How Does Paxil Work?

PaxilŽ (paroxetine HCl) is an agent in a newer class of antidepressant medication known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Depression and anxiety disorders might be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. One of these chemicals is serotonin, which helps send electrical signals from one nerve cell to another. In the process, serotonin is released from one nerve cell (the sender) and travels to the next (the receiver), where it is either absorbed or returns back to the original sender cell.

When a person suffers from depression or anxiety disorders, there could be a problem with the serotonin balance and its effect on cell-to-cell communication.

Paxil blocks serotonin from being reabsorbed back into the sender nerve cell. This process increases the amount of serotonin available to be absorbed by the receiver cell and can help message transmission return to normal.

Frequently Asked Questions About Your Treatment With Paxil

  • When should I take Paxil?
  • How long should I take Paxil?
  • Can I take Paxil with other medications?
  • Does Paxil cause side effects?
  • What do I need to know about stopping Paxil?
  • Is Paxil addictive?
  • How much Paxil will I need to take?
  • What is my role in treatment?
  • Is Paxil right for me?

When should I take take Paxil?

Paxil may be taken once a day -- either in the morning or the evening -- with or without food. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about what they think is the best time of day for you. You might find it most convenient to take Paxil with breakfast or dinner, but you may take it anytime.

How long should I take Paxil?

Depression and anxiety disorders are chronic (ongoing) conditions and your length of therapy is based on your needs and your doctor's recommendation. It is important to keep taking your medication so long as your doctor advises you to do so -- even if you are feeling better.

Can I take Paxil with other medications?

In most cases, you can take Paxil with other medications. However, medicines known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or thioridazine should not be taken while you are taking Paxil. So, be sure to tell your healthcare provider about any prescription and over-the-counter medications that you are taking.

Does Paxil cause side effects?

As with any prescription medication, Paxil may cause side effects, which are usually mild to moderate and may fade or disappear completely over time. A common side effect of Paxil is nausea, which may be lessened by taking it with food. Other side effects may include injury, infection, diarrhea, constipation, decreased appetite, sleepiness, dizziness, yawning, sweating, abnormal vision, and sexual side effects. If you should experience any side effects, be sure to report them to your healthcare provider as soon as possible and follow his/her advice.

What do I need to know about stopping Paxil

Don't stop taking Paxil before talking to your doctor since symptoms may result from stopping the medication or from your original condition. Some patients experience the following symptoms on stopping Paxil (particularly when abrupt): dizziness, sensory disturbances (including electric shock sensations), abnormal dreams, agitation, anxiety, nausea and sweating.

Is Paxil addictive?

No. Paxil is not a controlled substance. Paxil belongs to a class of medications called SSRIs, which have not been shown to be associated with addiction.

How much Paxil will I need to take?

The amount of Paxil a patient needs varies with each individual and the condition being treated. The usual starting dose is 10 mg to 20 mg. Your doctor can raise the dose gradually if increases are needed. For people over the age of 65, people with kidney problems and people with compromised liver conditions, the recommended starting dose is 10 mg a day.

What is my role in treatment?

  • Communicate: Your doctor must rely on you to communicate any symptoms or side effects you experience. At first, it might be difficult to talk about your symptoms, but it's the only way your doctor can decide on the most helpful treatment.
  • Stick with it: Don't get discouraged if your symptoms don't improve right away. It could be several weeks before you start to feel better.
  • Follow through on your treatment: It is very important to follow your doctor's instructions about your treatment. Do not discontinue taking Paxil unless your doctor says it's all right. Even if you might be feeling better, you may need to continue taking Paxil to avoid having your symptoms return.

Is Paxil right for me?

Paxil is a safe and effective medication that has successfully helped people treat their depression and anxiety disorders. In fact, it is one of the most popular treatments currently available for depression and anxiety disorders. Remember, only your doctor can determine if Paxil is right for you.