Paroxetine or Paxil is a relatively new and selective anti depressant which has been around for at least 15 years. It was once of the most heavily prescribed anti depressant a decade ago. Today the product has become controversial because of its side effects which include generation of suicidal ideation and withdrawal symptoms. There have been numerous litigation cases against the manufacturer.
Paxil is used in the treatment of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia/social anxiety disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
The drug is generally safe and the data collected over the years have revealed a few side effects. Most side effects are seen during the early period of drug use and then subside. Most of the side effects are dependent on the dose of Paxil. Increases or changes in dosage may also cause side effects to reappear.
Paxil is not recommended for use in children. Even in adults, the drug has to be carefully monitored because it can cause suicidal behaviors or suicidal thoughts. When stopping the drug, the dose should be gradually lowered to reduce the chance of inducing withdrawal syndrome.
The most common side effects of Paxil include:
- Weight gain (increased appetite)
- Dry mouth
- Increased sweating
- Drowsiness or lethargy
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Inability to achieve orgasm
- loss of libido (sexual desire)
- Erectile dysfunction
In the rare individual Paxil has been linked with some skin side effects. These adverse effects on the skin are rare but annoying. Some believe that the skin side effects seen after Paxil are a coincidental finding and not related to Paxil usage. The side effects include:
- Pruritis (itch)
- alopecia (hair loss)
- contact dermatitis, dry skin
- ecchymoses (bruising on the skin)
- urticaria (hives)
- skin discoloration
- rash with pustules (may resemble Rosacea)
Anecdotal evidence indicates that all the skin side effects reverse when the drug is stopped. If for any reason the skin side effects continue, a visit to the dermatologist is recommended for proper evaluation and management.