What does Paxil feel like? (+5 effects)

In this article, we will discuss how Paxil makes you feel. Paxil is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that is used for obsessive-compulsive disorder, major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder.

What does Paxil feel like?

Paxil makes you feel less depressed and improves your mood. It can be difficult to determine how long Paxil takes to function or whether it works at all. To accurately assess the effectiveness of Paxil for depression, keep track of any changes in your mood before and after taking the medicine. 

After taking Paxil. most people experience a sense of calm or relief from panic attacks and mood swings. On the flip side, you might also experience side effects and worsening of your depression in the first few weeks. If you feel a worsening of your symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately.

What do the side effects of Paxil feel like?

Some common side effects of Paxil can make the patient feel the following symptoms:

  • drowsiness and weakness,
  • insomnia,
  • weight gain, and
  • dry mouth.

How to know that Paxil is working?

Paxil works by assisting in the restoration of serotonin, a natural neurotransmitter present in the brain. The patient will experience the following feelings when Paxil is exerting its appropriate pharmacological effect:

  • improved energy level,
  • improvement in mood,
  • improved appetite,
  • appropriate sleep,
  • interest in day-to-day activities, 
  • decreased anxiety and fear, and
  • reduced urge to perform repetitive tasks.

What to do if Paxil is not working?

If the patient feels that Paxil is not working, then he should consider taking the following steps:

  • Keep taking Paxil: do not discontinue the drug abruptly as it can cause withdrawal symptoms and increase depression.
  • Talk with the doctor: the doctor would first identify the reason. Then he might change the dose, or the antidepressant altogether.
  • Increase the dose: the first intervention of the doctor would be to increase the dose of Paxil. It is recommended to increase the dose by 10 mg/week. The drug will begin its effect within a day or two.
  • Change the drug: if increasing the dose does not improve the symptoms of depression or begins to give side effects, the doctor will select another antidepressant.

What are the Paxil’s first week effects?

Paxil will not immediately relieve the panic disorder symptoms. Improvements are usually noticeable within a few days to weeks of starting the medication. Sometimes it may take many months to experience the full benefits of Paxil (1).

What are the severe side effects of Paxil?

Contact the doctor immediately if the patient experiences one of the following symptoms:

  • rapid heart rate,
  • suicidal thoughts,
  • signs of an allergic reaction like swelling of the throat, mouth, lips, or face,
  • extreme anxiety and tiredness,
  • hyponatremia, and
  • sexual dysfunction (2).

What are the long-term effects of using Paxil?

The long-term effect of Paxil might change the levels of other neurotransmitters in the brain (3). This can lead to:

  • Serotonergic effect: increased serotonin can cause high blood pressure, seizures, tremors, crying spells, apathy, delirium, hallucination and decreased bone density.
  • Anticholinergic effect: the symptoms can include decreased gastric motility, heart intolerance, delirium, and blurred or impaired vision.
  • GABA-ergic effect: the symptoms can include seizure and disorder in muscle movement.
  • Dopaminergic effect: this can cause mania, elevated heart rate, low impulse control, or stroke.
  • Paradoxical effect: this can cause brain zaps, seizures, and panic attacks.

How to avoid the side effects of Paxil?

  • The doctor will begin with a low dose and then increase the dose gradually. It is usually recommended to increase 10 mg/week.
  • The dose should not be increased by the patient without the consultation of a doctor.
  • Do not take Paxil longer than the recommended time.
  • Take the drug regularly and do not skip the dose.
  • Do not discontinue the drug abruptly as it can cause withdrawal symptoms.
  • Do not take other non-prescription or prescription medication without informing the doctor.
  • Avoid concomitant use of drugs that may cause drug-drug interactions like pain relievers, other SSRIs, and warfarin.

What are the patient’s feelings during Paxil withdrawal?

Abruptly discontinuing Paxil can cause severe side effects during which the patient might feel any of the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • tingling feelings in hands and feet,
  • feeling anxious, disoriented and confused,
  • feeling emotional and sick,
  • problem with the eyesight,
  • pounding heartbeat.

Why is Paxil rarely prescribed?

The drug’s label cautions anyone under 24 years old to carefully consider this treatment plan as the side effects can be worse than the clinical need. The FDA has released a black box warning for Paxil regarding suicidal thoughts and behaviour in children and young adults with major depressive disorder.

Paxil has also been linked to major developmental problems in babies born to mothers who use the drug during pregnancy. According to a study, pregnant women who took Paxil had a twofold increased risk of delivering a baby with autism (4).

Paxil should be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding mothers due to an increased risk of cardiovascular abnormalities and miscarriages. It is also prescribed with caution to patients who have impaired renal function.


In this article, I discussed the positive and negative effects of taking Paxil. I would recommend you continue your dose of Paxil even if you do not feel improvement in the first few weeks. It will help your body to adjust to the new serotonin levels. Once your body adjusts to the dose of Paxil, the benefits will outweigh the drawbacks.

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Nevels RM, Gontkovsky ST, Williams BE. Paroxetine—the antidepressant from hell? Probably not, but caution required. Psychopharmacology bulletin. 2016 Mar 3;46(1):77. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5044489/


Zulifqar A, Raja R. Paroxetine induced hyponatremia in a 52 years old male hypertensive patient. https://www.authorea.com/doi/full/10.22541/au.168552260.08653535


Bourin M, Chue P, Guillon Y. Paroxetine: a review. CNS drug reviews. 2001 Mar;7(1):25-47. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1527-3458.2001.tb00189.x


Hviid A, Melbye M, Pasternak B. Use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors during pregnancy and risk of autism. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013 Dec 19;369(25):2406-15. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/Nejmoa1301449

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