Paxil is one of the brand names used to market paroxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor patented by GlaxoSmithKline. Paxil is typically described as a treatment for anxious disorders, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety order, generalized anxiety disorder, and people prone to panic attacks. In addition to certain side effects of Paxil treatment, those taking this medication are also at risk of certain withdrawal effects from ceasing treatment, because of the drug’s addictive properties. The same active ingredient is also found under another brand name, Seroxat.
– Common and Mild Side Effects –
The most common side effects of Paxil include nausea (about 25% of patients), sleepiness or fatigue (about 25%), male sexual dysfunctions (about 15%), feelings of physical weakness or dizziness, and a loss of saliva in the mouth. In addition, several percent of those given Paxil also report suffering such side effects of Paxil as headaches, insomnia (rather than fatigue), excessive sweating, and memory problems. Side effects of Paxil also include general flu-like symptoms, headaches, shaking (trembling or tremors), and changes in taste sensation.
In general, these common and relatively mild side effects of Paxil occur most frequently early in the course of the treatment, as the body adjusts to the presence of the drug. Once the body is accustomed to the medication, they are generally reduced, and then disappear. In addition, a reduced dosage may help to mitigate unwanted side effects of Paxil, but this should be done only according to medical advice. It is seldom a good idea to begin adjusting your medications on your own initiative. If they are particularly troublesome or persist, consider discussing them with your doctor to ensure there are no serious problems with your treatment regime.
– Rare and Serious Side Effects –
In addition to the above, several side effects of Paxil are a cause for greater concern. These include an increased risk of suicidal thoughts, a neurological reaction called serotonin syndrome (the result of too much serotonin concentrating in the brain), and mania.
If you experience problems with motor control (problems controlling movement) or impaired speech, tachycardia (rapid heart beat), paranoia, skin discoloration, or vision problems, these should be reported to your doctor, as they may be potentially serious side effect sof Lanoxin. In addition, if you begin experiencing chest pain, suidical thoughts, symptoms of serotonin syndrome (agitation or confusion, poor muscle control, shivers or other uncontrollable behaviour), or seizures, you should seek urgent medical assistance.
– Paxil Withdrawal Symptoms –
Just as the most common side effects of Paxil occur as the body is gaining a tolerance for the drug, physical withdrawal symptoms also occur once treatment ceases. Those who have recently gone off Paxil may find themselves suffering from nausea, dizziness, insomnia, vivid dreams and nightmares, and general anxiety. One of the most characteristic side effects of Paxil withdrawal are feelings of electrical shocks going off in the body, and particularly within the brain.
Withdrawal symptoms from Paxil are similar to those caused by withdrawal from other serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and are part of a class of symptoms referred to as discontinuation syndrome. They may be reduced either by prescribing gradually shrinking dosages of Paxil, effectively weaning oneself off the drugs rather than dropping them suddenly.
– Sources and Further Reading –
HealthyOntario Government Website. “Paxil.”
WebMD. “Paroxetine HCl Oral.”