September 21st, 2010
10:23 AM ET

How can I stop using Paxil without the side effects?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Tuesdays, it's Dr. Charles Raison, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University, and an expert in the mind-body connection for health.

Question asked by Sharon Reynolds of Tampa, Florida: I have been taking 10 mg of Paxil for nine years. I would like to get off of it but have heard of the many side effects associated with stopping it. Brain "buzzes" and various other frightening possibilities.

How can I stop Paxil without those side effects? I started taking it after a complete hysterectomy that resulted in extreme anxiety.

Expert answer: Dear Sharon,

There is good news and bad news about your situation.

The good news is that only about 20 percent of patients who take antidepressants experience these type of withdrawal symptoms when they discontinue the medications, and when experienced, these symptoms are usually mild and resolve in a week or two.

The bad news is that you have two risk factors for experiencing an antidepressant withdrawal syndrome. First you have been on your antidepressant for an extended period. Second, you are taking Paxil (generic paroxetine) which - because of its short "half-life" in the body - is especially notorious for causing withdrawal problems.

There are two very important things you can do to reduce your risk of having the type of symptoms you describe.

First, you should work closely with your health care provider. Second, you should never just stop the medication.

Probably the all-time best way to experience antidepressant withdrawal is to just suddenly stop the medication. Doing this is a shock to the nervous system, which has adjusted its neurotransmitter release based on the presence of the antidepressant.

In the case of medications like Paxil that affect serotonin, we believe most of the withdrawal symptoms are related to a sudden increase in serotonin activity for which body and brain are not prepared.

The first thing a good clinician will do is closely examine whether stopping the Paxil is a good idea in the first place. If you have been on the medication for 10 years and are emotionally stable, it might be the right thing to do.

Even if it makes sense to do this, a good clinician will be carefully watching, not just for withdrawal symptoms, but also for any sign that the psychiatric condition that prompted you to take the medication in the first place isn't coming back.

The most common symptoms of a Paxil withdrawal syndrome are feeling like you have the flu, often in combination with dizziness, sensory disturbances (like the buzzing you describe) and anxiety/agitation.

The trick to lowering your chances of having these symptoms is to reduce the dose of the antidepressant as slowly as possible. For people who are really sensitive it can take months to get off an antidepressant slowly enough to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

But remember that most people can stop an antidepressant cold and won't have symptoms. Whether you would be similarly fortunate or more unlucky is probably not a question you should test out. Rather, I recommend starting to work with your clinician to slowly lower the dose. If you feel fine you might try lowering the dose more rapidly as it feels comfortable.

soundoff (1,620 Responses)
  1. Scott

    I took Paxil for about 4 years. When it was time to stop, I gradually decreased the dosage over a period of about 6 weeks. This was done in consultation with a psychiatric physician. I experienced occasional mild dizziness, but nothing debilitating.

    September 21, 2010 at 21:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. vik

    I had trouble going odd effexor that sound like the paxil head buzzes so many have mentioned. My brother in law, a psychiatrist, wrote the manufacturer and got two interesting replies two days apart. "Yes" they said, "we've gotten usolicitated feedback from consumers reporting this phenomenon." They suggested going on prozac short term and weaning off the effexor, since prozac has a longer half life. It worked well, was off the effexor in no time and had no trouble getting off the prozac.

    September 21, 2010 at 22:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Mike

    I've been taking Paxil. and I don't understand these side effects everyone else seems to be experiencing. Maybe I'm taking the wrong antidepressant.

