Paroxetine

Paroxetine
(pa-ROX-a-teen)

Brisdelle, Paxil, Pexeva

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Paroxetine is used to treat depression, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. It works by helping to restore the balance of a certain natural substance (serotonin) in the brain.

Paroxetine is known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). This medication may improve your mood, sleep, appetite, and energy level and may help restore your interest in daily living. It may decrease fear, anxiety, unwanted thoughts, and the number of panic attacks. It may also reduce the urge to perform repeated tasks (compulsions such as hand-washing, counting, and checking) that interfere with daily living.

This medication may also be used to treat a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (premenstrual dysphoric disorder). It may also be used to treat hot flashes that occur with menopause.

It may take up to several weeks before you get the full benefit of this drug.

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Some products that may interact with this drug include: thioridazine, other drugs that can cause bleeding/bruising (including antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, "blood thinners" such as warfarin).

Aspirin can increase the risk of bleeding when used with this medication. However, if your doctor has directed you to take low-dose aspirin for heart attack or stroke prevention (usually at dosages of 81-325 milligrams a day), you should continue taking it unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

This medication can slow down the removal of other medications from your body, which may affect how they work. Examples of affected drugs include atomoxetine, phenothiazines, pimozide, risperidone, tamoxifen, tetrabenazine, antiarrhythmics such as propafenone/flecainide, TCA antidepressants such as desipramine/amitriptyline, among others.

Taking MAO inhibitors with this medication may cause a serious (possibly fatal) drug interaction. Avoid taking MAO inhibitors (isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue, moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine) during treatment with this medication. Most MAO inhibitors should also not be taken for two weeks before and after treatment with this medication. Ask your doctor when to start or stop taking this medication.

The risk of serotonin syndrome/toxicity increases if you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin. Examples include street drugs such as MDMA/"ecstasy," St. John's wort, certain antidepressants (including other SSRIs such as citalopram/fluoxetine, SNRIs such as duloxetine/venlafaxine), tryptophan, among others. The risk of serotonin syndrome/toxicity may be more likely when you start or increase the dose of these drugs.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness including alcohol, antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, and narcotic pain relievers (such as codeine).

Common side effects of Paroxetine include:

  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Blurred vision
  • Yawning

If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: shaking (tremor), restlessness, inability to keep still, decreased interest in sex, changes in sexual ability, numbness/tingling, easy bruising/bleeding, fast/irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness/spasm, seizures.

Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: black stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds.

This medication may increase serotonin and rarely cause a very serious condition called serotonin syndrome/toxicity. The risk increases if you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin, so tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take (see Drug Interactions section). Get medical help right away if you develop some of the following symptoms fast heartbeat, hallucinations, loss of coordination, severe dizziness, severe nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, twitching muscles, unexplained fever, unusual agitation/restlessness.

Rarely, males may have a painful or prolonged erection lasting 4 or more hours. If this occurs, stop using this drug and get medical help right away, or permanent problems could occur.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

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Dr. Stephen Covey

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