How it works
Paroxetine is in a class of medication called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is used to treat depression, anxiety, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Paroxetine works by increasing the amount of serotonin, a natural substance in the brain that helps maintain mental balance.
Paroxetine is a non-controlled medication, which means that it is not classified as having euphoric or addictive properties. There are no cravings, no hazardous behaviors, and no examples of prolonged addictive behavior associated with it.
Paroxetine may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you. Remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this medication.
How it should be used
It may take 2 to 4 weeks or longer before you feel the full benefit of paroxetine. Continue to take paroxetine even if you feel well.
Do not stop taking paroxetine without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking paroxetine tablets, suspension, or controlled-release tablets, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as depression; mood changes; frenzied or abnormally excited mood; irritability; anxiety; confusion; dizziness; headache; tiredness; numbness or tingling in the arms, legs, hands, or feet; unusual dreams; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; nausea; or sweating. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.
What to do if you forget a dose
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Paroxetine may cause side effects. However, they tend to go away after an adaptation period. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- difficulty concentrating
- sleepiness or feeling ”drugged”
- stomach pain
- changes in ability to taste food
- decreased appetite
- weight loss or gain
- changes in sex drive or ability
- dry mouth
- sensitivity to light
- lump or tightness in throat
- pain in the back, muscles, bones, or anywhere in the body
- tenderness or swelling of joints
- muscle weakness or tightness
- sore teeth and gums
- unusual dreams
- painful or irregular menstruation
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience either of the following symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING or SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS sections, call your doctor immediately:
- seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist (hallucinating)
- rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
- chest pain
- difficulty breathing
- fever, sweating, confusion, fast or irregular heartbeat, and severe muscle stiffness or twitching
- abnormal bleeding or bruising
- tiny red spots directly under the skin
- peeling or blistering of skin
- sore throat, fever, chills, cough, and other signs of infection
- uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
- unsteady walking that may cause falling
- sudden muscle twitching or jerking that you cannot control
- numbness or tingling in your hands, feet, arms, or legs
- difficult, frequent, or painful urination
- swelling, itching, burning, or infection in the vagina
- painful erection that lasts for hours
- sudden nausea, vomiting, weakness, cramping, bloating, swelling, tightness in hands and feet, dizziness, headache and/or confusion
- skin rash
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- black and tarry stools
- red blood in stools
- bloody vomit
- vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- bone pain
- tenderness, swelling, or bruising of one part of your body
Paroxetine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
In case of emergency or overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
The information about this medication is not intended to replace medical counseling. Please consult your pharmacist and/or health provider for more comprehensive information. You can also find the Medication Guide containing the manufacturer’s patient information approved by the FDA here.
Last Revised on 09/15/2018