    September 21, 2010 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fatima

      to turn the other cheek). What I did really hepeld me, and nowadays, most people cannot tell that I am shy. Well, nobody can tell. I really think that social anxiety is a PHOBIA and you can treat it like any other phobia, you have to confront your fear.So. . .in junior high, I signed up for theater productions. In senior high, I signed up for debate and speech teams, and model united nations and (i think it's called?) student congress. That was kinda cool, I got to sit at a desk in the house of representatives in the state capitol. So then I could fake that I was confident pretty good, even though I was terrified the whole time and never could sleep the night before an event. I used to write watch your pitch and talk slowly on my notes, so I wouldn't get all squeaky with terror, and my lack of sleep often hepeld, because I would be too tired to get quite so anxious.As a young adult, I lectored in my large Catholic church. I forced myself to do that, because at that point, I was already pretty good at talking. I became a board member of a medium sized club, then president (and you had to get up in front of a lot of people for that, too, about 40, sometimes more). Then I went to graduate school and was a teaching assistant and was on the graduate student council. More talking in front of others. Had to push myself the whole time. I had to force myself to do these things, because I was so shy, but on the other hand, I was pretty good at it, so my help was needed, so I had an altruistic reason to pursue these goals, too. I mean, it is really a phobia, but I confronted it like a snake phobia, just oversaturated myself with terrifying experiences, quit avoiding it. My self-esteem is still terrible, sometimes, because I have really bad bipolar depressions, often, and it is humiliating to be mentally ill and not be able to hold down a job. But I just got up in a county board meeting in front of 40 people and asked the county commissioners some questions, so even though I'm crazy (not really, just depressed) I still project self-confidence. And, as always, I was terrified. ****But nobody could tell.*** I fake it really good. And because I have gotten sorta used to speaking up in groups, (always working on that fear) one on one introductions really are no sweat nowadays. Small groups are still a problem, I'm awfully quiet, but if people ask me why I'm so quiet, I don't get as anxious as I used to. HINT HINT HINT what I do is ask people questions about things they are interested in, then they'll go on and on and on, and all you have to do is LOOK interested and go uh huh once in awhile. Try and remember one or two things they said so you can bring it up later (hard to remember when you are so afraid). I often have a notepad with me, in my purse, so I'll jot down their name as soon as I can. And if I have to be obvious about it, I laugh and say I have a terrible memory and don't want to forget their name. They are flattered, if anything. I still feel dumb, but they don't know it.So, practice, practice, practice. If you are out of school, try toastmasters, I know they hepeld my dad 30 years ago, maybe they are still a good group. It will take terrible motivation on your part to confront this, but as long as you avoid it, you will have the phobia. I am sure you will never be confident dealing with others, after all the above, I am still very shy and I always have to kick myself to talk to others. I have to remind myself to do some small talk, I'm always struggling with that. Also, you do kind of get over yourself as you age. You don't care much what others think. If they're saying mean stuff about you, well they have issues or something. So maybe things will get better all on their own, to some extent. I'm a lot more comfortable in my skin at age 42 than I was in my early 30 s. A LOT. I think it did help me that I confronted this fear when I was a kid, I'm glad that I did that, in fact. I'm sure you're thinking my social anxiety isn't as bad as yours, maybe not, but it is very bad, and used to be a lot worse. The key is fake it until you make it.Good luck!! With hard work, you WILL do WELL! And maybe be a little less scared in the process. I don't think there is any easy way.

      April 14, 2012 at 13:03 | Report abuse |
    • terri houck

      I loved Paxil as far as keeping me sane and with the social anxiety, but it ruined my libido and I gained 40 lbs. just because I didn't care about anything. So, I tried and tried to go off Paxil and it was a nightmare. Then I started taking 10 mg instead of 20mg. I had the side effects but found Oxytocin, a mood enhancer. It has saved my life!!! I'm not going to try to go completely off the Paxil until I retire in 32 days, but I'll have the oxytocin on hand to help. (I heard about oxytocin on the Dr. Oz Show! Thank you God!)

      August 24, 2012 at 23:34 | Report abuse |
  4. Jane

    I tried Zoloft and a couple of other antidepressants but they didn't do anything but 'numb' me to any emotion whatsoever (good or bad). I tapered off and have since found I had a B12 deficiency that was causing my problem. I feel 100% better; anyone considering these drugs should have their vitamin levels checked just in case.

    September 21, 2010 at 23:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Ken

    My cold-turkey stoppage of Paxil was disastrous. Following a heart attack my PCP got the names of two medications mixed up – Paxil and Plavix. Not wanting me to be taking two doses of Plavix (he thought I had already been taking it, but in fact I had been taking Paxil, not Plavix) he told me to "stop the Paxil". I complied and a week later landed in jail. I don't remember the details of the even that got me arrested, nor do I remember going there, but I do remember being arrested – that's not an easy thing to forget. This is practically ruined my life. I could not sue the doctor for malpractice because not only did he get confused, which he admitted to me over the phone, but he never wrote it down either. I am afraid to go back on Paxil because of that event.

