Paroxetine Interactions, Dosage, Side Effects, Warnings & Uses

Paroxetine is a prescription drug used to treat depression, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It works by restoring serotonin in the brain. In this short article, we discuss the side effects, warnings, interactions, and dosage of paroxetine. We answer the questions what is paroxetine, what is it used for, and what are the mechanisms of action of this prescription drug? 

What is Paroxetine? 

Paroxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI, which works by restoring the balance of a natural substance called serotonin in the brain. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions including depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, and OCD. It is usually available under the brand names Paxil and Paxeva.

What is Paroxetine Used For?

Paroxetine is used to treat depression, panic attacks, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. It can be useful in improving mood, sleep, appetite and general energy levels. Paroxetine may also reduce fear, anxiety, unwanted thoughts, and frequency of panic attacks. 

Paroxetine Mechanism of Action

As a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, paroxetine works by increasing the levels of serotonin within the brain. Paroxetine’s mechanism of action is to block the serotonin reuptake transporter, increasing concentration of serotonin.

Paroxetine Dosage 

Dosage of paroxetine may depend on many factors including age, weight, height, medical history, and other medications. Paroxetine is available as an immediate release tablet, immediate release suspension, and controlled release tablet.

Forms and Strengths

Paroxetine is available under the brand name drugs Paxil and Pavexa and as a generic drug. 

Generic: Paroxetine

Form: Immediate-release oral tablet

Strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, 

Form: Extended-release oral tablet

Strengths: 12.5mg, 25mg, 37.5mg 

 

Brand: Paxil

Form: Immediate-release oral tablet

Strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg

 

Brand: Paxil CR

Form: Extended-release oral tablet

Strengths: 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 37.5 mg

 

Brand: Pexeva

Form: Immediate-release oral tablet

Strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg

 

Adult Dosage for Depression

For depression, paroxetine comes as an immediate release-tablet, immediate-release suspension, and controlled-release tablet.

Immediate-release (IR) tablets and suspension:

Initial Dosage: 20mg taken orally once a day

Maintenance Dosage: 20-40mg taken once a day 

Maximum Dosage: 80mg taken once a day

 

Controlled-release (CR) tablets:

Initial Dosage: 25mg taken orally once a day. 

Maintenance Dosage: 25 to 62.5 mg orally once a day. 

Maximum Dosage: 62.5 mg orally once a day.

 

Adult Dosage for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 

Paroxetine for PTSD comes as an oral tablet. 

Immediate-release Oral Tablets

Initial Dosage: 20mg per day

Maintenance Dosage: 20-50mg per day

Side Effects of Paroxetine

Paroxetine may cause side effects. Some side effects are more common and serious than others. 

Common Side Effects

Common side effects of paroxetine may include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness 
  • Weakness
  • Nervousness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Forgetfulness
  • Confusion
  • Sleepiness
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Gas
  • Stomach pain
  • Heartburn
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Weight gain
  • Yawning

If these side effects are mild, they may disappear within a few days. If you have stopped taking your medication and the effects are still present, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Other side effects of paroxetine are more serious. Call your doctor immediately if you are experiencing any of these serious side effects. 

Serious side effects of mirtazapine may include:

  • Fainting
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abnormal bleeding or bruising
  • Seizures
  • Peeling or blistering of skin
  • Sore throat
  • Fever 
  • Chills
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Bloody vomit
  • Red blood in stools
  • Black or tarry stools

Paroxetine Warnings

Taking paroxetine can lead to serotonin syndrome, increased bleeding, and decreased sex drive. In rare cases, paroxetine can worsen symptoms of depression. Consult your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms.

Serotonin Syndrome Warning 

Paroxetine can cause a life-threatening condition known as serotonin syndrome. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include, but are not limited to agitation, hallucinations, confusion, trouble thinking, coma, coordination problems, and muscle twitching. Consult your doctor immediately if you experience any of these serious symptoms. 

Sexual Problems Warning

Taking paroxetine can decrease sex drive and cause delayed orgasm, inability to have an orgasm, and delayed ejaculation. Contact your doctor if you experience any changes in sexual function. 

Paroxetine Interactions

Paroxetine can affect how other medications work or increase risk for serious side effects. Keep a list of all products you use and share it with your doctor or pharmacist. Do not stop, start, or change the dosage of any medications without doctor approval. 

Products that may interact with paroxetine include: thioridazine, clopidogrel, and ibuprofen. 

Taking aspirin in conjunction with paroxetine can increase the risk of bleeding. Consult with your doctor before taking paroxetine if you often use aspirin. 

Taking Monoamine oxidase inhibitors in conjunction with paroxetine may cause serious and possibly fatal drug interactions. Avoid taking these inhibitors at the same time as paroxetine. MAO inhibitors should not be taken for two weeks before taking paroxetine.

Paroxetine Interactions, Dosage, Side Effects, Warnings & Uses Summary 

Paroxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. It works by restoring balance and levels of serotonin in the brain. 

Paroxetine can be used to treat a variety of conditions such as depression, panic attacks, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Paroxetine

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