What to expect on the first day of taking Paxil? 

What to expect on the first day of taking Paxil? 

There’s not much to expect when you take your first-ever Paxil dose. Antidepressants, including Paxil, are not fast-acting medications and they don’t really make you feel better the first day you take them or even the first week. 

This is because antidepressants take at least 4-6 weeks to kick in and counteract symptoms associated with depression. On the other hand, these medications can begin to cause side effects way earlier than the beneficial effects. 

So, you may feel nauseous, tired, or sleepy when you take Paxil for the very first time, but you’re not likely to feel any reduction in your depression or anxiety. 

Side effects of Paxil and other antidepressants usually begin to fade away as your body adjusts to the medication. Make sure you keep taking it as your doctor has directed. 

Why does Paxil take time to work? 

Paxil takes time to work because of its mechanism of action. Paxil is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which inhibits the reuptake of serotonin – an excitatory neurotransmitter – and increases its availability to bind to its respective receptors (1). 

Your body takes time to adjust to these changes and these excitatory chemicals need time to make a noticeable difference in your condition. Depression doesn’t progress overnight and we can’t expect an antidepressant to cure you in one night either. 

Some people can take up to 8-12 weeks to see a proper change in their symptoms. Make sure you take your antidepressant properly. If you’re concerned about any of the side effects, talk to your healthcare provider. 

What if Paxil does not work as well as it should?

Talk to your doctor if you do not observe any sort of improvement while taking Paxil once it kicks in. Although it is a good and well-tolerated antidepressant, Paxil may not work well for everyone. 

If it doesn’t make you feel less depressed or continues to cause a lot of side effects, it might not be the best antidepressant for you. In that case, there are plenty of other antidepressants that can replace Paxil. 

Your doctor will likely taper you off Paxil safely and gradually and will switch you to another appropriate antidepressant. If you have only taken Paxil once and it triggers an allergic reaction, your doctor will put you off this antidepressant right away.

Paxil can be switched to another SSRI, like Zoloft, Prozac, etc or to a different class of antidepressant if it is not the right choice of medication for you. Paxil can also be switched to different antidepressants, like Trintellix, Viibryd, Effexor, etc.

Make sure you report to your doctor if you have any concerns. It is not recommended to stop taking Paxil abruptly or without consulting your doctor first. 

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National Health Services (NHS). Paroxetine: a medicine to treat depression [Internet]. NHS; [updated 2021 Feb 26; cited 2023 Feb 20]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/paroxetine/.

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