What does Paroxetine do for PTSD? (+3 tips)

In this article, we will discuss the therapeutic benefits of Paroxetine for the management and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We will also discuss how this medication can help such patients and how to ensure the safe and effective use of Paroxetine in PTSD.

What does Paroxetine do for PTSD?

Paroxetine helps to treat and manage post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD  by reducing anxiety, stabilizing mood and decreasing thoughts associated with traumatic events. Hence, improving the overall quality of life of individuals.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition having symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety.

How does Paroxetine work in treating PTSD?

Paroxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin by brain cells, thereby increasing its concentration in the brain. This helps in alleviating symptoms associated with anxiety and other mood disorders (1).

In PTSD there is an imbalance of serotonin levels in the brain which leads to symptoms of depression and anxiety. Paroxetine restores the balance of serotonin levels which helps in reducing these symptoms and improves the overall quality of life of individuals.

Paroxetine is approved by the FDA for the treatment of PTSD (2).

What does research suggest? 

Several research studies have justified the use of Paroxetine in people with PTSD. One study indicated that Paroxetine effectively treats short-term PTSD, showing better response. It improves sleep, reduces PTSD symptoms, and decreases associated disabilities in both male and female patients, even with other conditions like depression (3). 

The study indicated that out of 1350 individuals, 67% showed a positive response toward the medication with only 16% indicating the initial side effects, especially nausea (3).

Another study also justified the use of Paroxetine as a stable drug in treating the symptoms of PTSD (4).

The study indicated that PTSD symptoms among individuals dropped from 100% to 64% with a maximum dosage of 40mg. Mild side effects were reported in 16.7% of individuals which improved with time (4).

What factors to consider before starting Paroxetine for PTSD treatment?

Before starting Paroxetine for treating PTSD, it is important to consider certain factors to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the medication.

Consulting a healthcare provider

Always consider your healthcare provider before taking any medication for PTSD. They will assess your current situation and determine whether Paroxetine is suitable for you or not.

Current medications

Always inform your doctor about all the medications and supplements you are taking to make sure there are no interactions.

Underlying medical condition

Certain medical conditions can affect your response to Paroxetine, such as liver disease or kidney disease. Openly communicate with your doctor about your current medical condition as it can affect your treatment with Paroxetine.

Alcohol consumption

Avoid or limit your alcohol and caffeine consumption as this may influence your PTSD treatment with Paroxetine.

Is Paroxetine the right choice for everyone with PTSD?

Paroxetine may not be the right choice for everyone with PTSD. The right medication should only be selected by your healthcare provider. Choosing the right medication for PTSD is not easy. Each person’s journey with PTSD is different and affected by certain factors that impact their health.

Always remember individual responses to medications vary. Paroxetine can be the right choice for individuals who respond well to it and tolerate it without significant side effects.

This is why it is important to follow your doctor’s prescription to achieve a safe and effective therapeutic response.

Paroxetine can be taken in the morning or at night, with or without food but under the direct supervision of a healthcare professional. 

What to do if Paroxetine does not work for PTSD?

If the patient is not responding properly to the treatment with Paroxetine, your healthcare provider consider dosage adjustment by increasing the dose every week. However, the maximum dose should be 50mg per day.

Paroxetine is safer for older adults, but your healthcare professional may start with a lower dose to avoid potential side effects.

The dose of Paroxetine depends on the condition and other health problems of a patient. It may vary among individuals. If at higher doses PTSD symptoms are not reducing, your doctor may gradually discontinue the medication or switch to another antidepressant.

How to properly take Paroxetine for maximum effectiveness?

Here are some important points to be kept in mind when taking Paroxetine:

  • Always follow the dosage instructions as provided by your doctor.
  • It is recommended to take Paroxetine at the same time every day to maintain consistent levels of Paroxetine in your body.
  • Do not expect much when you take your first Paroxetine dose. It may take several weeks for Paroxetine to start showing its full effects.
  • Do not stop taking the medication without consulting your doctor. Suddenly stopping the medication can cause horrible withdrawal symptoms (5).
  • If you miss a dose take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is close to the time of your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol and caffeine while taking Paroxetine, as it increases the risk of side effects.


In my view, Paroxetine has shown promising results in the treatment of PTSD. However, it is important to note that Paroxetine may not be suitable for everyone and should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.


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