Paxil Side Effects

by on June 21, 2012


Like many antidepressants, Paxil (Paroxetine) has the potential to cause a number of mild to moderate side effects. Many users experience changes in their sex drive and ability, weight changes, headache, and nausea. The most frequently reported Paxil side effects will typically improve within the first one to four weeks of treatment, but some patients may have more serious reactions. Suicidal tendencies, particularly in children and teens, and the risk of mania are the most concerning. Withdrawal symptoms are also likely if Paxil is stopped abruptly.

Common Paxil Side Effects

It is not uncommon for individuals to experience side effects when they first begin taking an antidepressant. The symptoms will usually subside within the first month of treatment, sometimes much earlier. The most commonly reported side effects of paroxetine drugs like Paxil are similar to other SSRI antidepressants such as Zoloft and Citalopram, but Paxil users are more likely to experience a significant increase in weight during their treatment.

Contact your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or persist for longer than 4 weeks:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Weakness
  • Drowsiness
  • A drugged feeling
  • Mild confusion
  • Headache
  • Difficulty remembering
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Gas, heartburn, or stomach pain
  • Changes in taste
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in weight
  • Excessive yawning
  • Light sensitivity
  • Muscle or bone pain
  • Flushing
  • Unusual dreams
  • Joint tenderness
  • Unexplained sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Tender or sore gums
  • Irregular periods
  • Changes in sex drive or performance

Serious Paxil Side Effects

Some people may have more serious side effects when they take Paxil. If you have any of the symptoms below, contact your doctor immediately.

  • Vision changes or blurred vision
  • Severe dizziness or fainting
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Shallow or difficult breathing
  • Tremors
  • High fever
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Easy bruising
  • Peeling or blistering skin
  • Changes in urination frequency
  • Painful urination
  • Vaginal itching or infection
  • A painful, long lasting erection
  • Numbness in the legs or extremeties
  • Loss of coordination or difficulty balancing
  • Sudden nausea, confusion, swelling, weakness, etc.
  • Unexplained hoarseness
  • Bloody, black, or tarry stools
  • Uncontrollable twitching or shaking
  • Hallucinations
  • Excessive agitation
  • Abnormal thoughts or behaviors
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Memory loss
  • Lack of focus

There may be other side effects of Paxil that are not listed here. Let your doctor know if you have any changes in your mental or physical well-being while taking Paxil. Some patients may experience a serious allergic reaction to this medication. Seek immediate medical help if you have a skin rash, hives, swelling of the face or throat, and/or difficulty breathing. Do not take Paxil if you have had a reaction to a paroxetine drug in the past or if you are allergic to any Paxil ingredients.


Paxil and other brands of paroxetine are not recommended for children under the age of 18. Studies have shown an increased risk in suicidal behaviors and actions in individuals younger than 24 while taking this medication. It may also cause loss of appetite and weight loss in children. Discuss the potential risks and benefits of Paxil with your child’s doctor before making a decision to use it. If your child or teenager does take Paxil, he or she should be closely monitored by you and the doctor for healthy growth and behavior.


Classified as a pregnancy category D drug by the FDA, Paxil should not be taken during pregnancy and should not be used by women who plan on becoming pregnant. Paxil increases the risk of serious heart defects and lung conditions in newborns. If you learn that you’re pregnant while taking this medication, don’t stop taking it without talking to your doctor. An abrupt stop can cause severe withdrawal side effects in some individuals and may make symptoms of depression return.


Manufacturers of paroxetine medications once claimed that the antidepressants were non-habit forming, but further research and thousands of complaints have proven that this isn’t true. Compared to individuals who take other SSRI antidepressants, patients who take Paxil are more likely to experience withdrawal side effects and the symptoms are often more severe.

Nausea, anxiety, rebound depression, unexplained crying, vertigo, dizziness, insomnia, and nightmares are all possible symptoms that may accompany withdrawal. Discuss a plan with your doctor to gradually taper the medication before stopping.

Aside from the severe withdrawal symptoms that may accompany this medication, Paxil is a safe and effective treatment option for adults who suffer from depression or other mental disorders. Paxil side effects generally subside with continued use and are well worth the benefits this medication can provide.