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Helena_SAS 02-26-2010 12:49 PM

Paxil (paroxetine) [SSRI]
Paxil is one of the most commonly prescribed medications for Social Anxiety Disorder. It is classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and works in the body by regulating the amount of serotonin that is absorbed by the brain. Paxil was the first SSRI to be approved by the FDA and is usually tolerated well by the majority of patients. For these reasons, it is often the first choice when doctors treat patients with SAD.

SSRIs, like Paxil, are commonly used to treat a wide range of disorders, including depression and generalized anxiety. Serotonin absorption is thought to be directly linked with variations in feelings and mood swings. Many SAD patients using Paxil report positive results and relief from their social anxiety symptoms, while others find it to be of little help. Side effects are quite common with SSRIs in general, with the medications affecting sexual function and appetite in many patients. Headaches and nausea are also reported, though these normally subside after a short time.

More info:User ratings/reviews:

Helena_SAS 03-01-2010 11:05 AM

Life changing
(Copied over from old review system)

Posted by scottishguy100
Social Anxiety Background
I have had it for as long as I can remember its only in the last few months I have gone for help. I guess I was embarresed and ashamed, I now relise that I had nothing to be ashamed of. It was such a relief when I had a name put to what I had. I found it horrible at school when people used to ask me questions espically the teachers, I was frozen in terror and could not speak and the other kids just laughed and though I was stupid, this went on for most of my educational life. I also would avoid friends ond other situations such as telephone calls, I found this one very very hard. I finally new that I had to get help otherwise it would control my life. I was given these tablets and everything has since changed. I feel like a different person. I have being refered to a psychologist but that could take months, I am aware that meds are not a long term solution. I should point out one thing however, my doctore told me that I had very bad social anxiety I have not officaly been diagnosed, but I KNOW that this is what I have.

Other Treatments
Prior to paxil I was on inderal capsules, beta blockers, they helped dramatically with sweating and palpations. However, they only got rid of the symptoms not the actualy anxiety. After a few weeks they stopped working I don't know why. They started to work within a week and they were fantastic, they continuted to work for around another months and then they just stopped they did nothing, its weird I Know most doctors say meds take time to work, for me it was the opposite they kicked in asap but lost effect within a month or to.

Treatment Experience
I have been taking Paxil now for about 2 months 20mg a day and it has changed my life. I have experinced side effects howver such as loss of appetite and sexual dysfunction (this is common though).

My anxiety has improved dramatically and in turn so has my physical symptoms such as palpatations and sweating. I am finding it remarkably easier to communicate and be around others. I use to get anxious even thinking about social situations but now I am engaging in them. Life changing and for the first time in my life I am actually happy.

Helena_SAS 03-01-2010 11:05 AM

Paxil was decent, but...
(Copied over from old review system)

Posted by redlegion
Treatment Experience
I have to say, I spent two years on a steadily increasing dose of Paxil. For the entire length of time that I took it, I noticed significant improvements in my ability to tolerate social situations. Even conflicts. It was really an amazing thing.

I stopped taking Paxil entirely, though. Sure, it's cheap. But the sexual side-effects are absolutely unacceptable. I give it five stars for efficacy, but only two for practicality.

Helena_SAS 03-01-2010 11:06 AM

Ok, but just the beginning
(Copied over from old review system)

Posted by silvergyrl
Treatment Experience
This is the first drug that I've tried, and it is still the beginning of my journey. I started taking Paxil 4 months ago.

It helped with minor SA problems, but I was only on a 10mg dose. I have had nausea, blurry vision and sexual side effects.

My doctor told me to increase the dose to 20mg to help with my more major SA problems, but the first night I took it, it kept me awake all night. The next day I experienced intense nausea and a kind of out of body feeling or a "high". Not pleasant at all, so now I still take 10mg until I can figure out something else to try.

