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Paroxetine (By mouth)

Paroxetine (par-OX-e-teen)

Treats depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Also used to treat moderate to severe hot flashes caused by menopause. This medicine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

Brand Name(s):

Brisdelle, Paxil, Paxil CR, Pexeva

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to paroxetine, or if you are pregnant. Do not use this medicine if you are using pimozide (Orap®) or thioridazine (Mellaril®). Do not use this medicine and an MAO inhibitor (MAOI) such as Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, Parnate®, methylene blue, or linezolid (Zyvox®) within 14 days of each other.

How to Use This Medicine:

Capsule, Liquid, Tablet, Long Acting Tablet

  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you.
  • Oral liquid, Tablet, Extended-release Tablet: These are usually taken in the morning.
  • Brisdelle? Capsule: Take at bedtime.
  • Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup. Shake the bottle well before measuring each dose.
  • Tablet or Extended-release Tablet: Swallow whole. Do not crush, break, or chew it. Do not use an extended-release tablet that is cracked or chipped.
  • You may need to take this medicine for a month or longer before you feel better. If you feel that the medicine is not working well, do not take more than your normal dose. Call your doctor for instructions.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.

If a dose is missed:

  • Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using tamoxifen (Nolvadex®), buspirone (Buspar®), cimetidine (Tagamet®), fentanyl (Sublimaze®), lithium (Eskalith®, Lithobid®), metoprolol (Lopressor®, Toprol-XL®), St John's wort, theophylline (Theo-Dur®), tramadol (Ultram®), tryptophan, medicine for migraine headaches (such as sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, Frova®, Maxalt®, Relpax®, Zomig®), or other medicine for depression (such as amitriptyline, citalopram, desipramine, fluoxetine, imipramine, nortriptyline, sertraline, Cymbalta®, Effexor®, Elavil®, Lexapro®, Pristiq®). Tell your doctor if you use a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®, Jantoven), diuretic (water pill, such as furosemide, Lasix®), or a phenothiazine medicine (such as promethazine, Phenergan®, Thorazine®).
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using atomoxetine (Strattera®), digoxin (Lanoxin®), ketoconazole (Nizoral®), procyclidine, or risperidone (Risperdal®). Also tell your doctor if you are using medicine for heart rhythm problems (such as encainide, flecainide, propafenone, Enkaid®, Tambocor®), medicine to treat HIV or AIDS (such as fosamprenavir, ritonavir, Lexiva®, Norvir®), or an NSAID pain or arthritis medicines (such as aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, Advil®, Aleve®, Celebrex®, Voltaren®).
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • It is not safe to take this medicine during pregnancy. It could harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, bleeding problems, bone problems, epilepsy or seizures, glaucoma, heart disease, high blood pressure, low sodium in the blood, or a history of heart attack, stroke, or mania.
  • For some children, teenagers, and young adults, this medicine can increase thoughts of suicide. Tell your doctor right away if you start to feel more depressed and have thoughts about hurting yourself. Report any unusual thoughts or behaviors that trouble you, especially if they are new or are getting worse quickly. Make sure the doctor knows if you have trouble sleeping, get upset easily, have a big increase in energy, or start to act reckless. Also tell the doctor if you have sudden or strong feelings, such as feeling nervous, angry, restless, violent, or scared. Let the doctor know if you or anyone in your family has bipolar disorder (manic-depressive) or has tried to commit suicide.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly. Your doctor will need to slowly decrease your dose before you stop it completely.
  • This medicine may cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome, when taken with certain medicines. Call your doctor right away if you have a fever, confusion, mental changes, restlessness, fast heartbeat, muscle spasms, trouble walking, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Brisdelle? Capsule: Brisdelle? contains a lower dose of medicine than other brands of paroxetine do. Do not take Brisdelle? if you need to take paroxetine for other reasons, such as depression or anxiety.
  • Hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood) may occur with this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have confusion, trouble concentrating, headaches, memory problems, weakness, and unsteadiness. This could be more likely to happen if you are also taking a diuretic (water pill).
  • This medicine may increase the risk of broken bones. Tell your doctor if you have unexplained bone pain, tenderness, swelling, or bruising.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Anxiety, restlessness, fast heartbeat, fever, sweating, muscle spasms, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seeing or hearing things that are not there
  • Changes in behavior, thoughts of hurting yourself or others
  • Confusion, weakness, and muscle twitching
  • Fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat
  • Seizures or tremors
  • Trouble keeping still, feeling restless and agitated
  • Trouble sleeping or unusual dreams
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth, constipation, or upset stomach
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite, weight loss
  • Sexual problems
  • Sleepiness, yawning

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088


Last Updated: 4/4/2014

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