    September 22, 2010 at 01:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Patrick

      I have also been having severe problems while transitioning from Paxil to Elavil. Two days ago I assaulted someone and only clearly remember parts of the incident. Thankfully, because I've been living in this town for 10+ years and have no prior arrests, the police released me with a court date. I will likely be struggling with self-hate, which is always one of my driving problems, for years to come. I have been under psychiatric care during this transition and have been receiving depression treatment since the mid-80s. Even with help I "popped". Depression and anxiety are no joke, treat them with care and professional supervision.

      August 18, 2013 at 10:57 | Report abuse |
  6. giofrey

    visit http://www.theroadback.org/
    This helped me get off celexa, which I had switched to fromPaxil. I'll never take any of that crap again. big mistake; but it can be remedied

    September 22, 2010 at 07:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Julie

    I took Paxil for many years and tried several times to step down my dosage very very slowly to wean myself off of it, but I still had the vertigo, buzzing, etc. and it was TERRIBLE. I ended up stopping cold turkey because I was pregnant. The withdrawl was bad, but at least it was like "pulling off the band aid quickly". I would never ever ever recommend Paxil to anyone and I would never take it again myself.

    September 22, 2010 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Judy Campbell

      I am a 44year old femaile and afte being on Paxil fir 3 years I knoew the time to go off of tem had come. Throght my own poor judgement I stopped ld turkey. I've been doing alot of research and it seems what I'm doing, feeling and thinking are all normal. t's been 7-10 dasys now. I was just hoping your could sare with me some of what you experienced. You equated it with pulling off a band-aid.....I think it sow similiartys as to when I stop breasfeeding my kids. I coulhave weined, and warm shower t death, but what do i do???bind myself really tight and make te best ofthenext week or more.

      November 9, 2012 at 11:39 | Report abuse |
    • gloria

      What were your symptoms?

      December 29, 2014 at 16:10 | Report abuse |
  8. Jamie

    My husband has been on Paxil for at least 8 years, he is a corrections officer, and I believe that paxil has saved our marriage. I fill his med box each week for him and last month i forgot to put the Paxil in. By the third day he was calling me on the phone just raging about "much ado about nothing", and he could not control his temper. This behavior was very unordinary for him. When I got home from work I immediatley checked his med box...sure enough that's when I realized that I forgot his Paxil. It's scary for me to think about him NOT taking this drug....so it has been beneficial for us.

    September 22, 2010 at 09:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Sadiegirl

    I guess I'm a little confused reading this string. People are saying how horrible Paxil is and they would never go on it again. For those of us who are taking Paxil and it's doing its job (as Jamie just wrote and I wrote above) why would I consider going off it? Yes, I do know about the withdrawal side effects that my Dr. and I discussed one time when I asked him if I should go off it since I've been on so long, but I never want to go back to the anxiety, mood swings, and panic attacks that I sufferered before I begain Paxil.

    September 22, 2010 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Stephen C. Tobias

      I think the problems are when you decide to come off them

      December 9, 2018 at 09:43 | Report abuse |
    • Lucie

      I came off 40 mg of Paxil to 20 mg for a week... was supposed to go on Zoloft 50 mg.... went cold turkey after the 20 mg of a week... side effects are real! Why? Because it causes weight gain and kills my libido. Blah feeling to get my chores done.... enough reasons there for quitting. Couldn’t get myself to the gym to get exercise and my diet was see food diet (I see everything and eat everything I like)

      June 29, 2019 at 15:28 | Report abuse |
  10. LC

    I too though Paxil was the greatest thing since sliced bread and I'm not anti-med, for those who truly need them. But, there are plenty of us who don't want to rely on a pill for the rest of their lives and their subsequent side effects. Plenty of us who went on Paxil and other SSRIs for situational anxiety/depression and not a chronic issue.

    I took Paxil for 10 years for IBS. I tried to cold turkey once and tapered too quickly the second time. The ONLY way I was able to get off was to taper in 10% increments every 3 weeks. It was, hands down, one of the hardest things I've ever done. I'm well aware there are those who can quit cold turkey, or taper quickly, but I can also tel you there's no way I believe that only 20% of people taking SSRIs, suffer from withdrawal. Most of the time, w/d isn't acknowledged by doctors and the symptoms are blamed on "the original issue returning" or, "the original issue getting worse" and drugs start being added, upped, switched. If w/d was more widely recognized, people could avoid getting on the drug merry-go-round.

