Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects Of Paxil Abuse

Paxil (paroxetine) is commonly known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) known to improve mood, sleep, appetite and energy levels. The prescription medication has been used to treat depression, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and common anxiety disorders.
In a study conducted by the California Pacific Medical Center, Paxil (paroxetine) was administered to 42 patients. The patients suffered from varying degrees of alcohol dependence and anxiety disorders. Patients were treated with either paroxetine or a placebo for 16 weeks. After the study, patients who received Paxil reported similar alcohol intake but less anxiety. They also “relied less on alcohol to engage in social situations” (Thomas SE et al., Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2008;32(1):77–84).

As previously mentioned, Paxil has been prescribed to those who need the medication to improve their overall quality of daily life. It is intended to improve symptoms related to stress, mood swings, appetite and energy.

Paroxetine is an antidepressant made for social anxiety disorder and panic disorder. Paxil (paroxetine) has also been used to assist with hot flashes and night sweats related to menopause.

The medication reached the market in 1992, and generic variations have been widely available since 2003. GlaxoSmithKline, the company responsible for the prescription drug, was fined in 2012 for unlawfully misleading the public into believing paroxetine was effective in treating depression in adolescents.

Common side effects of Paxil (paroxetine) may include, but are not limited to:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep trouble
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Blurred vision
  • Yawning

Like any medication, side effects may worsen or persist. A doctor should be consulted immediately if this occurs. Serious side effects may include:

  • Shaking
  • Loss of coordination
  • Tremors
  • Restlessness
  • Decreased interest in sexual activity
  • Changes in sexual ability
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Easy bruising
  • Easy bleeding
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Muscle weakness
  • Spasms
  • Seizures

In the event of worsening conditions, medical attention may be needed right away. Seek immediate help should your body experience any of the following:

  • Black stools
  • Vomit resembling coffee grounds
  • Eye pain, swelling or redness
  • Larger pupils
  • Irregular vision changes
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever

In rare cases, Paxil (paroxetine) may cause males to experience painful or extended erections. The medication should be cut off entirely and medical attention should be sought immediately. Failure to receive medical attention may lead to permanent or long-term problems detailed below.

Paxil (Paroxetine) Signs, Symptoms, & Side Effects
As with any prescription medication, Paxil (paroxetine) may be recommended by a doctor to alleviate stress and depression. Like many SSRIs, Paxil is typically prescribed because of the low risk of dependence and its effectiveness in treating depression.

Paxil itself is physically non-addictive, but no studies on Paxil dependence or misuse have been conducted to date. Dependency is a known risk with any SSRI for patients who take more than the recommended dosage. Rather than a dependency on the drug itself, misuse may lead to dependency on the increased serotonin paroxetine causes.

Some signs of Paxil misuse may include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • Aggression
  • Insomnia
  • Weight gain
  • Sweating
  • Agitation
  • Impaired memory
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Headaches
Paroxetine shares many of the long-term side effects of most SSRIs. Mania and hypomania are a possibility in approximately 1 percent of patients. Long-term depression may develop in patients who also suffer from bipolar disorder. This adverse effect may occur in patients who do not currently suffer from mania or bipolar disorder but who have a family history of the conditions.

Like many other antidepressants, Paxil (paroxetine) could lead to suicide or related thoughts. In a 2004 study by the FDA, those who have been taking Paxil experienced increased suicidal thoughts compared to the placebo.

Long-term congenital defects in women who are pregnant may also occur. Medical professionals highly recommend ceasing treatment of SSRIs or other selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors during pregnancy.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “epidemiological studies have shown that infants born to women who had first-trimester paroxetine exposure had an increased risk of cardiovascular malformations, primarily ventricular and atrial septal defects (VSDs and ASDs).”

Women who are pregnant while taking paroxetine should be made aware of the potential harm that could be caused to the fetus. The benefits of taking Paxil should be weighed in comparison to the harm it could cause. The medications use has been associated with a 1.7-fold increase in heart defects and other birth defects.

As always, a doctor should be consulted if any adverse effects are experienced or any questions or concerns arise. Treatment centers are available nearby at the following locations.