side effects, dosage, reviews, how to take & discontinue, uses, pros & cons, and more
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Brand & Generic Names; Drug Class
|US brand name: Paxil|
|Generic name: paroxetine|
|Drug Class: Antidepressants|
|More on Generic & Worldwide Availability|
Paxil’s Approved & Off-Label Uses (Indications)
US FDA Approved Treatment(s)
Both forms: Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Immediate Release only: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).Controlled Release only: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Popular Off-Label UsesUsing the controlled release version for OCD, GAD, and PTSD. Headaches. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Tourette Syndrome.
Paxil’s Usual Onset of Action (when it starts working)Like all SSRIs two-to-four, sometimes even six weeks.
Likelihood of WorkingThat all depends on what you’re taking it for. It’s not really that great of an antidepressant, but a pretty decent med for the alphabet soup of anxiety and is especially good for GAD, SAnD (though not as good as Zoloft, PMDD, and panic disorders without agoraphobia.
How to Take Paxil
Immediate Release (IR)
The initial dosage is 10mg for Panic Disorder and 20mg for everything else. For GAD, PTSD, and Social Anxiety Disorder 20mg a day is the target dosage. For OCD and Panic Disorder it’s 40mg a day. There is no target dosage for MDD, just a maximum of 50mg a day and that 30mg a day was the average effective dosage in the clinical trials.
The dose is increased 10mg a day per week, until you reach the target dosage and/or something that works. You take it once a day, usually in the morning.
Controlled release (CR)
The initial dosage is 25mg a day for MDD, 12.5mg a day for everything else. The is no target dosage for any condition, which is highly unusual, albeit extremely sane for any crazy med. The maximum dosages are: 62.5mg a day for MDD, 75mg a day for Panic Disorder, 37.5mg a day for Social Anxiety Disorder, and 25mg a day for PMDD.
We at Crazymeds suggest starting at 5–10mg (IR) or 12.5mg (CR) a day for everything, and increasing by 5–10/12.5 mg a day per week only if you need to.
Unless SSRIs usually keep you awake, we suggest you should first try taking it at night.
How to Stop Taking Paxil (discontinue / withdrawal)
Very, very slowly and very, very carefully. Regardless of how quickly you increased your dosage (titrated), the tapering (discontinuation schedule) we suggest is at the same rate as our suggested titration: 5–10mg a day per week for the immediate release form and 12.5mg a day per week for the controlled release form. So if you’re taking 37.5mg a day of Paxil CR you should take 25mg a day one week, 12.5mg a day the next week, and with any luck you should be OK to stop taking it all together by the end of week two. While most people should have only mild, if any, discontinuation symptoms using that schedule, plenty of people will still have problems. Before you begin, talk to your doctor about a short prescription of 5 & 10 mg IR tablets even if you take Paxil CR, and a week’s worth of Prozac.
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Pros and Cons
As the most potent SSRI on the US market, Paxil can be just the thing for severe conditions in the anxiety spectrum.
As the most potent SSRI on the US market Paxil has the absolute worst SSRI discontinuation symptoms of any SSRI, and gives the SNRIs a run for their money in discontinuation syndrome suckage. It also has the worst sexual side effects of any SSRI, maybe of any crazy med.
Interesting Stuff your Doctor Probably didn’t Tell YouPaxil one of those meds that if you stop taking it and start up again, it won’t work as well as it used to. For some people that includes stopping for just a couple of days, experiencing the hell of SSRI discontinuation syndrome, and then swearing you’ll never, ever stop taking your meds again. You have to be totally med compliant or it could be a pointless waste of time, money and suffering.
Paxil is less likely to work / doesn’t work as well for post-menopausal women. Which just figures, because it’s also pregnancy category D.
Best Known forGiving you a libido-ectomy, followed by the SSRI discontinuation syndrome from Hell.
Paxil’s Side Effects
Typical Side Effects
The usual for SSRIs - headache, nausea, dry mouth, sweating, sleepiness or insomnia (it’s a coin toss), constipation - pretty bad for some people, feature and not bug for anyone with IBS - weight gain and assorted sexual dysfunctions. Everyone I’ve read on the subject of how long side effects last (Dr. Stephen Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology: The Prescriber’s Guide, Dr. Diamond’s Instant Psychopharmacology, Dr. Drummond’s The Complete Guide to Psychiatric Drugs , Preston et al.’s Consumer’s Guide To Psychiatric Drugs’‘) agrees that everything but the weight gain and loss of libido usually goes away within a couple of weeks. Paxil is notorious for having the worst impact on your libido of all SSRIs.
