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Jun 30, 2023

Mental Health


Most Common Questions About Paroxetine

How It Works

Paroxetine is a type of antidepressant medication called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). These medications work to increase the amount of available serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a “happy” chemical, and it works in the brain to increase happiness, reduce obsessive anxious thoughts, and stabilize the overall mood.

Serotonin is present all over the body with various functions, but the focus for mental health conditions and therefore SSRIs is in the brain. Serotonin gets released by one cell in the brain to then send signals to another cell nearby to exert its effect. Once the serotonin has sent its signal, it then gets reabsorbed by the cell that initially released it, so it doesn’t have more effect than desired.

Certain mental health conditions are thought to be caused, or at least exacerbated, by a decreased level of serotonin in the brain. SSRIs therefore work by stopping this reabsorption of serotonin. This then lets the serotonin have more time to send signals to improve mood and reduce anxious thoughts.

Conditions Paroxetine Treates

Paroxetine is approved to treat both major depressive disorder and a wide range of anxiety disorders. It has been shown to be effective in reducing anxious and obsessive thoughts, which is key in treating certain anxiety-based disorders. The medical conditions that the FDA has approved paroxetine to treat include:

It can take a few weeks for paroxetine to have an effect on improving your mood. Because of this, unless due to serious adverse reactions, it’s very important to stick with the medication for a few weeks to determine if it works for you.

Side Effects

Paroxetine has several potential side effects. These reactions are most common during the first couple weeks and tend to improve over time. If the side effects are worsening or interfering with day-to-day function, speak to your healthcare provider about whether or not this medication continues to be right for you. The most common side effects of paroxetine include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Increased sweating
  • Nausea
  • Tremor
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Worsening depression with thoughts of self-harm and/or suicide*
*if you experience thoughts of harming yourself or others in any way, seek medical attention immediately.

Interactions with Other Medication

There is an extensive list of medications that should not be taken at the same time as paroxetine. The main medications that absolutely must be avoided while on paroxetine include:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Pimozide
  • Thioridazine

There are other medications that may also need to be avoided or closely monitored while taking paroxetine. This includes lithium, phenobarbital, diazepam, and cimetidine, though this list is not exhaustive.

It is also important to avoid other medications that increase serotonin while taking paroxetine. This is because the additional increase in serotonin can lead to something called “serotonin syndrome”. This is a very serious condition that displays first with diarrhea, shakiness, and tremors, but can lead to irregular heartbeat and even seizures. Some serotonin-increasing medications that should be avoided while taking paroxetine include:

  • Other antidepressants (SNRIs, TCAs)
  • Triptans (sumatriptan, rizatriptan)

It is important to inform your healthcare provider about all prescription and over the counter medications as well as vitamins and natural health products you are taking to ensure they are safe to take alongside paroxetine.

Taking Paroxetine While Pregnant or Breastfeeding

You should not take paroxetine if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This is because studies have shown that paroxetine use during pregnancy is dangerous to the growing fetus and can cause malformations. Though it is usually not ideal to switch medications if you have found one that works well for you, this may be the best option for the safety of your fetus. If you are taking paroxetine and become pregnant, your healthcare provider will discuss with you the options of stopping the medication and possibly switching from paroxetine to another medication.

You also should not take paroxetine while breastfeeding. This is because paroxetine is excreted into the breastmilk from the mother’s blood. The levels of paroxetine in breastmilk may be dangerous to the nursing baby. The best options for you if you are taking paroxetine is to either switch to another, safer, medication while you breastfeed or to stop breastfeeding while you are on paroxetine.


The average cost of a 6-month supply of 20 mg paroxetine tablets ranges from $135 to $450. However, at Marley Drug this cost decreases to only $37 for a 6-month supply. For an even better cost effectiveness, you can also get a 12-month supply of paroxetine for only $70. This decreased cost when buying a longer supply is great for a medication like paroxetine, because it is generally taken long-term. Getting a longer supply of a long-term medication means fewer trips to the pharmacy, which is both convenient and cost effective as it reduces the number of times you have to pay pharmacy dispensing fees.

How are Marley Drug’s prices so low? We buy our medications directly from wholesalers rather than going through the insurance company middlemen. Insurance companies usually increase drug costs with their service fees, so being able to avoid these extra costs allows us to price our medications in competition with even the best insurance plans.

To learn more about how you can get your paroxetine prescription from Marley Drug, just call us at 1-800-810-7790.

  1. Paxil (paroxetine) – Access data FDA-Approved Drugs [Internet]. Amended 12/2012; accessed 08/2022].
  2. Paxil: generic paroxetine – GoodRx ( Accessed 2022-08-04.

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