Paxil is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medication. It is FDA-approved to treat anxiety disorder, however, a doctor may occasionally prescribe it off-label to treat depression, panic disorder, OCD, PTSD as well as premenstrual syndrome among others.

Like other medications, Paxil for anxiety may have interactions with certain medications, herbs, and supplements, and cause side effects.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Paxil for Anxiety?

The most common Paxil for anxiety side effects include:

  • sweating;
  • nausea;
  • dry mouth;
  • dizziness;
  • impotence;
  • constipation

Beyond that, this selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant has the following black box warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

Antidepressant Paxil is an SSRI medication that has the potential for increased suicidal ideation, attempts as well as behaviors in adults and children. When prescribed to treat anxiety and other mental health conditions, a doctor must assess all the risks and monitor patients for worsening of suicidal ideation. 

Paxil is not recommended for use in pregnant women, as it has the potential to cause abnormalities and malformations in the fetus. Other modalities are available to treat anxiety while pregnant. 

Anxiety medication Paxil is contraindicated for use in pediatrics, as it may increase suicidal ideation or behavior. Other modalities are available to treat anxiety for this age category.

Paxil is most likely to cause drowsiness and/or impair the patient’s driving ability. It is not recommended to take this antidepressant while driving or operating heavy machinery until you know how it affects your system.

It is contraindicated to take this medication together with alcohol, as it may cause severe side effects including extreme sedation, impaired thinking, or lead to overdose. Paxil and alcohol in large doses may be deadly.

The full list of side effects and their severity depends on the individual patient’s medical history and treatment regimen. Inform your doctor if you experience any changes, and ailments when taking this antidepressant.

Paxil for Anxiety — Possible Interactions

Paxil may interact with certain medications, health supplements as well as herbs

The most common Paxil interactions include:

  • Tryptophan;
  • MAOIs;
  • Pimozide;
  • Serotonergic medications;
  • Thioridazine;
  • Warfarin;
  • Triptans;
  • Cimetidine;
  • Phenobarbital;
  • Phenytoin;
  • CYP2D, CYP3A4 metabolized medications;
  • Tricyclic antidepressants;
  • Beta-blockers;
  • Diazepam.

These medications may alter the efficacy of Paxil, or lead to severe side effects. Beyond that, Paxil may slow down the elimination of other medications from the system and cause intoxication.

This antidepressant should not be taken alongside MAOIs, as it may lead to dangerous side effects. Before starting the treatment with this antidepressant, MAOIs should not be taken for at least 2 weeks. Ask your doctor how to gradually start the treatment with Paxil.

Paxil may interfere with certain laboratory tests including a brain scan

Overdose incidents have been reported when taking Paxil and alcohol together in large doses. If you believe you overdosed, seek emergency help immediately (call 911).

Disclose your full list of medications, herbs, and health supplements to the doctor prior to starting the treatment with Paxil for anxiety.