Does Paxil stunt growth? (3 studies)

In this article, we will explore whether Paxil stunts growth. Furthermore, we will also discuss what studies suggest about Paxil’s effects on growth, the correlation between use duration and growth issues, susceptible individuals, and the management of growth effects with Paxil. 

Does Paxil stunt growth?

Paxil may stunt growth, but it is not a common side effect. Paxil, also known as Paroxetine, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant approved by the FDA to treat major depressive disorder (MDD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), panic disorder, and other related mental health disorders. 

Paxil works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin in brain cells, a neurotransmitter that regulates sleep, mood, appetite, and the body’s stress response (1). Some psychotropic drugs, such as SSRIs, may cause suppressed growth in susceptible individuals. 

Do not take any antidepressants on your own; always consult your healthcare provider. They may evaluate your current symptoms, underlying medical condition, and family history before prescribing Paxil. 

What do studies say about Paxil’s potential effects on growth?

Limited research data exist regarding the effects of Paxil on growth. However, some research studies have shown that SSRIs may affect the growth of individuals, especially during puberty. When SSRIs are used in adolescence, they can impact the height of individuals.

SSRIs may affect the release of growth hormones and mainly affect boys during puberty. The study suggested that the effect on growth hormone may also lead to other problems, such as increased fat levels, psychological issues, and an increased risk of depression (2).

The effects of SSRIs on newborns’s growth were also studied during a clinical trial, suggesting that SSRIs do not cause growth effects when used during pregnancy and in the first year after birth. However, this study has its limitations (3).  

Is there a correlation between Paxil use duration and growth issues?

Another research study found a correlation between Paxil use duration and growth issues. SSRIs can affect the growth and puberty of children. Those administered SSRIs for up to 5 years did not grow as expected during a stage where a growth spurt was expected. 

This stunted growth was due to the effect of SSRIs on the release of growth hormones, and it returned to normal when the therapy was discontinued. Therefore, close monitoring is advisable when prescribing Paxil to children and teenagers (4). 

Who is more susceptible to growth issues from Paxil?

Growth issues from the use of Paxil may be more prominent in children and teenagers in the puberty stage. Research studies suggest that the effects of Paxil may be more pronounced in boys as compared to girls (4). 

Individuals taking higher doses of Paxil for extended periods may also be susceptible to the risks associated with growth. Paxil is contraindicated in pregnant women, but Paxil does not have long-term effects on the growth of newborns. However, it may be associated with other birth defects if used during pregnancy (5). 

How to manage Paxil’s effects on growth?

It is important to note that not everyone taking Paxil may experience effects on growth. However, if you do experience any such effects or other adverse reactions while taking Paxil, please inform your healthcare provider. 

They may evaluate your current symptoms, other underlying health problems, and response to the medication. If Paxil is causing significant effects on growth, your doctor may adjust the dose and monitor your response. 

What are the alternatives to Paxil if it affects your growth?

If the effects on growth while taking Paxil persist, your doctor may recommend an alternative antidepressant such as Celexa, that is more appropriate for you and does not affect growth. Regular follow-ups are advisable while taking antidepressants like Paxil. 


According to my research analysis, Paxil has a potential link to growth issues when used for anxiety and depression. Children and teenagers are more susceptible to experiencing growth effects while taking Paxil. Regular monitoring is advisable when Paxil is recommended to young patients. 

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