Uncommon Side EffectsMotion sickness/vertigo, food tasting weird (taste perversion), making the symptoms worse.
Because Paxil is so potent the amount of extra serotonin you get, and where you get it, can interfere with dopamine. That can result in a variety of side effects usually associated with antipsychotics, such as gynecomastia (man boobs), galactorrhea (leaky tits, regardless of gender), and movement disorders such as: akathisia, EPS, TD, and NMS. See the page on drug-induced movement disorders for more information about those scary, but easily fixed (you stop taking the med) side effects.
Freaky Rare Side EffectsEnlargement of skin, pathological laughter, and vaginal anaesthesia. You could have quite a career in freaky fetish porn with those.
Side Effect Details.
TMI at times
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What You Really Need to be Careful About
Taking Paxil every day at the same time. As with Effexor, some people have experienced the beginnings of SSRI/SNRI discontinuation syndrome if they’re even an hour late with their dose.
Half-Life & Clearance
Immediate release: Half-life 21 hours, clearance 4–5 days. Controlled release: Half-life 15 to 20 hours, clearance 4 days.
Pharmacokinetics Information Overload
Half-life is the average time it takes for you to process half of the drug’s active ingredient. If a drug has a half-life of around 24 hours and you take a dose of 100mg, you’ll have roughly the equivalent a 50mg dose after one day, a 25mg dose after two days, and so on. The rule of thumb is: multiply the half-life by five and you get how long it is for the dose you took to be cleared from your bloodstream, so there’s nothing swimming around to attach itself to your brain and start doing stuff1. That’s called “plasma clearance.” Complete clearance is a complex equation based on a lot of factors which may or may not: be published in the PI sheet, include personal data like your weight, or even completely figured out by corporate and independent researchers. It usually winds up being 2–5 days after plasma clearance no matter what2, but can take weeks. Sometimes a drug will clear from your brain and other organs before it clears from your blood. If we’ve found the complete clearance, or how to calculate it if it requires things like your weight and what your piss looks like, you’ll find that on the pharmacokinetics page.
How paroxetine Works
the current best guess at any rateAs a potent SSRI your neurons get to marinate in a lot more serotonin for far longer than they otherwise would. It may also affect sigma-1 receptors like Zoloft and Luvox do, which would further enhance its anti-anxiety effects. Paxil could also have enough norepinephrine reuptake inhibition properties to make some kind of difference, but that’s probably just enough to be a factor - along with a half-life of less than a day - in making the discontinuation syndrome so hellish.
More than You Probably Ever Wanted to Know about How a Drug Works
AKA mechanism/method of action, pharmacodynamics
Ratings, Reviews, Comments, PI Sheet, and More
Loved by those for whom it works, loathed by those who had to stop taking it and/or whose sex life vanished, Paxil is one of the top meds people love to hate. Usually better for anxiety than depression. Because it is so potent you shouldn’t consider it as the first med to try, unless you’re too anxious to leave your house without being drugged stupid with a benzodiazepine.
As if I didn’t go on long enough already.
Get all critical about Paxil
Rating 3.2 out of 5 from 63 criticisms.
Vote Distribution: 7 – 9 – 7 – 4 – 14 – 22
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If you’re still feeling judgmental as well as just mental3, please boost or destroy my self-confidence by honestly (and anonymously) rating this article on a scale of 0 to 5. The more value-judgments the better, even if you can criticize my work only once.
Get all judgmental about the Paxil (paroxetine ) Synopsis
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It’s always a good idea to check for drug-drug interactions yourself. Just because most people in the crazy meds business know about really important interactions (e.g. MAOIs and a lot of stuff, warfarin and everything on the planet) doesn’t mean the person who prescribed your meds told you about them, or the pharmacist has all the meds you take at their fingertips like they’re supposed to. Or they have the time to do their jobs properly when not dealing with complete idiots or playing Angry Farmers on the Faecesbooks.
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1 Based on Julien's calculations from A Primer of Drug Action, the half-life multiplied by five is the generally accepted estimate of how long it takes a single dose of any given drug to be eliminated from the blood stream/plasma of someone with a normal metabolism. That's also the rough estimate for steady stage if they can't get, or won't provide a number for that.
