Paxil is a brand-name drug for paroxetine. This drug is an antidepressant medication that is used to treat major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder. It is also used to treat posttraumatic stress disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorder.

Paxil is part of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) class. These drugs work by helping to restore the balance of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter. It is released by neurons in the brain to transmit nerve signals. Some functions of serotonin include the regulation of sleep, digestion, cognition, mood, and behavior. By Increasing the serotonin levels in the body, patients may experience anxiety relief and reduce depression symptoms. SSRIs also increase serotonin concentration in the space between neurons and prevent serotonin reuptake by inhibiting the serotonin transporter (SERT), a protein in the transmitting neuron.

Paxil Precautions and Warnings

Patients should not take Paxil if they are allergic to paroxetine. This medication should also not be combined with pimozide or thioridazine.

Stimulant medication, opioid medicine, herbal products, and other medications may also cause serotonin syndrome when combined with Paxil. Let your doctor know about any medications you are taking before starting the drug.

Paxil and other SSRI antidepressants have also been known to cause suicidal thoughts in some young people when they first begin taking the drug. This drug is not to be taken by those under 18 years old.

Taking this drug during pregnancy may also cause serious complications for the infant, such as serious lung problems. Contact a doctor before stopping the medication, as this could also cause a relapse of depression. Paxil should also not be taken by mothers who are breastfeeding.

Patients consult with their doctor or healthcare provider prior to taking Paxil if they have a history of:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Bleeding or blood clotting disorder
  • Seizures
  • Epilepsy
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Drug addiction
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Sexual complications
  • Narrow-angle glaucoma
  • Low levels of sodium in the blood

MAO Inhibitor Warnings

Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors should not be used within 14 days prior to or 14 days after taking Paxil, as it may cause a serious interaction.

These MAO inhibitors include:

Paxil Side Effects

Paxil has a variety of both serious and more common side effects.

Common Side Effects

Common Paxil side effects include:

  • Vision changes
  • Weakness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Shaking
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Yawning
  • Infection
  • Headache
  • Sexual difficulties

Severe Side Effects

Patients should contact a doctor immediately if they experience any new or worsening symptoms such as changes in mood or behavior, feelings of anxiety or panic attacks, difficulty sleeping, impulsiveness, irritability, agitation, hostility, aggression, restlessness, hyperactivity, increased depression, or thoughts of suicide or self-harm.

Severe Paxil side effects include:

  • 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
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Unusual bone pain or tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Changes in weight
  • Changes in appetite
  • Easy bruising
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Coughing up blood

Other Severe Reactions

Some patients may experience nervous system reactions. Symptoms include stiff muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, and fainting. Another severe possible side effect is low sodium levels in the body. Symptoms include headache, confusion, slurred speech, severe weakness, loss of coordination, and feelings of unsteadiness.

Medical attention should be sought right away if the patient experiences symptoms of serotonin syndrome. These symptoms include agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, coordination loss, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Allergic reactions to Paxil may be indicated by the appearance of hives, difficulty to breath, swelling in the face or throat, or severe skin reactions. If the patient experiences any of these symptoms, they should seek emergency medical attention immediately.

Drug Interactions with Paxil

Common drug interactions with Paxil include:

  • Cimetidine
  • Digoxin
  • John’s Wort
  • Tamoxifen
  • Theophylline
  • Tryptophan
  • Warfarin
  • Diuretics
  • Heart rhythm medicines
  • HIV medications
  • Narcolepsy medicines
  • ADHD medicines
  • Narcotic pain medicines
  • Anxiety medication
  • Mood disorders medication
  • Thought disorders medication
  • Medication for mental illness
  • Migraine headache medicines
  • Seizure medicines

Strengths and Dosages of Paxil

Paxil is available in a variety of strengths and doses.

Dosage FormStrengths
Tablet10 mg

20 mg

30 mg

40 mg

Capsule7.5 mg
Extended-Release Capsule12.5 mg

25 mg

37.5 mg

Oral Suspension10mg/5mL

Cost of Paxil in America?

The average cost for Paxil is around $300 for a 30-tablet supply without insurance or coupons. This number varies based on the strength. It costs around $292 for 10 mg tablets, $304 for 20 mg tablets, $313 for 30 mg tablets, and $330 for 40 mg tablets.

Why is Paxil So Expensive?

Paxil can be expensive without insurance coverage for a few reasons. Paxil is a brand-name version of paroxetine and is pricier than the generic. Additionally, it is an extended-release formulation which also costs more than immediate-release tablets. The lack of generic competition also allows for higher prices.

Paxil Alternatives

Paxil has a cheaper generic alternative called “paroxetine,” which may be used instead. Some other alternatives to Paxil may be used. Some of these include:

Paxil FAQs

How long does it take for Paxil to work?

It usually takes patients 1 to 2 weeks for Paxil to start helping. However, it may take several weeks or months for some patients to feel its full effect.

How long does Paxil stay in your system?

The half-life of Paxil is approximately 21 hours. However, it takes approximately 5 days for most of the drug to leave the body after the last dose is taken.

How does Paxil make you feel?

Most people should feel calmer and less anxious when taking Paxil. They may also notice improved sleep and social situations.

How do I wean off Paxil?

Do not stop Paxil all at once, as it could lead to severe withdrawal and other harmful side effects. To wean off of Paxil, patients should talk to their doctor about the best way to safely reduce the dose over time.

How long does Paxil withdrawal last?

Withdrawals from Paxil typically begin within 24 to 48 hours after patients stop taking the drug. Symptoms may peak around day 5 and usually resolve within 2 to 3 weeks.

Does Paxil cause weight gain?

Yes, weight gain is a common symptom of Paxil and other antidepressants. The likelihood of weight gain is increased for higher doses taken for longer periods of time.

How long does it take for Paxil to get out of your system?

Paxil can take around 5 days to fully exit the body’s system.

Does Paxil cause tiredness?

Yes, fatigue and drowsiness are common side effects of Paxil and other antidepressants.

When is the best time to take Paxil?

Paxil is usually recommended to be taken in the morning with food. However, if the drug causes sleepiness during the day, a doctor may change the dose time to nighttime.

What happens if you miss a dose of Paxil?

Patients may begin feeling a relapse in symptoms or experience symptoms of withdrawal if they miss a dose of Paxil. Once remembered, the dose should be taken immediately unless it is close to the time of the next close. In that case, the forgotten dose should be skipped, and the other doses should be continued as normal.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. It should not be taken as an endorsement of any specific medication or treatment. Individual health conditions and responses to treatment can vary greatly; therefore, this information should not be seen as a guarantee of safety, suitability, or effectiveness for any particular individual. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice and before making any decisions regarding your health or treatment plans.

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