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Paxil / Paroxetine Side Effects

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Updated June 10, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

The common side effects of Paxil and the generic version, paroxetine, tend to go away in time. Other rare side effects, plus symptoms of overdose and possible effects from withdrawal, can be problematic and even dangerous, requiring you contact your doctor. Familiarize yourself with these potential side effects if you or someone you love is taking Paxil or paroxetine.

Paxil is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant that may be prescribed for the treatment of bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses.

Paxil Side Effects:

Check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

More Common: Sedation, nausea and sexual side effects are the most common adverse reactions. Other common side effects include constipation; diarrhea; dizziness; dry mouth; headache; increased sweating; trouble urinating; tiredness; trouble sleeping; and weakness.

Less Common: Anxiety or nervousness; blurred vision; change in sense of taste; decreased or increased appetite; tingling, burning or prickling sensations; weight loss or gain.

Always notify your doctor if you experience these side effects:

Less Common: Agitation; fast heartbeat; muscle pain; skin rash; emergence of mania or hypomania (more common in patients already diagnosed with bipolar disorder).

Rare: Abnormal body, eye or facial movements; symptoms of hyponatremia (confusion, convulsions [seizures], drowsiness, dry mouth, increased thirst, lack of energy); red or purple patches on skin; serotonin syndrome (confusion, diarrhea, fever, poor coordination, restlessness, shivering, sweating, talking and acting with excitement you cannot control, trembling or shaking, twitching); worsening of depression; suicidal thoughts or actions (especially in children, teens and young adults 18 to 24). See also neuroleptic malignant syndrome.

Paxil Withdrawal Symptoms - Always Notify Your Doctor:

Agitation, confusion or restlessness; diarrhea; dizziness or lightheadedness; headache; dysphoric mood; paresthesias; increased sweating; muscle pain; nausea or vomiting; runny nose; trembling or shaking; lethargy; trouble sleeping; abnormal dreams; unusual tiredness or weakness; and vision changes. Also see SSRI discontinuation syndrome.

Paxil Overdose Symptoms - Notify a Doctor Immediately:

Dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; flushing of face; irritability; large pupils; nausea; racing heartbeat; trembling or shaking; vomiting.

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other symptoms that may be side effects of these medications, check with your doctor.

Box Warning

Paxil and paroxetine prescriptions are required to include a black box warning that applies to suicidality and antidepressant drugs in children, adolescents and young adults under the age of 25.

Disclaimer: This is not intended to be all-inclusive or to replace information provided by your doctor or with the prescription from the manufacturer.

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