    And, for those of you saying you know about w/d and side effects and have discussed them with your doctor – that information was not known, or available, in 1997. It wasn't until a class action lawsuit and many Washington hearings, that w/d was forced to be acknowledged as well as the increased risks of suicide, especially in teens.

    September 22, 2010 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • terri

      I agree with you totally. Doctors are not telling the truth about the withdrawal symtoms. So awful, awful, awful!!!

      August 24, 2012 at 23:38 | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      I totally agree this stuff is horrible. I am gonna start trying to get off it again but the side effects are horrible. 20% I think not more like 80% would be a better estimate. I think before a doctor prescribes Paxil he or she should be made to take it for a while and go off cold turkey. I will never take it again. Numb all the time and I gained 80lbs in a year thanks Doc. I'd rather be depressed.

      June 16, 2014 at 12:27 | Report abuse |
  11. InsideLookingOUT

    Prozac ,the first on this class ,was a few votes short of being pulled from the market in the early 90's.This class of medications i(serotonin reuptake inhibitors) is OVER-prescribed. We are playing with fire.Fire is great when it cooking a meal or keeping you warm but it can KILL you.I always thought(my opinion) this class of meds was "shotgun medicine" with no accurate lab measurements.Medicine can take a look at your blood and tell you if you need more potassium, sodium and even most medications. The measurement in the blood of prozac,serotonin or even its precursors 5-HTTP are not an accurate measure of your brain levels.A very small percent crosses the blood-brain barrier.The problem is this is in the brain and it is too much guess work.People have bad patches or blues in their lives.This class of meds has helped many people but does the benefit outweigh the risk?
    People are talking about half lives of the medication but they should be talking about the neurotransmitters in the brain like serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.Some people just do not produce enough or it is broken down too quickly of these neurotransmitters to function normally.Your body is a series of biofeedback reactions and when you start to play with it your body may stop or decrease producing the chemicals. People who take any of these medications should really discuss it FACE to FACE with their health care provider and weigh out the benefits against the risks.Eat Healthy Stay Active

    September 23, 2010 at 09:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Mark

    stop taking the drugs – then no more side effects to improve concentration

    October 10, 2010 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. oldmanstauf

    Up until this June, I’d been taking an antidepressant called Zoloft for about 8 years and 10 months of the preceding 9 years. The fact that I’m no longer taking Zoloft is an accident of history: I had a lot of trouble obtaining Clozaril, a medication I was instructed to take with Zoloft. When it became impossible for me to obtain Clozaril, I stopped taking Zoloft, not merely out of frustration (though I admit that played a part), but because I believed that if my doctor had wanted me to take Zoloft without Clozaril, she would have prescribed it that way.

    The first 3 weeks without Zoloft were difficult. I experienced severe withdrawal symptoms (especially within the first 5 days). After a month went by, something interesting happened: the compulsive shopper in me which for almost a decade had fed my addiction for pro-audio equipment and computer accessories just up and died! I can’t think of any better way to explain it. It was like, despite the fact that I was more broke than I’d ever been, for the first time in as long as I could remember, financial security was on the horizon.

    You may be wondering “how could a drug prescribed to alleviate depression have any impact on your spending habits?” This is a good question for someone who (like myself) has been on both sides of Zoloft treatment. Based on my experience, while Zoloft can keep you from getting majorly depressed, it also has the unfortunate tendency of preventing you from feeling genuine happiness or joy. Even if you have sufficient insight into this reality to report it while you’re still on Zoloft, communicating this experience to your doctor will inevitably lead him to prescribe even more Zoloft, a decision which may not exacerbate the problem, but certainly won’t make it any better.

    So here you are, still not happy, taking 150 milligrams per day of Zoloft, a medication that’s clearly advertised as an “antidepressant”—literally, “that which fights depression”—and your choices are to console yourself by purchasing an Xbox 360 and a flatscreen TV or allow yourself to be convinced by your doctors that your unhappiness is a symptom of even bigger problems with names like “bipolar mania” or “schizoaffective disorder.”

    You may be wondering how you could sit across from your doctor and uncritically accept as diagnoses such obvious euphemisms for “crazy.” Well, consider this: what if each and every time you reduced or discontinued a medication you were taking in conjunction with Zoloft, you went insane?

