Paxil (paroxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) known to improve mood, sleep, appetite and energy. The prescription drug is used for depression, panic attacks, OCD, PTSD and common anxiety disorders.

In a study by the California Pacific Medical Center, Paxil was given to 42 patients. Each had varying degrees of alcohol dependence and anxiety disorders. Patients were treated with either Paxil 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.”

What Is Paxil (Paroxetine)?

Paxil is used to reduce stress, mood swings, and low energy.

Paxil is a drug made for anxiety and panic disorders. Paxil has also been used for menopause hot flashes and night sweats.

Paxil is a branded form of paroxetine, which was released in 1992. The company that makes it was fined in 2012 for falsely representing paroxetine’s use for youth depression.

Common side effects of Paxil 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 drug, side effects may worsen or persist. Consult a doctor if effects worsen. Serious side effects may include:

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

If the condition worsens, medical attention may be needed right away. Seek help as soon as possible if you experience:

  • Black stool
  • Vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • Eye pain, swelling or redness
  • Big pupils
  • Unusual vision changes
  • Hallucinations

In rare cases, Paxil may cause painful or extended erections. Stop taking the drug and seek help if this happens. Failure to get medical help may lead to permanent or long-term problems.

Paxil (Paroxetine) Addiction

Paxil may be used to alleviate stress and depression. Like many SSRIs, Paxil is used because of the low risk of dependence and its role in treating depression.

Paxil is not physically addictive, but no studies on dependence or abuse have been conducted. Dependency is a known risk for any SSRI when more than the normal dose is used. Misuse may lead to dependency on the increase of serotonin that the drug causes.

Some signs of Paxil misuse are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • Aggression
  • Insomnia
  • Weight gain
  • Sweating
  • Agitation
  • Forgetfulness
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Headaches

Paxil (Paroxetine) Long-Term Effects

Paxil shares many of the long-term side effects of most SSRIs. Mania and hypomania are possible in 1% of patients. Lasting depression may develop in those who live with bipolar disorder. Depression may also occur in those who do not have bipolar disorder but who have a family history of it.

Like many other SSRIs, Paxil could lead to suicidal thoughts. In a 2004 study, the FDA found that those who took Paxil felt more suicidal compared to the placebo group.

Long-term birth defects may also occur. Doctors suggest avoiding SSRIs while pregnant. Babies exposed to these drugs in the first trimester had a higher risk of heart malformations and other defects.

Women who are pregnant while taking paroxetine should be aware of the harm that could be caused to the fetus. The benefits of Paxil should be weighed against the harm it could cause. The drug is connected to a 1.7-fold increase in heart defects and other birth defects.

As always, talk to a doctor about any adverse impacts, questions or concerns. Treatment centers are available nearby at nationwide locations.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.