A small number of children, teenagers, and young adults (up to 24 years of age) who took antidepressants ('mood elevators') such as paroxetine during clinical studies became suicidal (thinking about harming or killing oneself or planning or trying to do so). Children, teenagers, and young adults who take antidepressants to treat depression or other mental illnesses may be more likely to become suicidal than children, teenagers, and young adults who do not take antidepressants to treat these conditions. However, there are also risks when depression is not treated in children and teenagers. Talk to your child's doctor about these risks and whether your child should take an antidepressant, Children younger than 18 years of age should not normally take paroxetine, but in some cases, a doctor may decide that paroxetine is the best medication to treat a child's condition.
You should know that your mental health may change in unexpected ways when you take paroxetine or other antidepressants to treat depression or other mental illness even if you are an adult over 24 years of age. You may also experience changes in your mental health if you are a woman taking a low dose of paroxetine to treat hot flashes and you have never had depression or another mental illness. You may become suicidal, especially at the beginning of your treatment and any time that your dose is increased or decreased. You, your family, or your caregiver should call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms: new or worsening depression; thinking about harming or killing yourself, or planning or trying to do so; extreme worry; agitation; panic attacks; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; aggressive behavior; irritability; acting without thinking; severe restlessness; and frenzied abnormal excitement. Be sure that your family or caregiver knows which symptoms may be serious so they can call the doctor if you are unable to seek treatment on your own.
Your healthcare provider will want to see you often while you are taking paroxetine, especially at the beginning of your treatment. Be sure to keep all appointments for office visits with your doctor.
The doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with paroxetine. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also obtain the Medication Guide from the FDA website: Web Site.
No matter what your age, before you take an antidepressant, you, your parent, or your caregiver should talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of treating your condition with an antidepressant or with other treatments. You should also talk about the risks and benefits of not treating your condition. You should know that having depression or another mental illness greatly increases the risk that you will become suicidal. This risk is higher if you or anyone in your family has or has ever had bipolar disorder (mood that changes from depressed to abnormally excited) or mania (frenzied, abnormally excited mood) or has thought about or attempted suicide. Talk to your doctor about your condition, symptoms, and personal and family medical history. You and your doctor will decide what type of treatment is right for you.
Paroxetine tablets, suspension (liquid), and extended-release (long-acting) tablets are used to treat depression, panic disorder (sudden, unexpected attacks of extreme fear and worry about these attacks), and social anxiety disorder (extreme fear of interacting with others or performing in front of others that interferes with normal life). Paroxetine tablets and suspension are also used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (bothersome thoughts that won't go away and the need to perform certain actions over and over), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD; excessive worrying that is difficult to control), and posttraumatic stress disorder (disturbing psychological symptoms that develop after a frightening experience). Paroxetine extended-release tablets are also used to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD, physical and psychological symptoms that occur before the onset of the menstrual period each month). Paroxetine capsules (Brisdelle) are used to treat hot flashes (sudden feelings of warmth, especially in the face, neck, and chest) in women who are experiencing menopause (stage of life when menstrual periods become less frequent and stop and women may experience other symptoms and body changes). Paroxetine is in a class of medications called selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It treats depression and other mental illnesses by increasing the amount of serotonin, a natural substance in the brain that helps maintain mental balance. There is not enough information available at this time to know how paroxetine works to treat hot flashes.
Paroxetine comes as a tablet, a suspension (liquid), a controlled-release (long-acting) tablet, and a capsule to take by mouth. The tablets, suspension, and controlled-release tablets are usually taken once daily in the morning or evening, with or without food. The capsules are usually taken once a day at bedtime with or without food. You may want to take paroxetine with food to prevent stomach upset. Take paroxetine at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take paroxetine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Shake the liquid well before each use to mix the medication evenly.
Swallow the extended-release and regular tablets whole; do not chew or crush them.
If you are taking paroxetine tablets, suspension, or controlled-release tablets, your doctor may start you on a low dose of paroxetine and gradually increase your dose, not more than once a week.
Paroxetine capsules contain a lower dose of paroxetine than is needed to treat depression and other forms of mental illness. Do not take paroxetine capsules to treat a mental illness. If you think you have depression or another mental illness, talk to your doctor about treatment.
Paroxetine may help control your symptoms but will not cure your condition. It may take several weeks or longer before you feel the full benefit of paroxetine. Continue to take paroxetine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking paroxetine without talking to your doctor. Your doctor may decrease your dose gradually. If you suddenly stop taking paroxetine tablets, suspension, or controlled-release tablets, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as depression; mood changes; frenzied or abnormally excited mood; irritability; anxiety; confusion; dizziness; headache; tiredness; numbness or tingling in the arms, legs, hands, or feet; unusual dreams; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; nausea; or sweating. Tell your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms when your dose of paroxetine is decreased.
Paroxetine is also sometimes used to treat chronic headaches, tingling in the hands and feet caused by diabetes, and certain male sexual problems. Paroxetine is also used with other medications to treat bipolar disorder (mood that changes from depressed to abnormally excited). Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking paroxetine,
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Paroxetine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING or SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS sections, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
Paroxetine may decrease appetite and cause weight loss in children. Your child's doctor will watch his or her growth carefully. Talk to your child's doctor if you have concerns about your child's growth or weight while he or she is taking this medication. Talk to your child's doctor about the risks of giving paroxetine to your child.
Paroxetine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( Web Site ) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( Web Site) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at Web Site. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include the following:
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Before having any laboratory test (especially those that involve methylene blue), tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking paroxetine.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Selected Revisions: September 15, 2018.