Helena_SAS 03-01-2010 11:06 AM

Didn't help at all.
(Copied over from old review system)

Posted by Catlover4100
Social Anxiety Background
Diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder at age 8. Diagnosed with Social Anxiety 2 years ago. MDD is treatment-resistant.

Other Treatments
Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Buspar, Celexa, Xanax (current), amytriptyline (sp?), Visitril, Ambien (current), Rozerem, Lexapro, Mirtazipine, and a few others I can't even remember.

Treatment Experience
My doctor put me on Paxil after stopping Lexapro. I had (have) been experiencing a major bout of depression and more crippling than usual social anxiety. I stayed on a 25 mg dose for 6 weeks, and after no improvement, it was increased to 37.5 mg. I guess if I had to choose between Paxil and Lexapro, I would go with the Paxil, but it wasn't really any noticable improvement. As of yesterday, my doctor took me off the Paxil (which I was taking in combination with Wellbutrin, Ambien, and Xanax) and started me on Effexor (with Xanax and Ambien).

Helena_SAS 03-01-2010 11:07 AM

Nothing Special
(Copied over from old review system)

Posted by crossfadex
Social Anxiety Background
I've had Social Anxiety all my life. It is a genetic thing in my family. I've tried some other ssris before but none really helped so far.

Treatment Experience
I am on 40 mg.It makes me very drowsy most of the time- usually I take afternoon naps. Also, its known for having guaranteed sexual side effects. For me, I have difficulty achieving orgasm. I HAVE gotten very little positive effect though..It makes my mind a little less blank in social situations.

Helena_SAS 03-01-2010 11:07 AM

Paxil Sucks
(Copied over from old review system)

Posted by UltraShy
Social Anxiety Background
I'm the poster boy for SA. Can't work, hate my miserable life. Drink when I really need to calm myself as none of these meds truly works.

Other Treatments
Have tried: Zoloft, Prozac, Serzone, Effexor, imipramine, Zyprexa, Abilify, Buspar, Neurontin, tramadol, Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan Have been on large doses of Xanax for years & currently on day 22 of Wellburtrin which has yet to do anything.

Treatment Experience
This was the first drug I ever tried for SA (other than a few Valium tablets). I tried it way back in the summer of 2000.

If you're looking for a drug to cure premature ejaculation, you're going to love this pill. Just be sure not to use too much otherwise you'll never ejaculate at all.

That blatantly obvious side effect is the only way I could differentiate Paxil from a sugar pill. Even at 60 mg it did nothing to help in any way.

Helena_SAS 03-01-2010 11:08 AM

(Copied over from old review system)

Posted by antonina
Social Anxiety Background
Many of my family members have social anxiety or some other type of anxiety so I think it is somewhat genetic and maybe learned too.

Other Treatments
Imipramine which caused me to have prickly sensations in my arms like I was being poked by needles. I didn't like it and quit it.

Treatment Experience
Paxil helped me to finally complete my BA and MA. It allowed me to be in situations without wanting to panic. In my case it seemed to help me sleep much better too. Althoug sometimes I think it made me too drowsy. But it was such a relief from the horrible anxiety.


Helena_SAS 03-01-2010 11:08 AM

(Copied over from old review system)

Posted by Noca
Treatment Experience
I am currently on 60mgs of Paxil although I have used 80mgs previously. It works a little bit on my depression and it moderately helps my anxiety.

The only side effects I get are sexual(unwanted) and increased appetite(wanted!).

Ive been on Paxil for about 8 months now.

I would recommend to choose this SSRI if one is going to be on an SSRI.

Helena_SAS 03-01-2010 11:09 AM

It helps....
(Copied over from old review system)

Posted by MissMay1977
Treatment Experience
I have only been on Paxil about 5 weeks now. I started at 20mg and I am now taking 40mg. I have noticed that it helps with my mind not going blank and I am not as anxious as I was before in social situations. I am hoping with the increased dosage, I will continue to see improvement with myself. I did have brain shocks the first few days I was on it but they went away. Also, Paxil keeps me alert and I do not get drowsy from it.