2 For crazy meds. I have no idea what the average complete clearance is for other types of medications. For all I know there are drugs that utterly vanish from your system in under five passes, and others that won't let go of your squishy bits for years after you stop taking them.
3 Thank you! I'll be here all weak. Be sure to tip your content provider. And don't try the veal, it's cruelicious!
4 These include: Canada's Product Monographs (PM), New Zealand's Medicine Data Sheets (MDS), the EU's European Public Assessment Reports (EPAR), and the Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC) used in Britain, Ireland, and many other places.
If you have any questions not answered here, please see the Crazymeds Paxil discussion board. I welcome criticisms of the articles, notifications of bad links, site problems, consumer experiences with medications, etc. I’m not always able to write back. Hence I never answer questions about meds via e-mail that are answered by this or other articles. Especially if they have been repeatedly asked on the forum. That’s why I write these damn things. I’m frustrated enough as it is. Questions about which meds are best for your condition should also be asked on the forum; because this is a free site, so the price of admission is making things easier for somebody else searching for the same answer. We don’t deal with children on the forum or in private because after doing this for ten years I don’t have the emotional stamina to deal with kids who have brain cooties. How to contact Crazymeds.
|Last modified on Thursday, 06 March, 2014 at 17:33:26 by SomeMedCritic||Page Author: JerodPoore||Date created April 08, 2011, at 05:11 PM|
Paxil, and all other drug names on this page and use throughout the site, are a trademark of someone else. Look on the the PI sheet or ask Google who the owner is. The way pharmaceutical companies buy each other and swap products like Monopoly™ real estate, the ownership of the trademark may have changed without my noticing.
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Almost all of the material on this site is by Jerod Poore and is copyright © 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 Jerod Poore. Except, of course, the PI sheets - those are the property of the drug companies who developed the drugs the sheets are about - and any documents that are written by other people which may be posted to this site will remain the property of the original authors. You cannot reproduce this page or any other material on this site outside of the boundaries of fair use copying without the express permission of the copyright holder. That’s usually me, so just ask first. That means if want to print out a few pages to take to your doctor, therapist, counselor, support group, non-understanding family members or something like that - then that’s OK to just do. Go for it! Please. As long as you include this copyright notice and the following disclaimer, I’m usually cool with it.
All rights reserved. No warranty is expressed or implied in this information. Consult one or more doctors and/or pharmacists before taking, or changing how you take any neurological and/or psychiatric medication. Your mileage may vary. What happened to us won’t necessarily happen to you. If you still have questions about a medication or condition that were not answered on any of the pages you read, please ask them on Crazy Talk: the Crazymeds Forum.
The information on Crazymeds pertains to and is intended for adults. While some information about children and adolescents is occasionally presented (e.g. US FDA approvals), pediatric-specific data such as dosages, side effects, off-label applications, etc. are rarely included in the articles on drugs or discussed on the forum. If you are looking for information regarding meds for children you’ll have to go somewhere else.
Know your sources!
Nobody on this site is a doctor, a therapist, or a pharmacist. We don’t portray them either here or on TV. Only doctors can diagnose and treat an illness. While it’s not as bad as it used to be, some doctors still get pissed off by patients who know too much about medications, so tread lightly when and where appropriate. Diagnosing yourself from a website is like defending yourself in court, you suddenly have a fool for a doctor. Don’t be a cyberchondriac, thinking you have every disease you see a website about, or that you’ll get every side effect from every medication1. Self-prescribing is as dangerous as buying meds from fraudulent online pharmacies that promise you medications without prescriptions.
All information on this site has been obtained through our personal experience and the experiences family, friends, what people have reported on various reputable sites all over teh intergoogles, the medications’ product information / summary of product characteristic (PI/SPC) sheets, and from sources that are referenced throughout the site. As such the information presented here is not intended as a substitute for real medical advice from your real doctor, just a compliment to it. You should never, ever, replace what a real doctor tells you with something from a website on the Internet. The farthest you should ever take it is getting a second opinion from another real doctor. Educate yourself - always read the PI/SPC sheet or patient information leaflet (PIL) that comes with your medications and never ever throw them away.
