Medications belonging to the category of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are used for treating various conditions, including depression and anxiety related disorders. Additionally, conditions such as obsessive disorder, panic disorder, or social phobia are also treated with the medication. Women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder or experiencing hot flashes as a result of menopause are also at times prescribed Paxil, one among the popular SSRIs. All medications are known to result in possible undesirable side effects and Paxil is not an exception. Let us take a good look at the side effects of paxil and the best ways to mitigate the condition.
Overview of paxil and side effects of paxil
Before we look at the side effects of paxil it is necessary to get a deeper understanding of the medication. The mechanism of action of all selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are attributed to causing an increase in serotonin activity. By inhibiting certain processes, the medication brings about an increase in serotonin levels and activity int eh brain. This helps to relieve certain symptoms that are commonly associated with the conditions mentioned above. Available as tablets, capsules, extended-release tablets and oral suspensions, Paxil is an FDA approved drug, in use for more than three decades. Its success is primarily because of the highly selective nature of inhibition, thereby offering high potency. While it is regarded as relatively safe for most patients, it is known to have mild withdrawal symptoms because of its effectiveness.
Ideal dosage of the medication
Some of the side effects of paxil are often attributed to taking more than prescribed dosage. It is necessary to understand the right dosage limits for different conditions and this will be an effective method to reduce the side effects. For instance, women experiencing menopause, and symptoms such as hot flashes are recommended an average dose of around 7.5 mg per day, during the night.
Individuals experiencing depression, are recommended oral suspensions as the preferred form of the medication. The ideal average dose is around 10 mL (millileters) every day for adults, consumed in the mornings. The average dose may differ from person to person depending on various parameters including the intensity of the condition. However, this is not to exceed a maximum of 25 mL per day. In the case of elderly patients, the average dosage begins at 10mL but the upper limit is reduced to a maximum of 20mL per day. For children with the condition, the dose is determined by the severity of the condition, age and other factors as diagnosed by the treating specialist.
To avoid side effects of paxil, the ideal average dosage for patients with generalized anxiety disorder are as explained. Adults are advised oral suspensions beginning with a dose of 10 mL per day, consumed in the mornings. Depending on the condition, the dose may be increased, subject to a maximum of 25 mL per day. In the case of elderly patients, the maximum dosage per day is not to exceed 20 mL per day. The dosage of children with the condition will be determined by the treating specialist, as per various parameters, including age and intensity of the condition.
The recommended average dosage for patients with obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, posttraumatic disorder, and social anxiety disorder are the same as above conditions. To avoid possible side effects of paxil, the average dosage recommended for depression is 20 mg daily for adults, with the upper limits at 50 mg per day. In the case of adults with the condition, the maximum dosage is not to exceed 40 mg per day. Children with the condition are prescribed dosages as per various parameters, including age and intensity of the condition. Similarly, the recommended dosage for patients with generalized anxiety disorder is 20 mg per day, with the maximum dosage not to exceed 40 mg per day.
The recommended dosage for patients with obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder is the same as the above condition. There are recommended doses for other conditions that are treated by the medication and patients are advised to strictly follow prescribed doses to prevent possible side effects of paxil.
Caution to be exercised when taking the medication in the following conditions
Individuals are advised to take certain precautions when taking the medication in certain conditions. For instance, patients on the medication are expected to take blood tests to ensure that undesirable side effects are not manifesting in the body. Women who are pregnant are advised to avoid the medication, and take it only if specially prescribed by the doctor after a proper diagnosis. To prevent the side effects of paxil, it is important to avoid the medication when MAO inhibitors are being taken as part of treatment. There should be a clear gap of 2 weeks between both the medications to ensure that there are no adverse effects.
Some of the commonly reported side effects experienced by patients who take both SSRIs and MAOs include confusion, and agitated feelings. Additionally, individuals may experience restlessness, or end up with stomach/intestinal complications and a rise in body temperature that is not attributed to other reasons. In certain instances, individuals are known to have high blood pressure, while in some cases, patients have experienced convulsions. Patients with Tourette’s disorder are prescribed Pimozide and this drug is known to interact with Paxil. Patients are advised to not take both the medications together as there is a possibility of experiencing adverse effects that impact the heart.
Serotonin syndrome is one among the common side effects of paxil as it belongs to the category of SSRIs. Tis condition refers to the possibility of an increase in serotonin levels beyond a particular desired level. This condition is likely to occur when patients take Paxil along with other medications. For instance, certain medications contain Paxil as part of combination formulations, and when both are taken together, there is a possibility of a sudden spike in serotonin levels resulting in serotonin syndrome.
Possible side effects of paxil
Among the possible side effects of paxil, a few are considered as serious in nature, while most of the side effects are either trivial or temporary. The impact of paxil on sperm count is a possibility, and this could result in the ability of males to have offspring. Individuals planning to raise a family are advised to seek medical opinion on the duration and dosage before taking the medication. Youngsters on the mediation are likely to exhibit, slightly altered conduct. For instance, there could be a visible change in behavior, such as a tendency to get irritated fast, or signs of agitation. There are instances of a limited number of individuals harboring suicidal tendencies when on the medication. Similarly, depression, and difficulty in falling asleep are other manifestations of the condition. Individuals witnessing any change in the behavior of patients on the medication are advised to seek medical intervention at the earlies. This is essential to prevent the conditions from manifesting into serious side effects or behavior.
Another precaution that is necessary to prevent possible side effects of Paxil is the need to not abruptly stop the medication. Paxil dosage needs to be gradually reduced before it is stopped fully. This is important to prevent withdrawal symptoms. As mentioned above, the drug has good potency in treating various conditions and when it is abruptly stopped, it could result in withdrawal symptoms. Commonly reported withdrawal symptoms include a light headed feeling, difficulty while breathing, an agitated temperament, diarrhea, sudden increase in heartbeat rate, and pain in the muscle. Other symptoms include nausea, changes in vision, abnormal sweating, and trembling not attributed to any other reason.
Indications of onset of possible side effects of paxil
Patients experiencing certain side effects are expected to seek medical intervention at the earliest. For instance, difficulty in sitting, or a tendency to move restlessly during the first two weeks of taking the medication are all indications of possible onset of side effects of paxil. Similarly, patients experiencing any difficulty in concentrating on a task, or suffering from headaches that are not attributed to any other reason, need medical attention. This could be the result of a reduction in sodium levels in the body. Medically known as hyponatremia, this condition could result in other problems including loss of memory, overall weakness, confusion and unstable walk.
Avoid alcohol and use of NSAIDs to prevent drug interactions
Other side effects of paxil include interactions with NSAIDs and alcohol. In addition to the possible interactions with prescription medication, there is also the possibility of the medication resulting in undesirable side effects when taken with OTC medications. For instance, certain NSAIDs that are commonly available as over the counter medication are known to interact with the drug. Similarly, blood thinner medications are also known to interact with Paxil. It is therefore necessary seek medical advice before taking the medication when other treatments are ongoing. Alcohol consumption when on the medication can result in adverse side effects. It is therefore necessary to stay off the bottle when on the drug.
Other precautions that need to be borne in mind is the high risk of fracturing the bones. Indications of possible fractures include a sudden tenderness in the joints, or abnormal pain, or inflammation that is not attributed to any bruising. It is essential to take precautions to prevent fractures when on the medication and to follow suitable measures to strengthen the bones. The possibility of allergies is also high with the medication, and it is necessary to intimate the treating specialist about any pre-existing allergies.