Medication Monday: Paxil

Winter seems to be on its way out, but the Mondays just keep coming, and so do the Medication Mondays, the weekly series that offers a brief, informative introduction to the various mental health medications available on the market. While this is not a substitute for medical advice, it is meant to help you be more informed when you speak with your doctor or mental health professional. Hopefully, along the way, this series also helps eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health medication. This week we are talking about the antidepressant Paxil (Paroxetine).

Paxil is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). As such, it works to restore the levels of certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, to healthy levels. It is approved to treat:

  • major depressive disorder,
  • generalized anxiety disorder,
  • social anxiety disorder,
  • panic disorder,
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder, and
  • posttraumatic stress disorder.

It can also be used to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder and for vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause.

Yet, as with most mental health medications, there are side effects to Paxil. These include:

  • blurred vision,
  • dizziness,
  • drowsiness,
  • dry mouth,
  • loss of appetite,
  • nausea,
  • sweating,
  • trouble sleeping,
  • weakness,
  • and yawning.

It should be noted also that Paxil may take several weeks to start working, and also that side effects may improve over the first few weeks as well. And one more thing, while it is important to know the possible side effects of a medication, it is equally important to know that you won’t necessarily get any or all of them.

If you do get side effects or are concerned about possible side effects, definitely discuss them with your doctor. What you should never, never, ever do is come off this medication, or any mental health medication for that matter, suddenly. Doing so may cause additional side effects and may also exacerbate the underlying condition. Your doctor or psychopharmacologist will be able to find a medication that works for you.

And as always, thanks for reading.

Sources: WebMD – Paxil; NAMI – Paroxetine (Paxil).

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