Paxil Side Effects: Paroxetine Adverse Reactions

Last Updated: June 16, 2020

Authored by Roger Weiss, MD

Paxil is a type of medication that is often utilized to assist in the treatment of depression, panic attacks, and other mental disorders. While the remedy is effective at treating these conditions, there are numerous side effects for Paxil that patients need to be aware of. Understanding these side effects is crucial for the individual undergoing treatment and would ensure the person knows what to expect while using Paxil.
It is also important to consider potential dosage differences. For example, the side effects of Paxil 20 mg may be more severe than a lower dose. This post looks at what are the side effects of Paxil and how to minimize the risks.

Common Paxil Side Effects

The more common side effects that are associated with the use of Paroxetine are often milder and may subside as the individual’s body adapts to the medication. These particular adverse events that a person may experience when they start using Paxil can include:

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

woman feeling tired and sleepyPaxil insomnia may also occur in some individuals, which can cause the person to experience sleeping difficulties. Paroxetine can also make one feel sleepy, although it is not as common as insomnia.

It is essential to understand that each will not experience all of these symptoms. Some people may only suffer from a single side effect of Paxil. There might also be some individuals who do not experience any Brisdelle side effects.

When these symptoms do not subside or if they become worse, a patient is advised to notify the prescribing physician. This can help to avoid potential complications.

Less Common Paroxetine Side Effects

While the effects mentioned above are relatively common, the use of this drug has also been associated with less frequent adverse events. These are considered somewhat more severe than the more common ones that a person may experience – individuals who experience these side effects are advised to notify their physician.

The less common side effects that people should be wary of include:

  • Seizures
  • A frequent urge to move
  • Shaking and tremors
  • Easy bruising
  • Easy bleeding
  • An irregular heartbeat
  • A faster heartbeat than normal
  • Numbness
  • Tingling sensations
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle spasms

When these particular side effects develop, the person should consult with their physician. An appropriate alteration may be made. If the individual is taking a high dose from Paxil, then their dosage may be reduced. Side effects of Paxil 10 mg may be less severe in the individual compared to a 20 mg dose.

Paxil weight gain is a possible side-effect, but also less common. The majority of SSRI antidepressant drugs have been associated with a slight possibility of causing the individual to gain excess weight. This is not a Paxil side effect that everyone will experience, however.

Severe Side Effects

People who are provided with a prescription for Paroxetine HCL 20 mg or any other dose of Paxil needs to be wary of more severe side effects that can occur. It is vital that medical assistance is obtained in case any of these adverse events occur, as they may lead to more severe complications.

Some potential severe side effects that a patient may experience include:

  • Severe headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Personality changes
  • Vision changes
  • Black stools
  • Vomit that has the appearance of ground coffee

It is also crucial for people to realize that a rare, but severe complication known as serotonin syndrome has been associated with this drug as well. When the following symptoms develop, the patient needs to be taken to the emergency room:

  • Hallucinations
  • Twitching muscles
  • Unusual restlessness or agitation
  • Severe nausea and vomiting
  • Severe diarrhea
  • A loss of the individual’s coordination
  • A swift heartbeat
  • A fever that has no obvious explanation

Signs Of Allergy Or Intolerance

An allergic reaction to Paxil can also occur and may be very serious. This is very rare, but in cases where a person experiences a severe allergic reaction, emergency medical care would be required, as the condition may become life-threatening.

Signs of an allergic reaction to Paxil may include:

  • Severe dizziness
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Breathing trouble

Black Box Warnings

In addition to understanding the side effects, it is also vital that people know about specific Paroxetine warnings before they use Paxil. Individuals with a history of suicidal attempts or thoughts are not advised to use the drug, as it may aggravate these issues. It is also recommended to altogether avoid alcoholic beverages while using Paxil, and some individuals may be at a higher risk of accidents when driving while they use the medication.

Paxil Sexual Side Effects

A Paxil sexual side effect may also develop in some people who use the drug. This is also considered a less common adverse event, but still, a possibility that the person should be concerned about. The person’s normal sexual abilities may be altered. They may also experience a change in their sexual interest (sex drive).couple with sexual problems

Some men have also experienced an erection that lasted for a period of longer than four hours when using Pexeva. This is considered a severe side-effect. Emergency medical assistance is needed to avoid permanent damage and other complications.

Variables That Affect Side Effects Emergence

Certain factors may have an impact on the emergence of the individual’s side effects. For example, individuals with an existing allergy to any active or inactive ingredients contained in Paxil are more likely to experience a severe allergic reaction. Furthermore, when combining the drug with alcohol, the chances of side effects may be increased. Existing side effects may also be significantly aggravated. Moreover, it has been found that older individuals who use the drug are more likely to experience some of the more severe and less common side effects that have been associated with the medication.

Individuals who abuse the drug may also experience Paroxetine withdrawal symptoms when they suddenly stop using the medication. Abuse is known to cause a higher risk of side effects, as a prescribed dose is often not provided. This is not the same as when the drug is used for off-label purposes but still offered to a patient by a physician – such as when prescribing Paxil for hot flashes.

How To Reduce Or Prevent The Side Effects

The most effective way to ensure the risk of side effects remain minimal in a patient is to strictly adhere to the dosage instructions that are provided by the prescribing physician. The individual should never decide to take a higher dose of the drug than they were prescribed without first consulting with the physician. Understanding Paxil CR side effects can also help the person better understand what to expect and when to take specific actions.

If signs of side-effects do become present, consulting with the prescribing physician can help to make appropriate modifications to the dosage amount and schedule, which may help the person better cope with these adverse events. The physician may compare Paxil vs. Lexapro, for example, and see if the alternative may produce fewer side effects in the patient. Long term side effects of Paxil also have to be taken into account here.

Dependence on paroxetine is one of the possible effects of long-term use. In this case, contact the prescribing doctor immediately and discuss the substance abuse treatment options. In most cases, enrolment in one of the local rehab centers would be the fastest way to get back to normal.

Page Sources

  1. Robert M. Nevels, Samuel T. Gontkovsky, Bryman E. Williams, Paroxetine—The Antidepressant from Hell? Probably Not, But Caution Required,
  2. Ronald S. Oosting, Johnny S. Chan, Berend Olivier, Pradeep Banerjee, Yong Kee Choi, Frank Tarazi, Differential effects of vilazodone versus citalopram and paroxetine on sexual behaviors and serotonin transporter and receptors in male rats,
  3. Paroxetine,

Published on: May 23rd, 2019

Updated on: June 16th, 2020

About Author

Roger Weiss, MD

Dr. Roger Weiss is a practicing mental health specialist at the hospital. Dr. Weiss combines his clinical practice and medical writing career since 2009. Apart from these activities, Dr. Weiss also delivers lectures for youth, former addicts, and everyone interested in topics such as substance abuse and treatment.


Leave a comment