Helena_SAS 03-01-2010 11:09 AM

good for SP
(Copied over from old review system)

Posted by stealyourface722
Treatment Experience
but it causes weight gain and makes it so I cant have sex at all really... Plus I was just so tired all time..(could be just me)

Helena_SAS 03-01-2010 11:09 AM

No differnce on paxil
(Copied over from old review system)

Posted by livingnsilence
Social Anxiety Background
Social anxiety runs in my family and I've had it since middle school and it worsens every year. My SA doesn't respond to exposure therapy or genral therapy, so it's more than likely genetic.

Treatment Experience
I was on 20mg for only a month. It didn't affect my anxiety or dysthymia at all. The only side effect I had was the first week I was on it I couldn't get more than 2 hours of sleep a night and once I started to sleep beter I didn't have dreams for another week.

I will also add that I tend to be really resistant to a lot of different meds and require a much higher dose so this just may have been way to low of a dose to work.

Helena_SAS 03-01-2010 11:10 AM

Paxil (paroxetine)
(Copied over from old review system)

Posted by Foh_Teej
Treatment Experience
Caused ED and delayed orgasm/anorgasmia. Felt apethetic and lethargic most of the time. Mediocre at best on anxiety but the side effects just make it not worth the trouble. Experienced brain shocks while using Paxil...they suck tremendously. No amount of anxiety relief is worth brain shocks.

Helena_SAS 03-17-2010 06:51 PM

A Paxil Success Story
(copied over from old review system)

Posted by gordonjohnson008
Social Anxiety Background
When I graduated high school, I had low self-esteem, no self-confidence, no social skills, severe depression, severe acne, terrible social anxiety, and virtually no social life. I was suicidal. I knew something had to change, badly...

6 years later, I'm doing great. I have an amazing engineering job, live by myself on the West Coast, have an extremely active and successful social life, am in great shape and am training for a marathon. Life is pretty good.

Being on 10mg of Paxil makes me incredibly stable mentally and comfortable socially. Due to the skills I've picked up on Paxil and Klonopin, I may now be ready to quit meds entirely.

Other Treatments
Klonopin, Buspar, Inderal, Seroquel, Parnate, Nardil, EMSAM, Lexapro, Zoloft, St. John's Wort, GABA, L-Theanine, breathing techniques, exercise

in order of EFFECTIVENESS:

Klonopin: EXCELLENT, but intense drowsiness and memory problems. Quit this because it interfered with my work and I worry of the long-term effects.

Nardil: VERY GOOD, quit too early on to really evaluate due to unbearable side effects (unable to urinate, deathly tired, severe insomnia, etc.), hard to be on this with a normal college undergraduate's lifestyle due to the dietary restrictions

Lexapro: VERY GOOD, made me significantly more tired and lethargic than other SSRIs so quit for that reason

Paxil: VERY GOOD, exactly the right balance I needed, mild side-effect profile. Conquered depression completely and blunted SA to a very manageable level (i.e. 50% diminished or so). Great stuff.

Parnate: GOOD, quite activating, gave odd drowsy/insomnia cycles

Zoloft: GOOD, did not seem to do as much as Paxil for SA, worked like a charm for depression, similar S/E profile

St. John's Wort: OKAY, Great for depression, very mild side-effect profile, but doesn't really do anything at all for SA

breathing techniques: OKAY, didn't really do much for me. My problem wasn't my breathing but rather underlying fear of social situations. So these techniques just treated the symptoms I guess.

GABA/L-Theanine: OKAY, helped quite a bit the first few days and then after that very minimal benefit. Drowsy/headaches from GABA, no S/Es from L-Theanine.

