Paroxetine | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

paroxetine, Oral tablet

Generic Name:

All Brands

  • Paxil
  • Pexeva
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for paroxetine

Oral tablet
1

Paroxetine can be used to treat depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and hot flushes associated with menopause.

2

Paroxetine is available as several brand-name drugs (Paxil, Paxil CR, Pexeva, and Brisdelle). All brands do not treat all conditions. Paroxetine is also available as a generic drug.

3

Paroxetine is available as an oral tablet, extended-release oral tablet, oral capsule, and oral suspension.

4

The more common side effects of the oral tablet, oral extended-release tablet, and oral solution include nausea, sleepiness, weakness, dizziness, anxiousness, sleeplessness, delayed ejaculation, impotence, decreased sexual desire, sweating, shaking, decreased appetite, dry mouth, constipation, infection, and yawning. These side effects, as well as headache, tiredness, nausea, and vomiting, have also been reported by people who have taken the oral capsule.

5

It can take up to 4 weeks for you to feel paroxetine start to work. If you do start to feel better, don’t stop taking paroxetine.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA warning

This drug has a black box warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Suicide warning. Antidepressant medications, such as paroxetine, may increase suicidal thoughts and behaviors, especially within the first few months of treatment or when your dose is changed. This risk is higher in children, teenagers, and young adults. You, family members, caregivers, and your doctor should pay attention to any unusual changes in your mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings.

Serotonin syndrome

This drug can cause a potentially life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome. It can be caused by this drug alone or with the use of other medications that have similar effects. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome can include agitation, hallucinations, confusion, difficulty thinking, coma, coordination problems, muscle twitching (overactive reflexes), rigid muscles, racing heartbeat, high or low blood pressure, sweating, fever, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Worsened depression

Paroxetine may worsen your depression. If you experience any unusual changes in behavior, especially during the first few months of treatment or when your dose changes, call your doctor. These can include anxiety, agitation, restlessness, panic attacks, sleeplessness, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, acting on dangerous impulses, attempts to commit suicide, and extreme mood swings.

Stopping treatment

If you’re stopping treatment with this drug, it shouldn’t be stopped abruptly. Withdrawal symptoms can occur when this drug is stopped too quickly. Symptoms of withdrawal include anxiety, irritability, high or low mood, restlessness, changes in sleep habits, headache, sweating, nausea, dizziness, electric shock-like sensations, shaking, and confusion. You should be monitored for these symptoms when stopping treatment with paroxetine.

Drug features

Paroxetine is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral tablet, extended-release oral tablet, oral capsule, and oral solution.

Paroxetine is available as the following brand-name drugs: Paxil, Paxil CR, Pexeva, and Brisdelle. All brands do not treat all conditions. Paroxetine is also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version.Talk to your doctor to see if the generic version will work for you.

Paroxetine may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

Why it's used

Paroxetine can be used to treat depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and hot flushes associated with menopause. 

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

More Details

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

This drug increases the amount of serotonin that your body makes and releases in your brain. Serotonin helps with symptoms of depression, compulsions, stress, anxiety, and hot flashes.

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SECTION 2 of 5

paroxetine Side Effects

Oral tablet

More common side effects

  • The more common side effects of paroxetine oral tablet, oral extended-release tablet, and oral solution can include:

    • nausea
    • sleepiness
    • weakness
    • dizziness
    • anxiousness or sleeplessness
    • delayed ejaculation
    • decreased sexual desire
    • impotence
    • sweating
    • shaking
    • decreased appetite
    • dry mouth
    • constipation
    • infection
    • yawning
  • The more common side effects of paroxetine oral capsule can include:

    • headache
    • tiredness
    • nausea
    • vomiting

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Changes in mood, anxiety or behavior, such as:

    • new or worsened depression
    • new or worsened anxiety or panic attacks
    • thoughts of suicide or dying
    • attempts to commit suicide
    • acting on dangerous impulses
    • acting aggressive or violent
    • agitation, restlessness, anger, or irritability
    • sleeplessness
    • increase in activity or talking more than what is normal for you
  • Serotonin syndrome or neuroleptic malignant syndrome-like reactions. Symptoms can include:

    • agitation, hallucinations, coma, confusion, and difficulty thinking
    • coordination problems or muscle twitching (overactive reflexes)
    • muscle rigidity
    • racing heartbeat
    • high or low blood pressure
    • sweating
    • fever
    • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Eye problems, such as:

    • eye pain
    • changes in vision
    • swelling or redness in or around your eyes
  • Severe allergic reactions. Symptoms can include:

    • trouble breathing
    • swelling of your face, tongue, eyes, or mouth
    • rash
    • itchy welts (hives
    • blisters
    • fever
    • joint pain
  • Abnormal bleeding

  • Seizures or convulsions

  • Manic episodes. Symptoms can include:

    • greatly increased energy
    • severe trouble sleeping
    • racing thoughts
    • reckless behavior
    • unusually grand ideas
    • excessive happiness or irritability
    • talking more or faster than usual
  • Changes in appetite or weight

  • Low sodium levels. Symptoms can include:

    • headache
    • weakness or feeling unsteady
    • confusion, problems concentrating or thinking, or memory problems
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Paroxetine can cause increased suicidal thoughts and actions within the first few months of treatment or when the dose is changed. It’s important to let your doctor know about any changes in your mood or behaviors, especially when you first start taking this drug.

Paroxetine can also cause drowsiness and may affect your ability to make decisions, think clearly, or react quickly. You shouldn’t drive, operate heavy machinery, or do other activities for which you need to be alert until you know how this drug affects you.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 5

paroxetine May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

This drug can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Alcohol interaction

You should avoid drinks that contain alcohol when taking this drug.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Drugs you should not take with paroxetine

Do not take these drugs with paroxetine. Taking these drugs with paroxetine can cause dangerous effects in your body. Examples of these drugs include:

  • thioridazine
    • Taking this drug with paroxetine can cause serious heart rhythm problems or sudden death.
  • pimozide
    • Taking this drug with paroxetine can cause serious heart problems.
  • monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, such as isocarboxazid, phenelzine, and tranylcypromine
    • Taking these drugs with paroxetine increases your risk of serotonin syndrome so much that they should not be taken with paroxetine. You should wait at least 14 days between use of paroxetine and these drugs.
  • linezolid, and intravenous methylene blue
    • Taking these drugs with paroxetine increases your risk of serotonin syndrome so much that they should not be used together.

Interactions that can increase your risk of side effects

Taking paroxetine with certain drugs raises your risk of side effects. Examples of these drugs include:

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as, ibuprofen and naproxen as well as aspirin and warfarin 
    • Taking these drugs with paroxetine can increase your risk of bleeding or bruising.
  • triptans such as sumatriptan
  • lithium
  • serotonergic drugs, such as fentanyl, tramadol, and St. John’s wort
    • Taking these drugs with paroxetine can increase your risk of serotonin syndrome.
  • theophylline
    • Taking this drug with paroxetine can increase your risk of restlessness, trouble sleeping, and irritability. 
  • risperidone
    • Taking this drug with paroxetine can increase your risk of  difficulty sleeping, anxiety, restlessness, and constipation.
  • cimetidine
  • tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), such as amitriptyline and desipramine
  • imipramine
  • quinidine
    • Taking these drugs with paroxetine can increase your risk of tiredness, decreased appetite, sweating, dry mouth, and decreased sexual desire.

Interactions that can make drugs less effective

Taking paroxetine with certain drugs may cause one or both of the drugs to not work as well. This is because the interaction between the drugs may cause a decrease in your body of paroxetine or the other drug. Examples of these drugs include:

  • tamoxifen, a breast cancer drug
  • digoxin
  • protease inhibitors, such as fosamprenavir and ritonavir

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with glaucoma

Paroxetine may dilate your pupils, which may trigger a glaucoma attack. Notify your doctor if you have glaucoma before taking this drug. 

People with bipolar disorder

Caution should be used when taking this drug if you have bipolar disorder. Taking paroxetine alone may trigger a mixed or manic episode.

People with seizures

Caution should be used when taking this drug if you have a history of seizures. If seizures occur while you take this drug, you should stop taking it and contact your doctor.

People with kidney disease

If you have kidney disease, your kidneys may not be able to get rid of this drug as well as they should. This may cause levels of the drug to build up in your body and cause more side effects.

People with liver disease

If you have liver disease, your body may not be able to process this drug as well as it should. This may increase the levels of this drug to build up in your body and cause more side effects.

