Does Paxil helps premenstrual dysphoric disorder? (3+ risks)

In this article, we will discuss whether Paxil helps with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). We’ll look at what the research says and the potential side effects and risks associated with it. Join us to understand more about this common concern for those using Paxil on their mental health journey.

Does Paxil helps premenstrual dysphoric disorder?

Yes, Paxil is known to be effective in treating Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and the proper dosage, as individual responses to medication can vary.

How does Paxil helps Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder?

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a condition that affects women before their menstrual period. It goes beyond your typical premenstrual symptoms and can cause severe mood swings, irritability, and physical discomfort. In more severe cases, PMDD can significantly impact a person’s daily functioning and quality of life.

Paxil (Paroxetine) is part of the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) along with Citalopram and Sertraline. These medications work by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in mood regulation. By enhancing serotonin levels, SSRIs like Paxil help reduce the emotional symptoms associated with PMDD.

It’s important to note that while Paxil and other SSRIs can be effective in managing PMDD, individual responses to medication vary. Some individuals may experience relief from symptoms, while others may not respond as well or may encounter side effects. Therefore, working closely with your healthcare professional is crucial to finding the most suitable treatment plan.

What does research suggest?

Research consistently proves the effectiveness of Paxil in treating Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). In a randomized, double-blind trial, Paxil demonstrated a significant reduction in both emotional and physical symptoms associated with PMDD. Users of Paxil reported significant reductions in physical discomfort and evident mood improvements.

In a placebo-controlled trial, the comparison between Paxil and a placebo consistently shows that Paxil works better at reducing PMDD symptoms like irritability, mood swings, and general distress. This proves that Paxil is a safe and successful treatment for PMDD. (1)

Another study investigates the effectiveness of Paroxetine in treating (PMDD) in oriental women. The study compares continuous and intermittent Paroxetine treatment over six months. The study involves 36 subjects who were initially drug-free for two cycles, followed by two cycles of daily Paroxetine. Both treatment protocols show significant improvements in PMDD symptoms, with response rates ranging from 50% to 78.6% in the continuous-treatment group and 37.5% to 93.8% in the intermittent-treatment group.

The results showed that both ways of taking paroxetine led to significant improvements in PMDD symptoms, like mood changes and physical discomfort. The women in both groups experienced positive effects that lasted for six consecutive menstrual cycles. (2)

Despite these positive findings, it’s important to acknowledge the potential for individual differences in Paxil responses.

What risks come with using Paxil for PMDD?

Common side effects

Like many medications, Paxil can cause common side effects such as nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, and insomnia. These effects are usually temporary and may lessen as the body adjusts to the medication.

Withdrawal symptoms

Paxil, being an SSRI, can, in rare cases, lead to serious conditions. Abruptly stopping Paxil can result in withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, nausea, dizziness, and vivid dreams and, in extreme cases, may contribute to serotonin syndrome, a potentially serious condition characterized by symptoms such as confusion, hallucinations, rapid heartbeat, and severe nausea.

Sexual side effects and other considerations

SSRIs like Paxil can lead to sexual side effects, including reduced libido and difficulty achieving climax. Pregnant or breastfeeding individuals should consult their healthcare provider about the potential risks and benefits, as SSRIs, including Paxil, have associated pregnancy risks. Moreover, caution is advised regarding an increased risk of bleeding, especially when combined with specific medications or conditions affecting blood clotting, particularly for those on blood-thinning medications.

Are there alternatives to Paxil to treat PMDD?

There are alternative treatments for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) besides Paxil. Some commonly prescribed alternatives include:

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): Other SSRIs like Prozac (Fluoxetine) or Zoloft (Sertraline) may be prescribed, as they also work to balance serotonin levels and alleviate PMDD symptoms.

Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs): Medications such as Effexor (Venlafaxine) can be considered. SNRIs affect both serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain.

Birth Control Pills: Oral contraceptives are sometimes recommended to regulate hormonal fluctuations and reduce PMDD symptoms.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This form of psychotherapy can be effective in helping individuals cope with the emotional aspects of PMDD.

Lifestyle Changes: Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and stress management techniques, can also contribute to managing PMDD symptoms.


I conclude that using Paxil to address Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) can prove beneficial, but it needs careful evaluation of both benefits and risks.

I believe individuals considering Paxil for PMDD should have an open and honest discussion with their healthcare provider. This involves disclosing existing medical conditions, medications, and concerns in order to fully understand the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Regular check-ins with a healthcare professional are important to monitor the medication’s effectiveness and manage any emerging issues.

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Pearlstein TB, Bellew KM, Endicott J, Steiner M. Paroxetine Controlled Release for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: Remission Analysis Following a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2005;7(2):53-60. doi: 10.4088/pcc.v07n0203. PMID: 15841196; PMCID: PMC1079696.


Wu KY, Liu CY, Hsiao MC. Six-month paroxetine treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder: continuous versus intermittent treatment protocols. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2008 Feb;62(1):109-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1819.2007.01785.x. PMID: 18289149.

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