Buspar: POOR, did it do anything? does it do anything? I'm not sure. Wasn't on it long

Seroquel: POOR, made me stupid and sleepy, could not function at all. Why the hell my pdoc perscribed this antipsychotic to me I do not know, so I switched psychiatrists promptly.

EMSAM: VERY POOR, very activating! made me more nervous, was not on it long, very expensive, good for lethargic depression I guess

(so Paxil is not the most effective med I've tried, but due to the side-effect profile it has the greatest effectiveness-to-usability ratio and is my med of choice)

Treatment Experience
The difference makers have been Paxil and Klonopin (with a couple cups of coffee a day to keep me awake during the week ). These medications allowed me to experience normal social interaction almost instantly. After being on them for a few years, I built up an aresenal of social skills and a high Social IQ. They also helped me develop naturally during my college years into the rounded person that I am today.

I gradually tapered down the meds. Now I'm only on 10mg/day of Paxil and it helps me immensely. It's all I need. I no longer rely on Klonopin (I haven't taken any in 2010). In most social situations these days I feel at ease and do great. SA isn't 100% gone, but it's gone to the point that I am in control of my own social destiny (maybe 50% to 75% gone).

Besides medication, I've been aided by my positive outlook, dogged persistence, and rational thinking. Rational thinking is important. I take a step back and ask myself why I am so anxious, what is there to be anxious about. And then I feel silly because I really am okay and I realize my worrying is irrational. I realize I am doing great and should not really be anxious about social situations anymore. And this gives me confidence.

The normal starting does for Paxil is 20mg/day. I'm on 10mg/day because it's all I really need to get the positive effects. Taking any more than this makes me tired, and I have a demanding engineering job where I need to be focused and full of energy every day. I've been on ADs for ~6 years now, since my freshman year of college. I've tried Nardil, Parnate, Paxil, Zoloft, EMSAM, St. John's Wort, Klonopin, etc. I've found 10mg Paxil to give me the greatest positive boost with the least amount of side effects.

Klonopin was clutch for allowing me to venture into new social situations fearlessly, without trepidation. I could stand in front of the class and give a speech, no sweat. Heck, I actually enjoyed it. With Klonopin's aid I met my first girlfriend, got involved in student government, and went from being socially reserved to being very outgoing and making dozens of new friends. It was an amazing transformation. Now, I possess those same skills and outgoing tendencies without having to take Klonopin at all.

I thought I would be on meds for the rest of my life. When I had summer internships in college, I realized there was no way I could continue to be on Klonopin and still be successful as an engineer; it made me too drowsy. Therefore, I dropped down to just being on Paxil. Now that I work full-time, I'm also in this boat. And I've realized that Paxil is all I need now. I've gradually decreased my dosage down to just 10 mg/day.

Now, I'm thinking of dropping even the Paxil. Though 10mg/day is a low dose, there are still some side effects. I need about 9 hours of sleep a day to feel fully rested. I still yawn some during the day and drink a cup of coffee or two during the day, which I would prefer not to rely on. There is mild urinary hesitancy which is annoying, and it makes me sweat a ton. So there are some minor side effects I'd mostly classify as annoying. In addition, it's unclear what the long-term effects of being on SSRIs really are. Some people have been on them for over a decade and seem fine, but others recount horror stories of SSRI side effects that remain even after termination. I am particularly worried about memory and cognition-related side effects.

I see being on an SSRI like Paxil for many years as risky. Previously I was willing to take that risk, but now I think I may be able to drop the Paxil and still function alright. I am probably going to go med-free for a couple months and see how I do. And if I feel my life is in order and I am doing pretty well without the med, awesome. If not, I'll go back to the 10mg and know that I am committed to taking a dependency on Paxil, which may be risky, but which I feel is justifed based on the quality of life improvements it provides.

In sum, I'd like to thank Paxil and Klonopin for helping me realize a normal social existence and an amazing collegiate experience. I bid them adieu, and take comfort in knowing they are still there if I ever need my crutch again, but hope that is never the case. I will work towards that end. Here's to sobriety.

