Does Paroxetine increase heart rate? (5 factors)

In this article, we will explore whether Paroxetine increases heart rate. Furthermore, we will discuss what the research suggests, contributing factors, precautions, and what to do if you experience an increased heart rate while taking Paroxetine. 

Does Paroxetine increase heart rate?

Paroxetine may or may not increase the heart rate in individuals taking it for anxiety and depression. Paroxetine has a lower risk of cardiovascular effects. However, the response to Paroxetine varies from person to person. 

Paroxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), and other related mental conditions. 

Paxil works by blocking the reuptake of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain cells. Serotonin regulates sleep, mood, appetite, and the body’s stress response. Other SSRIs may also affect heart rate, such as Zoloft and Celexa. 

What does research suggest about Paroxetine and increased heart rate?

According to a research study, the heart’s electrical activity was monitored before and after 4 weeks of treatment with Paroxetine. The study suggested that there was no detectable change in the heart rate in both groups, Paroxetine and placebo (1). 

In another clinical study, patients with panic disorder experienced an increased heart rate during panic attacks. This study suggested that when Paroxetine was given to panic disorder patients, their heart rate normalized along with their response to certain conditions (2). 

Additionally, a research study indicated that Paroxetine, when prescribed in therapeutic doses does not affect heart rate, blood pressure, or the heart’s electrical activity. This study suggested Paroxetine does not harm the heart and is a safer treatment option compared to other antidepressants (3). 

Only one case has been reported so far for Paroxetine-induced QTc prolongation in the heart’s electrical activity; however, this is a rare case as Paroxetine is known to be less harmful to the heart (4). 

What factors influence heart rate while taking Paroxetine?

The factors that may influence heart rate while taking Paroxetine include: 

  • Individual sensitivity to Paroxetine and the patient’s age may impact heart rate. 
  • Higher doses of Paroxetine may have different effects compared to lower doses. 
  • Underlying heart conditions or family history. 
  • Concomitant use of other medications while taking Paroxetine. 
  • Psychological factors such as stress and anxiety can also affect heart rate.  

What precautions should be taken while taking Paroxetine?

The following precautions should be taken while taking Paroxetine: 

  • Inform your doctor if you are allergic to Paroxetine before they prescribe it to you. 
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) should not be prescribed with Paroxetine or within 2 weeks of Paroxetine discontinuation due to the risk of serotonin syndrome.
  • Paroxetine should not be used during pregnancy as it may cause heart problems in fetuses and newborns. 
  • Avoid driving while taking Paroxetine as it may cause drowsiness. 
  • Paroxetine should not be taken in patients aged 65 or older as it may increase the risk of side effects (5,6).

What to do if you experience increased heart rate with Paroxetine?

If you experience increased heart rate while taking Paroxetine, please reach out to your healthcare provider. They may evaluate your current symptoms, family or medical history, and response to the medication.

If necessary, your healthcare provider may adjust the dosage of Paroxetine and monitor your response. However, when used with precautions, Paroxetine is generally a safe and effective medication with no significant effects on the heart.

Paroxetine is comparatively safe in overdose. If you accidentally consume 20mg tablet twice, you may not experience life-threatening effects. But you should always take your medicine with caution (5). 


In my opinion, Paxil when prescribed in therapeutic doses, does not have a significant effect on heart rate. However, if you experience an increased heart rate with Paxil, which is rare, please reach out to your healthcare provider. Generally, Paxil is a safe and effective treatment compared to other antidepressants. 

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Edwards JG, Goldie A, Papayanni-Papasthatis S. Effect of paroxetine on the electrocardiogram. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1989;97(1):96-8. doi: 10.1007/BF00443420. PMID: 2523548. Available from:


Tucker P, Adamson P, Miranda R Jr, Scarborough A, Williams D, Groff J, McLean H. Paroxetine increases heart rate variability in panic disorder. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1997 Oct;17(5):370-6. doi: 10.1097/00004714-199710000-00006. PMID: 9315988. Available from:


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