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What Is Paxil?

Paxil is the brand name for paroxetine, a type of selective serotonin receptor inhibitor (or SSRI). SSRIs are used to treat depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, and certain personality disorders by increasing the amount of the important neurotransmitter serotonin that is available to send needed signals inside your brain.

Important Information About Paxil

Before you begin a course of treatment with paroxetine, you should discuss your circumstances with your care provider to make sure this drug will be appropriate for you. Make sure your doctor is also aware of any drug allergies you have 0f you have an allergic reaction to paroxetine, it is not safe for you to use. If you have recently been MAO inhibitors to treat your depression, you must wait at least two weeks before beginning to take paroxetine. You also should avoid paroxetine if you are currently using antipsychotic drugs such as pimozide or thioridazine, or have been treated with methylene blue as a treatment for malaria, cancer, or other concern.

Other drugs that may interact with paroxetine include other antidepressants or mood stabilizers (lithium, risperidoone, St. John’s wort), blood thinners, heart medications, treatments for asthma or other pulmonary ailments, migraine medications, or opioid pain medications. These are some of the most common drugs that may create a dangerous interaction, but the list is not comprehensive – you should make sure your doctor is aware of the entire extent of your active medication list before your start a paroxetine regimen, and of any updates to the list that occur during your treatment.

There are also a number of medical conditions that can preclude taking paroxetine. If you suffer from liver or kidney disease, your body may not be able to properly dispose of the drug, which can lead to dangerous build-ups of it in your system. Bleeding and clotting disorders, epileptic seizures, glaucoma, and bipolar disorder are also possible red flags for paroxetine use. Finally, if you have previously experienced suicidal thoughts or ideation, or have previously been addicted to drugs, your doctor may advise against trying a paroxetine prescription.

Pregnant women should not begin taking paroxetine, as the drug can cross the placenta and cause serious harm to the fetus, including heart and lung defects. Since quitting the drug immediately can cause you to experience symptoms of withdrawal or to lapse back into depression, you should consult your doctor for the best course of action if you discover you are pregnant while taking paroxetine. This drug is counter-indicated for children under the age of 18, and as it can also be passed to an infant via breastfeeding, you should let your doctor know if you are currently nursing.

Another concern to keep in mind while taking paroxetine is to avoid NSAID drugs such as naproxen, aspirin, and ibuprofen. These drugs interact with paroxetine to inhibit the platelets in your body, which can cause you to bruise or even bleed more easily than is normal. Also keep in mind that it is best to avoid alcohol while taking paroxetine. Alcohol has both stimulating and sedative effects on the brain, which means that drinking can interfere with the effectiveness of paroxetine; it may also worsen the side effects that you experience.

Paxil Side Effects

The most common side effects can be fairly mild: many people taking paroxetine experience headaches, tinnitus, dizzy spells, tiredness, and trouble sleeping. Slight digestive problems are also normal, and you may experience weight fluctuations as well as nausea and difficult bowel movements. Sexual side effects (decreased libido, impotence) occur in some people as well.

Less commonly, more serious side effects can arise. If you experience one of these side effects, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible. Some people experience pain and swelling in their bones, bleeding or bruising problems, a rapid heartbeat, or fainting spells; they may even experience a worsening of anxiety, or an onset of hallucinations, memory failure, and mental confusion. In some cases a high fever may be present, as well as uncomfortably stiff muscles.

If you experience an allergic reaction (anaphylaxis, hives, facial swelling) you should get medical help immediately. Other symptoms that should always be reported to your health care provider, especially if they are becoming worse, include changes in your mental state, heightened anxiety, insomnia, or a deepening depression. Some people, especially younger adults, begin to have suicidal thoughts while taking paroxetine: if this happens to you, call a friend or family member, care provider, or suicide hotline immediately.

How To Take Paxil

Be careful to follow the prescription exactly as given by your doctor. If you receive tablets, swallow them whole and do not chew them, as this can cause your body to absorb the drug too quickly. If your prescription is the liquid form, shake it well before pouring to make sure it is evenly mixed, and only use a medical-grade spoon or cup to give yourself a dose, as kitchen-grade equipment may not be accurate enough.

Don’t be concerned if you are still experiencing symptoms after taking paroxetine for a few weeks. You may need to take the drug for as long as a month before you see relief. If you are worried, share your concerns with your doctor, but don’t stop taking the drug before instructed to do so.

Overdosing On Paxil

Be careful to take only the amount prescribed and at the intended interval. It is possible to overdose on Paxil – you may find yourself becoming overwhelmingly sleepy, experiencing heart palpitations, or going into a seizure. If you think you may have overdosed on paroxetine, call 911 or a Poison Control Center for help immediately. If you realize you have missed a dose of paroxetine, take it once you remember, unless it is nearly time for your next dose.

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