Arisa1536 03-27-2010 05:27 PM

yeah paxil is good
i was on for five years and it melted most of my social anxiety
it did have me chopping and changing in appetite though and the headaches were extreme and the worst was the nausea

if u missed a dose just one hour off time, you felt it straight away, i threw up
and could not breath it was awful, panic attack material when missed even by a few hours so thats not good

they are also the most habit forming of all, well they were for me
my friend leslie had horrific withdrawals from them, she thought she was dying when she came off them

MDB 04-01-2010 11:27 AM

Social Anxiety Background
I have had social anxiety or some form of it since around 1st grade.

Other Treatments
During my youth I was subjected to one bad psychologist/psychiatrist after another, did a 1 week observation at a "mental health institute" in Iowa that determined I was a sociopath at age of only 7 (they were obviously wrong), was in and out of foster homes and was finally sent off to a boys home for 1 year, 1 month, and 13 days. Throughout this entire time my mother never allowed them to give me any kind of drug and for that I am grateful.

Treatment Experience
I first tried Paxil when I was in my early 20's and started experiencing full-blown panic attacks - racing heart, hard to breath, fear I was dying, etc. I remember the moment the drug seemed to take affect, about a week after starting it. I was driving through heavy traffic, a common instigator of an attack, when I felt a wash of calm fall over me and I just sat there waiting for the light to turn green and thought, "Aaahh! It isn't so bad afterall!" It worked pretty good for me for about 3 months until I started feeling more and more apathetic to everything around me. I was less emotional, never cried (even when it would have been good to do so) and eventually I started taking stupid risks because I feel that my better judgment was impaired. I probably should have had better follow-up care in connection to the medication, allowing the doctor to assess my reaction and adjust the dose, but I didn't have health insurance and was not able to pay my bill and therefore was not able to receive further treatment. So here I was with a bottle of happy pills and come what may...

It all came to a head when I confronted a worker at a place of business who was bad-mouthing me behind my back. I should have known this guy was no one to mess with. He was twice my size and was a trained UFC boxer - not to mention the setting. Yet I just kept getting in his face and mouthing off to him saying ridiculously stupid things, thinking I was "taking a stand" against a mean person. In reality, I completely lost all sense of self control as my danger-sense/conscience took a back seat, I think, due to the Paxil.

To make a long story short, the guy broke my jaw clean in half on one side. Part of the bone was sticking through my lower chin. I didn't feel a thing, though. I just stood there in shock, bleeding profusely down my shirt as he paced around me trying to get me to mouth off to him again. The broken jaw was what finally broke through the Paxil stupor and I kept my mouth shut. The cops came and arrested me, like I was the one who did something wrong. When they took me to the hospital they said I was lying about my jaw being broke. Even the nurse denied it. The Doctor who fixed my jaw was good friends with the owner (and boss of the guy who broke my jaw) where the incident happened. He was always "encouraging" me to not litigate. I was too young and stupid to realize this was a serious conflict of interest and should have requested a different Doctor, so I let this unprofessional jerk bully me the entire course of the treatment. It took months for me to heal, having to subsist on liquid protein shakes while my mouth was wired shut. I gave up Paxil during that time and felt a sense of "normalcy" return to me.

A few years later I started having panic attacks again and tried Paxil a second time. I decided to stop taking it again after I felt the same feelings of apathy return. I haven't been on anything since, nor do I wish to. I feel I have made pretty good progress on my own without counseling or medication. I rarely have panic attacks anymore, although my social anxiety is still pretty bad at times.

A few of the negative things I remember noticing about myself on Paxil:

1) I stopped playing music, or feeling any desire to play music (I am an accomplished musician). Music has always been a huge part of my life and I have always gained a sense of comfort from playing music. On Paxil, I stopped completely. I just didn't care to do it anymore.