    Around the time of my revelation that Zoloft can detract substantially from your happiness potential, I stumbled across an article online entitled “Antidepressant-Associated Mania and Psychosis Resulting in Psychiatric Admissions” which documented this very phenomenon (http://psychrights.org/research/Digest/AntiDepressants/DrJackson/Preda2001.pdf); three M.D.’s and a Ph.D published the research in a 2001 issue of "The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry." The article explains that more than 1 in every 13 people undergoing combination drug therapy for mental illness (by using “mood stabilizers” in conjunction with antidepressants, for example) will experience a break from reality upon reduction or discontinuation of the “other” drug (e.g., Depakote, Abilify, Haldol, Geodon, Clozaril, etc.). In theory, this response could occur when changing from one mood stabilizer to another, since one of the most frequently implemented methods of switching psychotropic medications (i.e., “cross-titration”) entails gradual discontinuation of the drug being replaced. Finally, according to the article, the mere process of beginning pharmacological therapy for depression (with a drug like Zoloft) can induce psychosis.

    Suddenly, the last 9 years of my life began to make sense: my first outpatient psychiatrist diagnosed the “psychotic features” of my depression soon after I started Zoloft (when I insisted that my then-girlfriend had a metallic, foreign object in her body). Psychotic symptoms resurfaced during another treatment experiment with a psychiatrist near my new address, where reduction of antipsychotics I’d been taking since the aforementioned delusion was reversed after erratic thoughts adversely affected my behavior at a friend’s engagement party. In 2007, I received treatment from a doctor who, though far and away the most competent and knowledgeable psychiatrist I’d ever worked with, subjected me to grave danger by virtue of her insights into the perils of Zoloft treatment: lowering my Zoloft prescription from 150 to 125 milligrams despite my strong objections and the circumstances aggravating my depression (financial strain) contributed to the state of despair that precipitated my suicide attempt in Fall of 2008. Barely three weeks after my admission to a Manhattan acute mental healthcare facility (following my discharge from the affiliated ICU), I received care from a psychiatrist who continued the treatment plan developed and initiated by my recent inpatient psychiatrist: gradual discontinuation of an antipsychotic while still taking Zoloft (after grudgingly returning to that hospital for observation a few weeks later, I was committed by way of a “two physicians certificate").

    Naturally, I was reluctant to defer to the expertise of my inpatient doctor the second time I came under her care (just weeks after she discharged me on a treatment regimen that generated the kind of chemical imbalance that causes people to seek psychiatric help in the first place). What ensued was my first-ever, sustained period of non-compliance with my treatment plan. At various times throughout this confinement, the intensity of my delusions was such that I kissed my sister-in-law on the lips (thinking I was on a “reality show” that wouldn’t release me until I kissed someone), stabbed myself repeatedly in the wrist, and (while in solitary confinement) drank a cup of my own urine (thinking my right to refuse a vasectomy was conditioned on my performance of this disgusting task). These experiences easily comprise one of the most traumatic periods of my life. Even my admission two years later to another facility—-where my doctor's manipulation of dosages and varieties of antipsychotics and mood stabilizers while on Zoloft induced suicidality and terrifying delusions-—even that wasn’t as bad.

    People who know my story sometimes ask "why not sue the doctors or the hospitals that treated you? They're the ones who failed to recognize Zoloft's disastrous impact on your health." While I believe the culpability of these entities and individuals is hardly debatable, I feel such remarks miss the point.

    The point (as I see it) is that if 1 out of every 13 automobiles to roll off an assembly line is destined to spontaneously combust, the vehicle's engineer should be held as (if not more) accountable as the poor slob who moves them through the showroom.

    Given the number of other people who've undoubtedly been rendered incapable of working by virtue of their antidepressant-induced "thought disorders," corporations that research, manufacture, and distribute antidepressants should be required to pay punitive damages to Medicaid and Social Security, the institutions healthcare executives have the nerve to complain are disproportionately subsidized by their tax dollars. It might not bring us any closer to a consensus regarding which symptoms constitute "schizoaffective disorder"–but it will be an important step towards eradicating the perverse incentives afflicting our mental health system.

    October 11, 2010 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike


      I cannot express how much I respect your comment and your ability to convey the 100% true experience that MOST (not 20%) users of anti-depressants will experience when they come off the drug, if not done with close monitoring. Still, with a doctor by your side, withdrawal symptoms are often symptoms that signal the prescribed to increase or re-initiate the drug. All of this, I believe, is due to lack of communication and morality between the pharmaceutical representatives, advertisements, and the physicians. I agree completely that the pharmaceutical industry involved in the over-prescribing of psychiatric medications should be required to pay towards SSI and other government disability programs, given that a lot of citizens receiving disability services are doing so because they are deemed incapacitated to work because of mental illness, which may or may not be a result of taking too many psychiatric drugs at a time, like antipsychotics, plus an antidepressant, mood stabilizer, and large doses of Klonopin to top it all off.

