Does Paxil work for binge eating? (+3 concerns)

In this article, we will discuss whether or not Paxil is effective for treating binge eating, what causes binge eating disorder, clinical studies on Paxil’s effectiveness in treating binge eating, concerns and potential side effects of Paxil, and treatment options for binge eating.

Does Paxil work for binge eating?

Paxil may help treat the symptoms of BED (Binge Eating Disorder) in some individuals. However, Paxil is not FDA-approved for treating BED.

BED is when you frequently eat a large amount of food quickly till you feel extremely full. Our emotional state has an impact on the quantity of food that we eat. If bingeing or overeating becomes uncontrollable and results in body weight gain, depression may ensue. (1)

Paxil is an antidepressant that belongs to the SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) medication class. Because binge eating and depression are sometimes linked, Paxil can help treat depression, which can lead to improvements in your binge eating. (2)

What does research suggest?

Research suggests that paroxetine (Paxil), in addition to other SSRIs like fluoxetine and citalopram can be used to treat depression, improve your mood, and manage episodes of BED.

A study about the use of psychotropic medications in the treatment of eating disorders was published in the Journal of Eating Disorders. It has been discovered that SSRI antidepressants including fluoxetine, sertraline, and paroxetine are useful in treating BED episodes in addition to depression. (3)

Nonetheless, there is conflicting evidence on Paxil’s effectiveness in treating BED. Consult your healthcare provider or psychiatrist about the possible dangers and benefits of using Paxil to treat BED.

What are the side effects of using Paxil to treat BED?

Paxil may cause a number of side effects when used to treat BED, including (4)

Common side effects

  • Fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • Insomnia (inability to sleep).
  • Nausea.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Unusual dreams.

Serious or life-threatening adverse effects

  • Sudden unexplained weight changes (weight gain or loss).
  • Prolonged confusion and muscle spasms.
  • Blurred vision or any vision changes.
  • Bleeding from any bodily part openings such as blood in the urine, blood in the feces, coughing up blood, bleeding from your gums, or any bleeding variations during the menstrual cycle.
  • Restlessness.

If you experience any of these adverse events, seek medical attention immediately. These are rare but life-threatening adverse effects of Paxil.

What therapies are approved for the treatment of BED?

The FDA-approved treatment options for treating BED include:

Psychotherapy such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy): This is a talk therapy that involves talking to a therapist. He/she will assist you in exploring thought, emotion, and behavior patterns that may be fueling your eating disorder. (5)

Medications: Vyvnase is FDA-approved for treating BED in adults. It is believed to restrain the impulsive behavior that might result in binge eating. Patients who were treated with Vyvnase experienced fewer binge eating episodes. (6)

Your healthcare provider might prescribe antidepressants such as SSRIs, tricyclic antidepressants, and anti-convulsants such as topiramate. These medications are not FDA-approved for treating BED. However, they can help in reducing binge eating episodes.

Nutrition: Consult your dietitian or nutritionist about creating a healthy eating schedule and altering your eating behavior. This can help in treating BED and reduce binge eating episodes.

Lifestyle modifications: Changing your lifestyle habits, such as exercising more, healthy sleeping, and controlling stress can help lessen the symptoms of BED.


Based on my knowledge and research, Paxil may help treat the symptoms of BED. However, Paxil is not FDA-approved for this purpose. Your healthcare provider might prescribe other treatment options for treating BED such as Vyvnase and psychotherapy. Consult your psychiatrist about taking Paxil if your BED is related to depression.



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Overview – Binge eating disorder [Internet]. 2021. Available from:


NHS. About paroxetine [Internet]. 2022. Available from:


Moore JK, Watson HJ, Harper E, McCormack J, Nguyen T. Psychotropic drug prescribing in an Australian specialist child and adolescent eating disorder service: a retrospective study. Journal of Eating Disorders. 2013;1(1):27. Available from:


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


Camille Noe Pagán. Medications to Treat Binge Eating Disorder [Internet]. WebMD. WebMD; 2015. Available from:

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