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Paroxetine (SSRI)

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What is Paroxetine?

Paroxetine is an antidepressant, used to treat symptoms of depression. Depression is a mental condition whereby a person may feel sad or unhappy for extended periods of time, often over weeks or months.

Paroxetine can also be used to treat symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks or anxiety.

Paroxetine is only available on prescription, and comes as a liquid or as tablets. It is also available under the brand name Seroxat. You generally need a prescription to buy Paroxetine, however we can prescribe Paroxetine to you following an online assessment.

For further information, you can review the patient information leaflet for Paroxetine.

How it works

Paroxetine is one of a group of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. SSRIs work by increasing the level of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, and is responsible for mood and social behaviour. It’s thought that by increasing the level of serotonin in your brain, the effects of depression are reduced.

SSRIs take time to begin working, so you may not notice any improvement in your symptoms straight away. Paroxetine can take between four and six weeks to begin working.

Before you take it

If you have problems with your kidneys, liver or heart, you must speak with your doctor before you take Paroxetine.

If you have a condition called glaucoma, Paroxetine can increase the pressure in your eyes. You must consult your doctor before taking Paroxetine if this applies to you.

If you have had an allergic reaction to Paroxetine or any of its ingredients, you must tell your doctor before taking Paroxetine as it will be unsuitable for you. They will be able to provide you with alternative, more suitable medication to treat your symptoms.

Paroxetine may cause withdrawal symptoms. You must not stop taking your medication at any point unless specifically advised to by your doctor.

You should not consume alcohol while taking Paroxetine. Alcohol may increase the side effects of Paroxetine and can also make you feel sleepy or drowsy.

If you are pregnant, you must speak with your doctor before taking Paroxetine. It’s possible that Paroxetine can increase the risk of birth defects in your baby. Your doctor will decide whether it is safe for you to take Paroxetine while pregnant. In some circumstances, the benefits of taking Paroxetine while pregnant can outweigh the risks, but this will be for your doctor to decide.

If you have epilepsy, Paroxetine may increase your risk of having seizures

Paroxetine may interact with other medications. It’s very important that you speak with your doctor before taking Paroxetine if any of the following apply to you.

  • If you are taking or have taken Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs), a rarely used type of antidepressant.
  • If you are taking blood thinning medications such as aspirin or warfarin, or any type of NSAID such as ibuprofen or naproxen
  • If you are taking any other SSRI antidepressants such as Citalopram or Fluoxetine - this can cause too much serotonin in the brain, which can lead to serotonin syndrome
  • If you are taking medicines to treat high blood pressure or heart problems, such as Metoprolol
  • If you are taking St John’s Wort, a herbal medication used to treat depression
  • If you are taking Tamoxifen, used to treat fertility problems or breast cancer.

This list is not exhaustive. For a full list of drug interactions, refer to the patient information leaflet or speak with your doctor for clarification.

Dosage Instructions

You should take Paroxetine exactly as prescribed by your doctor. You must not exceed your stated dose.

The dose given to you will depend on your condition, but your usual starting dose will be between 10 mg - 20 mg daily.

Paroxetine is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18. We do not prescribe medication to under 18s.

Paroxetine should be taken once per day, in the morning. You should take your tablets with food.

Swallow your tablets whole, with plenty of water. Do not chew, suck or crush them.

Your doctor will advise you as to how long you need to take Paroxetine. This could be for an extended period of time, possibly several months or longer.

Common Side Effects of Paroxetine

IIt’s possible for Paroxetine to cause a severe allergic reaction in some patients. A severe allergic reaction is an emergency, and if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you must immediately seek medical advice.

  • Red or lumpy skin rash
  • Swelling of the eyelids, facial area, nose, mouth or tongue
  • Feeling faint or losing consciousness
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing

Paroxetine may also cause serious side effects in some patients. If you experience this, you must immediately tell your doctor or in more severe cases, go to your local hospital or A&E department. These side effects are usually more prominent in the first few weeks of treatment, and can include the following:

  • Serotonin syndrome - restlessness, aching, shivering, or experiencing hallucinations
  • Feeling tired, weak or confused
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding, including vomiting blood or passing blood in your stool
  • Experiencing seizures
  • Inability to pass urine
  • Blurred vision or painful eyes

Paroxetine may also cause less serious, mild to moderate side effects in some patients. These usually go away on their own within the first few weeks of treatment, but if you are concerned about them, contact your doctor or medical professional. They may include:

  • Feeling sick or nausea
  • Change in sexual function
  • Insomnia
  • Drowsiness or dizziness
  • Feeling weak
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nightmares

For a full list of side effects that Paroxetine may cause you, refer to the patient information leaflet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Paroxetine suitable for children?

No. Paroxetine is not suitable for anyone under the age of 18. We do not prescribe any medication to under 18s.

Do I need a prescription?

Yes. Paroxetine is prescription only medication. If you do not have a prescription from a doctor, we can prescribe Paroxetine to you online after an assessment.

I’m pregnant. Can I take Paroxetine?

Paroxetine is not recommended for use in pregnant women. This is because there is an increased risk of harm to your unborn baby. However, in some situations, your doctor may feel that the benefits of taking Paroxetine outweigh the risks to your baby. It’s possible that your depression can also harm your baby, so your doctor will decide whether Paroxetine is suitable for you.

What happens if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, and remember it before going to bed, take it immediately. If you remember after going to bed or during the night, then skip the missed dose and continue taking your medication as normal. Never take two doses to make up for a missed dose.

What happens if I take too much?

An overdose of Paroxetine may increase your risk of experiencing side effects. You should only take Paroxetine as prescribed. If you believe you have taken too much Paroxetine, contact your doctor or visit your local hospital or A&E centre.

More Information
Dosage No
Dosage Instructions Take ONE as directed by your doctor.