      What is occurring in psychiatry today is borderline medical malpractice. Someone or some organization need to step in and impose sanctions or some sort of regulation system before more people are injured by these powerful psychiatric drugs that are literally handed out like candy!

      January 24, 2016 at 23:55 | Report abuse |
  14. Carol Johnson

    Thanks for your comments, Susan. I was on many AD's and benzo's for years! Doc had me up to 450 mgs. of Effexor XR a day. Finally, down to 75 mg. of it and off everything else. Wow, what a nightmare these drugs can be. I take 5-HTP and Melontin for sleep now and have never felt better. It's so nice to hear about others struggles and success in putting these meds behind them!

    October 12, 2010 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Christa Jahn

    I have been on Paxil for about 12 years. I only take about 5-7.50 mg a day. I have no side effect from the drug that I can tell, but I want to get off of it. All the storys I hear are scarying the hell out of me! Is there anyone out there who had only mild withdrawal symptoms during a slow weening process, because that is how I will do it even if it takes a year!

    October 25, 2010 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JRosy


      I wouldn't worry too much about withdrawal symptoms if you are taking less than 10 mg. I was taking 30mg a day for at least 10 years. I recently dropped down to 15 for a few weeks and am now taking about 7.5mg. I am only experiencing mild symptoms, such as dizziness/nausea and mild headache. Nothing that is stopping me from normal daily activities. I am not a doctor though, so you should talk to your physician first.

      July 9, 2012 at 14:41 | Report abuse |
  16. Dawn

    I've been on Paxil on and off over the past 7 years. I weened myself off when I was five months pregnant with no problems and my child is very healthy and happy at age six. I will say that when she was born, she seemed to cry endlessly and never sleep and I have wondered if that might still have been an effect on her system of not getting the drug through me (she was also premature but a healthy birth weight). I am currently weening off Paxil again right now. I was on 10mg/day for 18 months. I cut down to 5mg/day for a week and then quit. I've been off for four days now. At first, I had episodes of feeling sort of out-of-body–disconnected to reality and living in a haze. It has been getting less and less everyday. When I feel like this, I use self-talk to stave off an anxiety attack that something bad is happening to me. I explain to myself that this is a withdrawal effect of the medication and that it will pass and I will be fine. It seems to work for me. I will say that over the past few days, I have noticed that I am having more emotions and it feels great. Although I really needed the Paxil to get me through a rough time in my life, I began to feel emotionally dead. I remain hopeful that my transition off the drug will continue to go smoothly and I wish all those out there going through the same thing the best.

    November 24, 2010 at 08:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Debi

      Just read your post. Hope you continue to progress. Today has been really rough; day 3 for me. Good Luck.

      November 24, 2010 at 15:39 | Report abuse |
  17. Debi

    I have been on Paxil 10mg for a year now, since the death of my mom. I am 35 yrs old and have wiened myself down over the last two months. I cut the 10mg tablets in two and only took 5mg a night. I am now out of meds and the last few days have been pure hell. I am very irritably. woke up with a horrible headache this am and can not stop feeling "angry". All I want to do is lay in bed.

    The reason why I cut myself off.....my Doctor moved out of town and since I do not have health insurance through my job; i had to pay over $100 to see the new doctor and get another script. Could no longer afford it, unfortunatly. Paxil did help me cope with my severe depression but I dislike these feelings!!!! and tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I sure hope I feel better. 🙂

    November 24, 2010 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dawn

      Good luck Debi. Sending good thoughts your way.

      November 24, 2010 at 16:00 | Report abuse |
    • terri

      On the Dr. Oz show, I heard about Oxytocin. The Oxytocin is like a miracle for me. You can order it online. It has really saved me. I am down to 10 mg of Paxil and hopefully can continue to get this crap out of my body

      August 24, 2012 at 23:47 | Report abuse |
  18. CHeryl

    I was put on paxil b/c I have had a hysterectomy and they wanted me off of hormones and said this would help the night sweats etc... that menopausel women go thru.

