Paxil CR

by on July 28, 2012

What is Paxil CR?

Paxil CR is a controlled release formulation of the drug paroxetine. It is prescribed for treatment of certain conditions such as depression, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). It belongs to the group of antidepressant drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Paxil CR tablets are multicoated and are specially designed so that the medication is released slowly and evenly. It is normally taken once a day.  It is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline and is available only under prescription and comes as film coated tablets with the following drug strengths: 12.5, 25, and 37.5 mg.

How Paxil CR Works

Like other SSRIs, Paxil acts on a brain chemical or neurotransmitter known as serotonin. This neurotransmitter is used by brain cells to transmit messages from one brain cell to another.

Every time the nerve cells send message to another nerve cell, serotonin is released by the first nerve cell into the gap separating it from the second nerve cell. When sufficient amount of serotonin reaches the second nerve cell, the first nerve cell reabsorbs excess serotonin in the gap. This process is known as “serotonin reuptake”.

However, in patients with depression and other health conditions, there is an imbalance in serotonin. Paxil CR helps restore balance by blocking the reuptake of serotonin thereby increasing the amount of serotonin available in the gap between each nerve cell. This allows the serotonin to stimulate the next nerve cell.

Compared to Paxil immediate release tablets, Paxil CR slowly and evenly releases its contents. It is suggested that this can help provide more consistent effects throughout the day and possibly minimize the side effects. However, there are no well-controlled studies that compare the difference based on effectiveness of Paxil CR and immediate release tablets.

How to Take Paxil CR

  • Read your prescription label carefully before initiating treatment. Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not take more than or for longer than the recommended amount and duration. Depending on your response to treatment, your healthcare provider may recommend dose adjustments.
  • To maintain the effective dose of Paxil CR in the body, take this medication around the same time of the day. Follow the specific instructions of your healthcare provider.
  • Do not break, chew, crush or remove the film coat of the controlled-release tablet. Swallow the tablet whole. Paxil CR comes as film-coated tablet, intended to slowly release the medication. Removing the coat can affect how the drug is released in the body.
  • It may require 4 weeks of continuous use of this medication before your symptoms improve. Continue taking Paxil CR even if you feel well. Contact your healthcare provider if symptoms persist or worsen.
  • Do not stop taking this medication, unless specifically instructed by your healthcare provider. Abruptly discontinuing this medication can cause withdrawal symptoms.