Taking Paxil During Pregnancy: What You Need to Know
Is it safe to take Paxil while pregnant?
When a woman becomes pregnant, everything she puts into her body can affect the fetus growing in her womb. This is why it is important for women to monitor everything they put into their systems during pregnancy and avoid using drugs as much as possible. This includes abstaining from using prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and illegal substances. However, some women may need to stay on medications during their pregnancy if they need medications to function in their daily lives.
Paxil is an antidepressant prescription medication used to treat depression, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Common side effects associated with using Paxil include inability to empty the bladder, trouble sleeping, constipation, diarrhea, painful urination, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, excessive sweating, nausea, weakness, headache, quivering, loss of appetite, nervousness, and sexual problems. These common Paxil side effects should go away as your body adjusts to the medication. Be sure to let your doctor know if the side effects of Paxil do not go away or get any worse over time.
If you are pregnant or are considering becoming pregnant and have questions about whether using Paxil during this time is safe, contact your doctor to discuss this topic more in-depth. Generally, Paxil should only be used during pregnancy if the benefits of the medication outweigh the risks to the fetus. Your doctor will be able to determine whether using Paxil during pregnancy is right for your situation. The safety of using different medications should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) classifies medications under different categories to determine their safety of use during pregnancy. The FDA has classified Paxil under the pregnancy risk category D. This category is reserved for medications that pose risks to the human fetus. Because of these possible risks, you should only use Paxil if your doctor has deemed it absolutely necessary. Although, as you read on you will learn more about other prescription antidepressants that may prove to be a safer alternative to use while pregnant.
Some studies have indicated using Paxil during pregnancy may increase your risk for miscarriage. In addition, there may be an increased risk of your newborn experiencing heart defects if you use Paxil while pregnant. Some babies who are exposed to Paxil near the time of delivery may go through withdrawal symptoms after birth. This may include jitteriness, increased muscle tone, irritability, altered sleep patterns, tremors, difficulty eating, and breathing issues.
If you are currently a Paxil patient and become pregnant, do not immediately stop using the medication. Promptly let your doctor know you are pregnant and schedule a meeting to discuss whether you should stay on Paxil during pregnancy or not. Even if you no longer want to use this medication, you should never adjust your Paxil treatment schedule without your doctor’s permission. If you suddenly stop using Paxil, you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms. These Paxil withdrawal symptoms can negatively affect your health and the health of the fetus. Withdrawal symptoms from Paxil include anxiety, depression, mood swings, dizziness, balance problems, shock sensations, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, headache, and loss of coordination. To avoid these Paxil withdrawal symptoms as much as possible, ask your doctor about tapering off your medication. This strategy allows your body to adjust to less and less of the medication over time while helping you avoid severe withdrawal symptoms.
Some women may need to stay on medications while pregnant if they suffer from severe, debilitating depression. Using medications during this time is thought to be more beneficial to the mother and fetus. This is because the mother may not be motivated to take care of herself without medication. If a woman does not properly take care of herself during pregnancy, the fetus may suffer the consequences.
If you do not want to use Paxil while pregnant to treat your depression, you may want to ask your doctor about other antidepressants that are safer to use during pregnancy. Generally, SSRI antidepressants are thought to be the safest types of antidepressants for use by pregnant women. SSRI antidepressants include Celexa, Zoloft, and Prozac. Pregnant women who suffer from less severe depression may want to seek treatment without medications. This may include behavioral therapy or counseling.
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