Crazymeds is not responsible for the content of sites we provide links to. We like them, or they’re paid advertisements, or they’re something else we think you should read to help you make an informed decision about a particular med. Sometimes they’re more than one of those things. But what’s on those sites is their business, not ours.
All brand names of the drugs listed in this site are the trademarks of the companies named on the PI/SPC sheet associated with the medication, sometimes on the pages about the drugs, even though those companies may have been acquired by other companies who may or may not be listed in this site by the time you read this. Or the rights to the drug were sold to another company. And any or all of the companies involved may have changed their names.
Crazymeds is optimized for the browser you’re not using on the platform you wish you had. Between you and me, it all looks a lot cleaner using Safari or Chrome, although more than half of the visitors to this site use either Safari or Internet Explorer, so I’m doing my best to make things look nice for IE as well. I’m using Firefox and running Windows 72. On a computer that sits on top of my desk. With a 23 inch monitor. Hey, at least you can make the text larger or smaller by clicking on the + or - buttons in the upper right hand corner. If you have Java enabled. Like 99% of the websites on the planet, Crazymeds is hosted on domain running an open source operating system with a variety of open source applications, including the software used to display what you’ve been reading. As such Crazymeds is not responsible for whatever weird shit your browser does or does not do when you read this site3.
No neurologists, psychiatrists, therapists or pharmacists were harmed in the production of this website. Use only as directed. Void where prohibited. Contains nuts. Certain restrictions may apply. All data are subject to availability. Not available on all mobile devices, in the 12 Galaxies Guiltied to a Zegnatronic Rocket Society, or in all dimensions of reality.
‘Everything is true, nothing is permitted.’ - Jerod Poore
1 While there are plenty of books to help you with hypochondria, for some reason there’s not much in the way of websites. Then again, staying off of the Internet is a large part of curing/managing the disorder.
2 Remember kids, Microsloth operating systems are like TOS Star Trek movies with in that every other one sucks way, way more. With TOS Star Trek movies you don’t want to bother watching the odd-numbered ones. With Microsloth OS you don’t want to buy and install the even-numbered ones. Anyone who remembers ME and Vista knows what I mean.
3 Have I mentioned how open source operating systems for commercial applications is one of the dumbest ideas in the history of dumb ideas?
[begin rant] I rent a dedicated server for Crazymeds. It’s sitting on a rack somewhere in Southern California along with a bunch of other servers that other people have rented. The hardware is identical, but no two machines have exactly the same operating systems. I don’t even need to see what is on any of the others to know this. If somebody got their server at the exact same time, with the exact same features as I did, I’m confident that there would be noticeable differences in some aspects of the operating systems. So what does this mean? For one thing it means that no two computers in the same office of a single company have the same operating system, and the techs can spend hours figuring out what the fuck the problem could be based on that alone. It also means that application software like IP board that runs the forum here has to have so many fucking user-configurable bells and whistles that even when I read the manual I can’t find every setting, or every location that every flag needs to be set in order for a feature to run the way I want it to run. And in the real world it means you can get an MBA not only with an emphasis on resource planning, but with an emphasis on using SAP - a piece of software so complex there are now college programs on how to use it. You might think, “But don’t people learn how to use Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator in college?” Sure, in order to create stuff. And in a way you’re creating stuff with SAP. But do you get a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis on Photoshop?
Back in the Big Iron Age the operating systems were proprietary, and every computer that took up an entire room with a raised floor and HVAC system, and had less storage and processing power than an iPhone, had the same operating system as every other one, give or take a release level. But when a company bought application software like SAP, they also got the source code, which was usually documented and written in a way to make it easy to modify the hell out of it. Why? Because accounting principles may be the same the world over, and tax laws the same across each country and state, but no two companies have the same format for their reports, invoices, purchase orders and so forth. Standards existed and were universally ignored. If something went wrong it went wrong the same way for everyone, and was easy to track down. People didn’t need to take a college course to learn how to use a piece of software.
I’m not against the open source concept entirely. Back then all the programmers read the same magazines, so we all had the same homebrew utilities. We even had a forerunner of QR Code to scan the longer source code. Software vendors and computer manufacturers sponsored conventions so we could, among other things, swap recipes for such add-ons and utilities. While those things would make our lives easier, they had nothing to do with critical functions of the operating system. Unless badly implemented they would rarely cause key application software to crash and burn. Whereas today, with open source everything, who the hell knows what could be responsible some part of a system failing. [/end rant]