Pregnant women

The paroxetine brand-named drug Brisdelle is a category X drug. Category X drugs should never be used during pregnancy. 

Women of childbearing age should use reliable birth control while taking this drug.

Paroxetine (except for the brand-named drug Brisdelle) is a category D pregnancy drug. That means two things: 

  1. Research in humans has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. This drug should only be used during pregnancy in serious cases where it's needed to treat a dangerous condition in the mother. 

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Ask your doctor to tell you about the specific harm that may be done to the fetus. This drug should be only used if the potential risk to the fetus is acceptable given the drug’s potential benefit.

Women who are breast-feeding

This drug passes into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breast-fed. Caution should be used when taking this drug while breast-feeding. 

Talk to your doctor if you breast-feed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breast-feeding or stop taking this medication.

For seniors

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

If you’re over the age of 65 years, you may be at higher risk of developing side effects while taking this drug, including low sodium levels in your blood (known as hyponatremia). 

For children

It hasn’t been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for use in people younger than 18 years.

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

Allergies

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include: 

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your face, tongue, eyes, or mouth
  • rash, itchy welts (hives), or blisters, alone or with fever or joint pain 

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

SECTION 4 of 5

How to Take paroxetine (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Major depressive disorder

Generic: paroxetine

Form: Oral immediate-release tablet
Strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg
Form: Oral extended-release tablet
Strengths: 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 37.5 mg

Brand: Paxil

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg
Form: Oral suspension
Strengths: 10 mg/5mL

Brand: Paxil CR

Form: Oral extended-release tablet
Strengths: 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 37.5 mg

Brand: Pexeva

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • You should take this drug in one dose per day.
  • You should be on the lowest dose that works for you.
  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil, Pexeva):
    • The typical starting dose is 20 mg per day.
    • If a 20-mg dose is not enough, your doctor will start increasing your dose each week by 10 mg per day.
    • Your maximum daily dose shouldn't exceed 50 mg per day.
  • Oral extended-release tablets (Paxil CR):
    • The initial dose is 25 mg per day.
    • If you don't respond to a 25-mg dose, your doctor will increase your dose each week by 12.5 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 62.5 mg per day.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It hasn’t been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for use in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)
  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil, Pexeva):
    • The recommended starting dose is 10 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 40 mg per day. 
  • Oral extended-release tablets (Paxil CR):
    • The recommended starting dose is 12.5 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 50 mg per day. 
Special considerations

Kidney disease:

  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil, Pexeva):
    • The recommended starting dose is 10 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 40 mg per day.
  • Oral extended-release tablets (Paxil CR):
    • The recommended starting dose is 12.5 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 50 mg per day.

Liver disease:

  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil, Pexeva):
    • The recommended starting dose is 10 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 40 mg per day.
  • Oral extended-release tablets (Paxil CR):
    • The recommended starting dose is 12.5 mg per day.
 

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Generic: paroxetine

Form: Oral immediate-release tablet
Strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg
Form: Oral extended-release tablet
Strengths: 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 37.5 mg

Brand: Paxil

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg
Form: Oral suspension
Strengths: 10 mg/5mL

Brand: Pexeva

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • You should take this drug in one dose per day.
  • You should be on the lowest dose that works for you.
  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil, Pexeva):
    • The typical starting dose is 20 mg per day.
    • The target dose is 40 mg day. Your doctor will increase your dose each week by 10 mg per day to get to the target dose.
    • The maximum dose is 60 mg per day.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It hasn’t been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for use in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)
  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil, Pexeva):
    • The recommended starting dose is 10 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 40 mg per day. 
Special considerations

Kidney disease:

  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil, Pexeva):
    • The recommended starting dose is 10 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 40 mg per day.

Liver disease:

  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil, Pexeva):
    • The recommended starting dose is 10 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 40 mg per day.

