How Does Paxil Help Depression

Medical Disclaimer
The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient's unique health circumstances and needs.

The brand name Paxil refers to the medication paroxetine hydrochloride. Paxil uses include treatment of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, in this post, we will focus on the main things you need to know when taking Paxil for depression treatment.

Consult EZCare doctors to get a diagnosis and the most suitable treatment.

Paxil for Depression: How It Works

Paxil is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Not only does the brain produce serotonin, but it also reduces serotonin levels by reabsorbing this neurotransmitter after each neuron has received enough.

What this process means for patients suffering from depression is that the brain is cleaning itself to the point of exhaustion, leaving the neurons starving for a supply of serotonin. When a person takes Paxil as per their prescription, it prevents the brain from overcleaning the serotonin pool, ensuring a constant supply of serotonin for the neurons to consume. In turn, it regulates mood and relieves the symptoms of depression.

Paxil Doses

Paxil comes in different forms: immediate-release capsules, tablets, controlled-release tablets, and liquid. Doctors recommend immediate or controlled-release Paxil tablets for treating depressive symptoms. The dosage starts at 20 mg daily, up to a maximum of 50 mg, while the dose for older adults may be as low as 10 mg daily and as high as 40 mg daily.

Paxil is usually started at a small dose that is gradually increased over time, and it takes a few weeks to show benefits. It is typically taken once daily, either in the morning or evening; doctors advise on the right time for the patient. It is advisable to take Paxil with food to prevent stomach upsets.

Paxil Side Effects

Just like any other antidepressant, Paxil has some side effects which are similar to those of other SSRIs:

  • Dizziness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight gain
  • Palpitations
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Reduced libido

The good news is that these mild side effects usually clear after a couple of weeks as the brain adapts to the medication. When side effects become severe or persist, the patient should discuss it with the healthcare provider. In some cases, higher levels of Paxil may lead to serotonin syndrome, an oversupply of serotonin.

The signs of serotonin syndrome symptoms include hallucinations, nausea, agitation, tremors, and seizures. The patient must contact their healthcare provider as soon as possible if they experience these symptoms.

Contact us to get an individual treatment plan based on your diagnosis, symptoms, and health history.

Paxil Withdrawal

A patient may experience withdrawal symptoms [2*]  when they abruptly stop taking Paxil. That is why Paxil users who wish to stop taking it should consult their doctor, who will recommend a plan to reduce the dose gradually. Otherwise, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Depressed mood
  • Agitation
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Electric shock sensations
  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Exaggerated mood changes
  • Lack of energy
  • Sleeplessness

It is unlikely that a patient will experience any of the above side effects. Still, if a patient stops taking Paxil and experiences one or more of these side effects, they should talk to their doctor immediately.

Paxil Alternatives

Several alternatives are available to Paxil, and the medical provider can prescribe them if the patient is not responding well to this medication or the doctor believes that another medication would be more appropriate. Other SSRI medications that can substitute Paxil include:

  • Lexapro
  • Zoloft
  • Prozac
  • Celexa


Paxil remains safe and effective for treating depression and can be life-changing for a patient suffering from it. Whether Paxil is the proper medication for a patient needs to be discussed with their healthcare professional, who will help them diagnose their depression and determine the best treatment. If you want to know what medicine will help you overcome depressioncontact EZCare Clinic today.


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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.