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Paroxetine (Paxil) for Anxiety: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects

Paroxetine for anxiety

Paroxetine (Paxil) for Anxiety: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects

Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology

Umar Javed



The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs.

Paxil, the Paroxetine brand name, is a prescription drug in the class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) used to treat anxiety and other psychiatric conditions. The drug works by modulating the level of serotonin hormone in circulation, thereby reversing symptoms caused by low serotonin levels.

In this article, let’s learn more about treating anxiety with Paxil, its dosages for this condition, how long it takes to notice the effect, and other factors.

Contact MEDvidi to get a prescription for anti anxiety medication online.


Doctors prescribe Paxil for treating several psychiatric disorders, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic attacks
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

These conditions usually result from an imbalance of the natural substance known as serotonin in the brain. Taking this medication restores the balance in serotonin levels, leading to improved mood, appetite, interest in daily activities, and sleep.

For subjects diagnosed with OCD, Paroxetine reduces the constant urge to perform particular tasks repeatedly. For example, individuals suffering from the obsessive-compulsive disorder may have increased tendencies such as handwashing, house cleaning, or repeated checking. As a result, this condition often interferes with normal functioning. Generally, high doses of SSRI agents [1*] like Paroxetine and Sertraline are used to minimize such compulsions [2*] .

Paroxetine for Anxiety

When your doctor prescribes Paroxetine for anxiety, it reduces the feelings of fear, or impending doom, unwanted thoughts, and physical symptoms like trembling. The drug treats various anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder [3*] , social anxiety, and panic disorder.

Paroxetine Dosage for Anxiety

For adult usage, Paxil is available as immediate-release tablets [4*] , controlled-release tablets [5*] (Paxil CR), and suspension. The Paroxetine tablets can be 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, or 40 mg. Paxil CR is available in 12.5 mg, 25 mg, and 37.5 mg doses.

The Paroxetine dosage for anxiety varies depending on the type of disease, comorbidities, patient age, and the drug formulation available. When treating social anxiety disorder (social phobia), your doctor will usually prescribe Paroxetine 20 mg, which you take once daily as the initial dose. After that, the dose is adjusted according to treatment response with a maintenance dose of 20-60 mg daily. The dosage is lower for panic disorder, with Paroxetine 10 mg as the start dose.

The dosage of medications is chosen individually, according to the diagnosis, symptoms, health history, and other factors.

How Long Does Paroxetine Take to Work for Anxiety?

Unlike other medications that might offer immediate relief, Paroxetine and other SSRIs do not work immediately for anxiety. It takes up to a week or two for the effects after treatment initiation for the desired effects of Paroxetine to start occurring.

On average, the full effects of Paroxetine for anxiety occur in the 4-6th week [6*] of treatment. Therefore, if you take medicine for the first weeks without noticing any change, do not assume it is not working and do not stop taking it.

Paroxetine dosage for anxiety

How to Use Oral Paroxetine for Anxiety

For optimum outcome, take Paroxetine at the same time each day. You can take Paroxetine tablets by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor. Taking the drug with food makes you comfortable since it curbs issues such as nausea.

What is good about Paroxetine is that it is once-daily dosing. So if you feel drowsy or sleepy during the day when using the drug, you can talk to your doctor about taking it at night.

Your doctor can start you at a lower dose to reduce the risk of side effects and raise the dose gradually. Do not take a higher dose than prescribed, even if you feel your condition is not improving fast enough.

Paroxetine Side Effects

While the side effects [7*] of Paroxetine might vary from one person to another, you are more likely to experience nausea, appetite changes, weakness, dry mouth, drowsiness, and trouble sleeping since these issues are the most prevalent. The side effects are usually mild and short-lasting, but you should notify your doctor promptly when they worsen or persist. Other Paroxetine side effects include blurring vision, increased sweating, and yawning.

As standard practice, your doctor prescribes this medicine, having evaluated that the benefits would be greater than the possible adverse effects; therefore, you should not shy from taking the drug. Rarely do people using Paroxetine develop serious side effects warranting discontinuation of use.

However, if you notice any of the following signs and symptoms when taking Paroxetine, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Consult with a doctor if you experience any side effects to adjust your treatment plan.

Serious Paroxetine Side Effects

  • Tremors or shaking
  • Decreased libido
  • Sensory abnormalities; tingling sensations or numbness
  • Muscle weakness and spasms
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Restlessness
  • Seizures

Coffee-ground vomitus with black stools, halos around light bulbs, pupil widening, and eye pain represent severe side effects requiring immediate medical intervention.


If you are allergic to Paroxetine or have other allergies, you should inform your doctor before taking the medication. The medicine might also react with other drugs, so remember to talk to your pharmacist for clarification.

You should give the doctor your complete medical history, including personal or family history of mood disorders, suicidal ideations, and peptic ulcer disease. Be sure to talk about kidney or liver problems, as they are likely to affect how your body clears the drug and its metabolites.

You should not take alcohol or cannabis when using Paroxetine as they can bring about some side effects like dizziness and drowsiness. If you are using cannabis products already, you should let your doctor know before starting to take Paroxetine for anxiety.

Moreover, avoid working with heavy machinery that requires high-level concentration if you experience dizziness when taking this medicine.

Lastly, the elderly are more prone to experience Paroxetine side effects like bleeding tendencies, salt imbalance, and loss of coordination than the general population.

In Conclusion

Paroxetine is commonly prescribed for anxiety treatment, but its dosage and intake schedule can be adjusted for each patient individually. Contact a prescriber at MEDvidi today if you have the symptoms of any anxiety disorder to receive a personalized treatment plan, know the features and possible side effects of the medication you get prescribed and have your symptoms and progress monitored by a professional.


+7 sources
  1. Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors versus placebo for obsessive compulsive disorder. (2008)
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  2. Acute and long-term treatment and prevention of relapse of obsessive-compulsive disorder with paroxetine. (2003)
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  3. Paroxetine in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder: results of a placebo-controlled, flexible-dosage trial. (2001)
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  4. PAXIL
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  6. Paroxetine: A Review. (2001)
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  7. The safety profile of paroxetine. (1992)
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Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology

Umar Javed


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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

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This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.