Panic disorder

Generic: paroxetine

Form: Oral immediate-release tablet
Strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg
Form: Oral extended-release tablet
Strengths: 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 37.5 mg

Brand: Paxil

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg
Form: Oral suspension
Strengths: 10 mg/5mL

Brand: Paxil CR

Form: Oral extended-release tablet
Strengths: 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 37.5 mg

Brand: Pexeva

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • You should take this drug in one dose per day.
  • You should be on the lowest dose that works for you.
  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil, Pexeva):
    • The typical starting dose is 10 mg per day.  
    • The target dose is 40 mg per day. Your doctor will increase your dose each week by 10 mg per day to get to the target dose.  
    • The maximum dose is 60 mg per day.  
  • Oral extended-release tablets (Paxil CR):
    • The initial dose is 12.5 mg per day.  
    • If you don't respond to a 12.5-mg dose, your doctor will increase your dose each week by 12.5 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 75 mg per day.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It hasn’t been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for use in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)
  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil, Pexeva):
    • The recommended starting dose is 10 mg once per day.
    • The maximum dose is 40 mg per day.
  • Oral extended-release tablets (Paxil CR):
    • The recommended starting dose is 12.5 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 50 mg per day.  
Special considerations

Kidney disease:

  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil, Pexeva):
    • The recommended starting dose is 10 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 40 mg per day.
  • Oral extended-release tablets (Paxil CR):
    • The recommended starting dose is 12.5 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 50 mg per day.

Liver disease:

  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil, Pexeva):
    • The recommended starting dose is 10 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 40 mg per day.
  • Oral extended-release tablets (Paxil CR):
    • The recommended starting dose is 12.5 mg per day.

Social anxiety disorder

Generic: paroxetine

Form: Oral immediate-release tablet
Strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg
Form: Oral extended-release tablet
Strengths: 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 37.5 mg

Brand: Paxil

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg
Form: Oral suspension
Strengths: 10 mg/5mL

Brand: Paxil CR

Form: Oral extended-release tablet
Strengths: 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 37.5 mg

Brand: Pexeva

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • You should take this drug in one dose per day.
  • You should be on the lowest dose that works for you.
  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil)
    • The typical starting dose is 20 mg per day.  
    • If a 20-mg dose is not enough, your doctor will start increasing your dose each week by 10 mg per day.
    • The recommended dose to treat social anxiety disorder is 20–60 mg per day.
  • Oral extended-release tablets (Paxil CR):
    • The initial dose is 12.5 mg per day.
    • If you don't respond to a 12.5-mg dose, your doctor will increase your dose each week by 12.5 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 37.5 mg per day.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It hasn’t been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for use in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)
  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil):
    • The recommended starting dose is 10 mg once per day.
    • The maximum dose is 40 mg per day.
  • Oral extended-release tablets (Paxil CR):
    • The recommended starting dose is 12.5 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 50 mg per day.  
Special considerations

Kidney disease:

  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil):
    • The recommended starting dose is 10 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 40 mg per day.
  • Oral extended-release tablets (Paxil CR):
    • The recommended starting dose is 12.5 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 50 mg per day.

Liver disease:

  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil):
    • The recommended starting dose is 10 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 40 mg per day.
  • Oral extended-release tablets (Paxil CR):
    • The recommended starting dose is 12.5 mg per day.

Generalized anxiety disorder

Generic: paroxetine

Form: Oral immediate-release tablet
Strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg
Form: Oral extended-release tablet
Strengths: 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 37.5 mg

Brand: Paxil

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg
Form: Oral suspension
Strengths: 10 mg/5mL

Brand: Pexeva

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • You should take this drug in one dose per day.
  • You should be on the lowest dose that works for you.
  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil, Pexeva):
    • The typical starting dose is 20 mg per day.  
    • If a 20-mg dose is not enough, your doctor will start increasing your dose each week by 10 mg per day.
    • The recommended dose to treat generalized anxiety disorder is 20–50 mg per day.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It hasn’t been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for use in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)
  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil, Pexeva):
    • The recommended starting dose is 10 mg once per day.
    • The maximum dose is 40 mg per day.
Special considerations

Kidney disease:

  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil, Pexeva):
    • The recommended starting dose is 10 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 40 mg per day.

Liver disease:

  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil, Pexeva):
    • The recommended starting dose is 10 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 40 mg per day.

