Can you stop Paxil after one week? (9 risks)

In this article, we aim to answer the query: “Can you stop Paxil after one week?” Furthermore, we will discuss the related research findings, withdrawal symptoms, proper tapering process, and alternative treatments. 

Can you stop Paxil after one week?

You should not stop taking Paxil after one week. If you do so, you may experience withdrawal symptoms or even a relapse of the illness for which Paxil was prescribed. The intensity of withdrawal symptoms depends on the dose of Paxil. If you were taking a lower dose of Paxil, there may be only mild effects.

However, if you were taking a higher dose, you may experience some severe effects. Some patients want to discontinue Paxil due to its early phase side effects and without waiting for the antidepressant to adjust, they suddenly stop taking it. If you have stopped taking Paxil and experiencing some side effects, start taking it again and consult your doctor.

The withdrawal symptoms may differ in their severity among individuals, and they may also subside on their own after a few weeks or your doctor may recommend other medications to deal with them. Therefore, never stop taking antidepressants abruptly because they are associated with some serious withdrawal symptoms (1). 

What does research suggest about Paxil discontinuation?

A study conducted in 2006, suggested that patients who experienced side effects in the early phase of treatment are more prone to have withdrawal symptoms on discontinuation.

Additionally, Paxil when stopped suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms, especially in young patients. This study suggested that Paxil should be discontinued gradually to prevent the adverse effects related to the discontinuation of Paxil (2). 

Another clinical study indicated that SSRIs such as Paxil, and Lexapro may cause a condition of withdrawal, known as discontinuation syndrome. The symptoms of this syndrome may start to appear within a few days of stopping the medication. 

If you start taking the antidepressant again, these withdrawal symptoms may go away within two days. The altered levels of serotonin on abrupt discontinuation are the main cause of these withdrawal symptoms (3). 

What are the withdrawal symptoms related to Paxil?

The withdrawal symptoms on sudden discontinuation of Paxil may include:

  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Vertigo
  • Nausea
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Vivid dreams
  • Nervousness
  • Stress
  • Agitation

The above-mentioned withdrawal symptoms of Paxil may subside on their own, but if they worsen or persist, you should immediately reach out to your healthcare provider (4). 

What is the proper tapering process for discontinuing Paxil?

The proper tapering process of discontinuing Paxil may involve gradually reducing the dose to a minimum therapeutic dose throughout 2 to 4 weeks. Patients are vigilantly monitored during this tapering period.

After these 4 weeks, Paxil may be completely stopped and alternative antidepressant treatment may be started according to the specific needs of an individual. In this approach of gradually reducing the dose of Paxil, the risk of withdrawal symptoms is minimized (5). 

What alternatives can be considered when discontinuing Paxil?

While discontinuing Paxil, your doctor may evaluate your current symptoms, and suggest alternative antidepressants. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac and Zoloft, and tricyclic antidepressants such as Elavil can be prescribed by your doctor depending on your specific needs.

Each of these medications has its safety and efficacy profile. The choice of antidepressants depends on various individual factors such as current symptoms, family or medical history, and response to the medication. It is important to have clear communication with your doctor to choose the best treatment for you (6,7,8). 


In my opinion, when you stop taking Paxil after one week of treatment, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms may be due to the medicine discontinuation or due to the return of illness.

The symptoms may be severe in some individuals and they have to start Paxil again. Therefore, you should not discontinue Paxil and always seek guidance from the medical practitioner. 

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