stop using paroxetine suddenly, or
you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely
stop using paroxetine. Follow your doctor’s instructions about tapering your

Store paroxetine at room temperature away
from moisture, heat, and light.


You should not use this medicine if you are
allergic to paroxetine, or if you are also taking pimozide, thioridazine, or

Do not use an MAO inhibitor within 14 days
before or 14 days after you take paroxetine. A dangerous drug interaction could
occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline,
selegiline, tranylcypromine, and methylene blue injection. After you stop
taking paroxetine you must wait at least 14 days before you start taking an MAO

To make sure paroxetine is safe for you,
tell your doctor if you have:

  • heart disease, high blood pressure, history of stroke;
  • liver or kidney disease;
  • a bleeding or blood clotting disorder;
  • seizures or epilepsy;
  • migraine headaches;
  • bipolar disorder (manic depression), or a history of drug abuse or
    suicidal thoughts;
  • narrow-angle glaucoma;
  • low levels of sodium in your blood.

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 paroxetine 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 paroxetine during pregnancy
without your doctor’s advice.

Do not use Brisdelle if you are pregnant.

Paroxetine can pass into breast milk and
may cause side effects in the nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while
using this medicine.

is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.


Get emergency medical help if you have
signs of an allergic reaction to paroxetine: skin rash or hives; difficult
breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Report any new or worsening symptoms to
your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble
sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive,
restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have
thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • racing thoughts, decreased need for sleep, unusual risk-taking
    behavior, feelings of extreme happiness or sadness, being more talkative than
  • 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;
  • agitation, hallucinations, fever, fast heart rate, overactive
    reflexes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, fainting;
  • headache, confusion, slurred speech, severe weakness, loss of
    coordination, feeling unsteady;
  • very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or
    uneven heartbeats, tremors, fainting;
  • 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.

Common paroxetine side effects may include:

  • vision changes;
  • weakness, drowsiness, dizziness;
  • sweating, anxiety, shaking;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • loss of appetite, constipation;
  • dry mouth, yawning;
  • decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm.


Taking paroxetine with other drugs that make
you sleepy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before taking a sleeping
pill, narcotic medication, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression,
or seizures.

Tell your doctor about all your current
medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

  • pimozide, thioridazine, or tryptophan;
  • isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline,
    tranylcypromine, methylene blue injection;
  • 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
  • narcotic pain medicine – fentanyl, tramadol;
  • medicine to treat anxiety, mood disorders, thought disorders, or
    mental illness – such as buspirone, lithium, other antidepressants, or
  • migraine headache medicine – sumatriptan, rizatriptan, zolmitriptan,
    and others;
  • seizure medicine – phenobarbital, phenytoin.

Always consult your healthcare provider to
ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal

Keywords: paroxetine; antidepressants; SSRIs.

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