Does Paxil cause brain damage? (3+ findings)

This article will cover a number of topics, including whether or not Paxil causes brain damage, research on Paxil’s effects on the brain, warning signs of declining brain function while taking Paxil, and what to do if you experience neurological side effects while taking Paxil.

Does Paxil cause brain damage?

No, Paxil does not cause brain damage. However, long-term use of Paxil may result in certain side effects that could impair your cognitive abilities. 

Paxil is the brand name of the medication paroxetine, which belongs to the class of antidepressant medications known as the SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). Paxil only affects the neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin by enhancing their levels; it does not directly affect the brain’s tissues. (1)

Though there are several negative effects associated with Paxil, brain damage is not one of these side effects. However, there is some research that suggests that Paxil might have some disruptive effects on the synaptic pruning of the brain connections. (2)

How does Paxil cause brain damage?

Paxil’s mechanism of action, which raises serotonin levels, can have an impact on brain function related to cognition, particularly when taken in large doses. Serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition can result from taking excessive dosages of Paxil.

Seizures, prolonged disorientation, tremors, and excessive cell activity that may cause brain damage are all possible outcomes of the serotonin syndrome. (1)

What does research suggest?

A research study discovered that paroxetine (Paxil) disrupted the brain’s process of synaptic pruning in certain cancer patients, which involves removing unnecessary synapses and neurons. This may lead to a reduction in the neuronal transmission efficiency inside the brain.

This was conjecture, though, and further information and testing are required for this study to substantiate the findings. (2)

According to a different study, paroxetine exposure, particularly in newborns can alter the structure of the brain and result in craniosynostosis, a birth condition when the bones of an infant’s skull fuse together too soon. Additional characteristics include elevated ICP (intracranial pressure), delayed growth, or mental impairment brought on by the growing brain’s constriction. (2)

If you experience any brain damage symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Your healthcare provider will assess your situation properly and take the best course of action accordingly.

What are the signs of declining brain function while taking Paxil?

The signs of declined brain function while taking Paxil may include: (3)

Motor impairment and cognitive disorders

Motor impairment such as tremors, paralysis, coordination, and balance problems and cognitive disorders such as memory loss, concentration issues, and trouble-solving problems can all result from brain damage.

Other signs of declined brain function include:

  • Alterations in sleep habits, like excessive drowsiness or insomnia.
  • Blurred vision or any vision changes.
  • Concentration and focus problems.
  • Irritability or mood changes.

It’s crucial to remember that Paxil may not be the cause of these warning signs and symptoms. However, if you are new to the medication and experience any of these side effects, consult your healthcare provider in order to ascertain the cause of these signs and take the best course of action accordingly.

Is the brain damage caused by Praxil reversible?

Certain data indicate that the possible harm to the brain resulting from Paxil may be reversed, particularly with suitable intervention. 

According to research, Paxil alters the neurotransmitter levels and brain function. However, these changes are reversible once the medication is discontinued. It is imperative to acknowledge that the impact of Paxil on the brain is subject to individual variation and the duration of treatment. (2)

Other research studies suggest that Paxil may result in more profound and permanent alterations in the brain when taken by teenagers or young adults. (2)

It is essential to discuss any concerns you may have concerning Paxil-related brain damage with your healthcare provider to properly assess your situation and determine the best course of action.

What to do if you experience neurological symptoms while taking Paxil?

If you experience neurological or cognitive adverse effects such as concentration problems or motor impairment, consult your healthcare provider immediately. They might reduce your medication dose or choose an alternative that best suits your case.

Because everyone responds to drugs differently, some individuals may not get along with Paxil and may need to discontinue the drug. However, you must not alter your medication without consulting your healthcare provider.

Paxil is an SSRI antidepressant and is relatively safe and has few adverse effects such as dizziness, fatigue, nausea, headaches, and insomnia. To reduce the possibility of experiencing these adverse effects, it is crucial to know how to use Paxil correctly. Paxil is recommended to be taken in the morning with food to avoid gastrointestinal side effects. (4), (5)

You must never discontinue taking Paxil abruptly as this may result in withdrawal symptoms. Before discontinuing the medication, it is imperative to speak with your healthcare provider to gradually reduce your dose and avoid withdrawal symptoms.


Based on my knowledge and research, Paxil does not cause brain damage. However, it may impair your cognitive abilities if used for long periods of time and in high doses. If you experience any adverse effects related to your cognition, consult your healthcare provider about reducing your dose or switching to an alternative with fewer adverse effects.






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Shrestha P, Abdijadid S. Paroxetine [Internet]. PubMed. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020. Available from:


Nevels RM, Gontkovsky ST, Williams BE. Paroxetine-The Antidepressant from Hell? Probably Not, But Caution Required. Psychopharmacology bulletin [Internet]. 2016 [cited 2023 Nov 13];46(1):77–104. Available from:,even%20tri%2Dnucleotide%20repeat%20polymorphisms%20(


Mayo Clinic. Mild cognitive impairment – Symptoms and causes [Internet]. Mayo Clinic. 2018. Available from:


Side effects of paroxetine [Internet]. 2022. Available from:


How and when to take paroxetine [Internet]. 2022. Available from:

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