Posttraumatic stress disorder

Generic: paroxetine

Form: Oral immediate-release tablet
Strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg
Form: Oral extended-release tablet
Strengths: 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 37.5 mg

Brand: Paxil

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg
Form: Oral suspension
Strengths: 10 mg/5mL
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • You should take this drug in one dose per day.
  • You should be on the lowest dose that works for you.
  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil):
    • The typical starting dose is 20 mg per day.  
    • If a 20-mg dose is not enough, your doctor will start increasing your dose each week by 10 mg per day.
    • The recommended dose to treat posttraumatic stress disorder is 20–50 mg per day.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It hasn’t been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for use in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)
  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil):
    • The recommended starting dose is 10 mg once per day.
    • The maximum dose is 40 mg per day.
Special considerations

Kidney disease:

  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil):
    • The recommended starting dose is 10 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 40 mg per day.

Liver disease:

  • Oral tablets and suspension (Paxil):
    • The recommended starting dose is 10 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 40 mg per day.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Generic: paroxetine

Form: Oral extended-release tablet
Strengths: 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 37.5 mg

Brand: Paxil CR

Form: Oral extended-release tablet
Strengths: 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 37.5 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • You should take this drug in one dose per day.
  • You should be on the lowest dose that works for you.
  • Oral extended-release tablets (Paxil CR):
    • The typical starting dose is 12.5 mg per day, usually taken in the morning.  
    • Depending on your symptoms, your dose can be increased up to 25 mg per day.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It hasn’t been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for use in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)
  • Oral extended-release tablets (Paxil CR):
    • The recommended starting dose is 12.5 mg once per day
    • The maximum dose is 50 mg per day.
Special considerations

Kidney disease:

  • Oral extended-release tablets (Paxil CR):
    • The recommended starting dose is 12.5 mg per day.
    • The maximum dose is 50 mg per day.

Liver disease:

  • Oral extended-release tablets (Paxil CR):
  • The recommended starting dose is 12.5 mg per day.

Hot flushes

Brand: Brisdelle

Form: Oral capsule
Strengths: 7.5 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

The typical dose is 7.5 mg per day, taken at bedtime.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It hasn’t been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for use in people younger than 18 years.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

This drug comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

If you don’t take it at all, your condition won’t get any better. If you suddenly stop taking it, you may see symptoms, such as anxiety, irritability, high or low mood, restlessness, changes in sleep habits, headache, sweating, nausea, dizziness, electric shock-like sensations, shaking, and confusion.  

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • sleepiness
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fast heart rate
  • tremor
  • confusion
  • coma

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

You should have decreased feelings of depression and your mood should improve.

Major depressive disorder: You should have decreased feelings of depression and your mood should improve.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder: You should have decreased feelings of obsessions and compulsions.

Panic disorder: ou should have decreased feelings of anxiety and panic.

Social anxiety disorder: You should have decreased feelings of anxiety.

Generalized anxiety disorder: You should have decreased feelings of anxiety.

Posttraumatic stress disorder: You should have decreased feelings of anxiety, memories, or dreams of traumatic events (flashbacks) and nightmares.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder: You should have decreased tiredness, irritability, mood swings, sleeplessness, and anxiety. 

Hot flushes: You should have decreased hot flushes.

Paroxetine can be used for long-term or short-term treatment.

You can cut or crush the immediate-release oral tablet

You can’t chew, crush, or cut the extended-release tablet or capsule. They must be swallowed whole.

Store this drug carefully

  • Store the oral tablets and capsules at room temperature between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C). Store the oral suspension and extended-release tablets at or below 77°F (25°C).
  • Keep it away from light.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical monitoring

You and your doctor should monitor certain health issues. This can help make sure you stay safe while you take this drug. These issues include:

  • mental health and behavior changes
  • kidney function. Your doctor may have blood tests done to check how well your kidneys are working. If your kidneys aren’t working well, your doctor may decide to lower your dose of this drug.
  • liver function. Your doctor may have blood tests done to check how well your liver is working. If your liver isn’t working well, your doctor may decide to lower your dose of this drug.

Not every pharmacy stocks all forms or brands of this drug

When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for certain forms or brands of this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

What does the pill look like?

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How Much Does paroxetine Cost?

Oral tablet

We've partnered with GoodRx so you can compare prices, find discounts and save up to 80% on your next prescription. Check out the low coupon prices below — no insurance required.

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Lowest price for paroxetine

Walmart $4.00
Kroger Pharmacy $4.00
Membership warehouse $7.42
These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for paroxetine on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for paroxetine on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on November 23, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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