2) I stopped crying and feeling sad about things. This may seem like a good thing for some people, but when my Grandma died, I felt completely emotionless about it. I was very close to her and I think I would have at least felt something when she died - but I didn't. It's OK to be sad sometimes. It's a normal emotion, as is crying a normal response to that emotion. When you don't do these things, it's not healthy. It's like forcing yourself not to urinate - it's just not healthy. We need that release. It is comforting and cathartic. Paxil took that away from me and I felt dead inside.

3) I took unnecessary risks and felt apathetic to the consequences of those risks (see above story as just one example).

4) In general, I felt like an emotionless robot, carrying out my daily tasks. At first this was nice and appealing to me, but after awhile it became a problem in itself, as my drive to do anything was virtually stamped out.

We are emotional, feeling creatures. We are not meant to have some pill just turn our emotions off. For me, anti-depressants are just a cop out. They only mask the real problems, which I don't think are all chemical. I have my good days and my bad days now like anyone else, but at least now I can properly assess them and my reaction to those ups and downs in a clear-headed way. Given the option of the emotionless stupor Paxil provided me and how I am now, I happily choose the latter - sadness, anxiety, anger and all.

mark555666 04-30-2010 02:31 AM

20mg paxil makes depression/anxiety less. I don't go higher. because i get more serious side effects.

pixies 05-15-2010 12:11 PM

I took Paxil for about 8 years. (It's called Seroxat here in the UK). I'm male. Started it when I was 19.

I loved the stuff! Some of the best years of my life were on that drug. I took it originally for depression, but I was misdiagnosed slightly as I had social anxiety at the time and nobody knew. The Paxil fixed the depression, but it also fixed the Social Anxiety and made me far more outgoing.

I had a much easier time on it than some people it seems. I only really had a few side effects and they weren't that bad, so the benefit FAR outweighed the disadvantages. The side effects I had, were slight sexual side effects of a kind of lack of sensation 'down there'. I could get an erection but it didn't "feel" hard to me. I found that certain things in my diet could kind of counteract it though. I think fatty foods and sugary foods were some kind of aphrodisiac that made it better I think. Also toying around with the dosage seemed to have some effect. (Increasing it made it better ironically).

Another side effect I had was a general apathy, particularly towards my appearance. I didn't take care of myself, showered less, cleaned my teeth less, etc.

I found those things were fairly manageable though, so yeah, the benefit far outweighed these issues. The only issue is that after a few years, it started wearing off, and after several years it ended up to the point where I don't think it was doing all that much at all. So I stopped and now I have to take a different one (which isn't as good).

p.s. Coming off it was no big deal to me. I used to get nasty "brain zaps" but it's not a big deal for me because I didn't work so I just used to sit at home and watch movies and it didn't really matter if I felt bad. I also did it very gradually, weening down to 10 mg a day, and then I started biting the 10 in half to make it a 5, and I would even end up biting the 5 in half sometimes too. It wasn't exactly a breeze but it wasn't a big deal and after a few months of doing it gradually, I was off it.

scarpia 05-21-2010 04:13 PM

It was freaking nasty for me. The side effects were intolerable within a month. I could deal with the sexual side ffects since I never have gfs and almost never get sex. But it made the tinnitus in my ear unbearable and then the itching started. I couldn't even sleep. So I went off cold turkey and that was awful too. I couldn't sleep and it flet like I was getting electric shocks every hour.

It didn't seem to help with my anxiety or depression at all either.

rubyruby 05-22-2010 07:04 AM

what scarpia says is true. I went on it slowly and off it slowly but I ended up going to an ear specialist because my ears were always popping and I had tinnitus. At the time I didn't realize it was paxil causing the problem. I also was nauseated all the time and was taking sinutab. Believe it or not a lot of these symptoms were happening about a month after I stopped taking it.

also, all i wanted to do was goof off. I was pretty happy and all that but it was hard for me to buckle down and get stuff done.

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