Paroxetine and Its Side Effects

Type of Drug:

Antidepressant (SSRI); mood-elevating agent.

How the Drug Works:

The actual antidepressant mechanism of paroxetine is not known. It is presumed that it works by blocking the uptake of serotonin, a chemical found in the brain.

Uses Paroxetine

Immediate-release: To treat obsessions and compulsions in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Pregnancy: There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Use only if clearly needed and the potential benefits to the mother outweigh the possible hazards to the fetus.

Breastfeeding: Paroxetine appears in breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

Children: Safety and effectiveness in children have not been established.

Elderly: Initial dosage in the elderly should be reduced.

Drug Interactions:

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or if you are planning to take any over-the-counter or prescription medications or dietary supplements while taking paroxetine. Doses of one or both drugs may need to be modified or a different drug may need to be prescribed. The following drugs and drug classes interact with paroxetine:

  • Alcohol procyclidine (Kemadrin)
  • Antidepressants (eg, fluoxetine)
  • Phenobarbital (eg, Solfoton)
  • Phenytoin (eg, dilantin)
  • Quinidine (eg, Quinora)

Paroextine Side Effects:

Every drug is capable of producing side effects. Many paroxetine users experience no or minor side effects. The frequency and severity of side effects depend on many factors including dose, duration of therapy, and individual susceptibility. Possible side effects include:

Circulatory System: Chest pain; palpitations (pounding in the chest); high blood pressure; rapid heart rate.

Digestive Tract: Nausea; diarrhea; vomiting; constipation; gas; indigestion; appetite changes; dry mouth.

Nervous System: Drowsiness; sleeplessness; agitation; tremor; anxiety; weakness; headache; dizziness; nervousness; confusion; twitching; amnesia; inability to concentrate; abnormal dreams; depression; unstable emotions; vertigo (feeling of whirling motion).

Skin: Flushing; sweating; rash; itching.

Other: Abnormal ejaculation and other male genital disorders; back pain; joint pain; muscle weakness or pain; tightness in throat; abnormal skin sensations; decreased sex drive; blurred vision; runny nose; taste pervorslon; urinary frequency; urinary disorder; chills; general body discomfort changes; cough; congestion; ringing in the ears;

Guidelines for Use:

• Dosage is individualized. Take exactly as prescribed. Small doses are usually used at first and then gradually increased until the desired benefit is obtained. Dosage changes are usually made at intervals more than 1 week.

• Take once daily, preferably in the morning, without regard to meals. Take with food if stomach upset occurs.

• Do not change the dose or stop taking, unless directed by your doctor.

• Avoid alcohol when using this drug.

• Do not use in combination with MAOls or within 14 days of discontinuing treatment with an MAOI. Similarly, at least 2 weeks should be allowed after stopping paroxetine before starting an MAOI.

• May cause drowsiness or dizziness. Use caution while driving or performing other tasks requiring alertness, coordination, or physical dexterity.

• Improvement may be noticed in 1 to 4 weeks; continue therapy as directed.

• Shake oral suspension well before using.

• Do not chew or crush controlled-release tablets. Swallow whole.

• Consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any nonprescription or prescription drugs while using paroxetine.

• Inform your doctor if you are pregnant, become pregnant, are planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

• Significant weight loss may be an undesirable effect of paroxetine therapy.

• Store tablets at controlled room temperature (59° to 86°F).

• Store controlled-release tablets and suspension at or below 77 F.

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