    August 23, 2011 at 23:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. nelia

    I am ^weeks pregnant and also need to stop taking Aropax any help please!!!

    November 7, 2011 at 02:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Arati

      My dear consult your doctor as soon as possible, medicine is not good in pregenency.Don't worry dear there are many other natural ways to get rid of this misery..you are pregenent so i cannot suggest myself ,it would be better to take the help of yoga and meditation expert.Its harmless techinique ,and i swear you will get full benifits without any side-effects.It is better for and your child too.

      December 9, 2011 at 21:10 | Report abuse |
  20. exmen

    i think you mean propranolol. its a beta aeerndrgic antagonist (most people call that class of drug beta blockers ) basically what it does is slow your heart down, which reduces the amount of extra beats you get. as far as how well it works, some people it works great; they hardly ever get any on beta blockers. other people feel like it doesnt help them at all. its a pretty cheap drug, probably ~$10-15/month. some of the common side effects you may or may not get are drowsiness, depression (usually only if you have a history of it), weird dreams, and low excercise tolerance (you'll get tired faster from walking around or working out if you exercise), but lots of times the side effects go away afer you've taken it for a week or two. its usually pretty well tolerated. if you have a history of depression you'd probably be better off switching to atenolol. just bring it in to a pharmacy and talk to the pharmacist about it if you have questions/concerns. really, if you have a thyroid problem they should try to treat that, and it would probably take care of the palpitations. hope that helps.

    April 7, 2012 at 21:27 | Report abuse | Reply
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    September 20, 2012 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Jennifer cost

    I have been on paxil for over ten years now . I wanted to become pregnant. I heard the side effects of comming off paxil could be bad . I quit cold turked . It was the worst thing i have ever expeirenced . I felt like a walking disaster ups and downs crying all the time mood swings complete mental torture . don't get me wrong love the pill it helps my anxiety and depression but what about pregnancy it's a complete nightmare . We have to go through this everytime we want to become pregnant .

    September 24, 2012 at 09:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Shirley

    I have been on paxil for 23 years and I lost my health care insurance, so I decided to stop all my medications except my beta blocker. I stopped cold turkey and I have been feeling like I have the flu, its been now about 3 weeks and I still don't feel quite like myself. Every so often I get a buzzing in my ear, but not all the time. I have episodes of crying spells and not feeling myself. But I am determined to stay off this medication and take one day at a time.

    November 12, 2012 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • James

      I have been on Paroxetine (generic paxil) for 3 yrs and experienced all the ugly side effects when stopping cold turkey. I was taking 25mg a day and cut them in half and took the ahlf for about 3 weeks, cut them in half and took that for the same amont of time, and still to this day am getting small amonuts of the side effects after a 2 weeks of not taking it. It will affect everyone diffrently. But as long as you cut the dosage in small increments it can be done. Dosent seem like it, but it can be done 🙂 Good luck, all of you and be well.

      December 6, 2012 at 12:24 | Report abuse |
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    December 5, 2012 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. csc

    I've been on Paxil for 22 years and add another couple of years before that for Prozac. First prescribed for depression. What a NIGHTMARE! When I finally realized why my life had gone to HELL because of these meds, I began experimenting with taperring off. BE ADVISED: taper slowly! After spending 3 years of my life taperring from 30mg to 7.6mg and remaining at 7.6 for 1 year and in shear mental torture and anquish, I reluctantly and painfully realized that this long term usage had literally damaged my brain. I reluctantly added about 4 mg of Prozac to the 7.6 mg Paxil and was able to function in my job, relationships and life, but crippled and handicapped. I have stayed at that dose for 3 years and am now beginning to attempt to taper again with much fear but also much faith/hope. If I could go back in time, I would do ANYTHING to resolve my depression rather than take an AD. I went from a highly functioning bright graduate student in a difficult program of study to nearly homeless and friendless after 10 years of taking the drugs. I was a shell of my former self. It wasn't until about 15 years into AD use that I began to suspect that this drug may be the PROBLEM- i.e. reason for no memory, loss of cognitive skills, disconnection from life, people, sexual problems, weight gain, the list goes on and on. Once I started taperring I realized that I was correct...cognitive abilities began to come back but natural serotonin production was GONE. I was kind of a monster in human form- incredible anger and just mental anquish. This was not my personality before ADs! I am a fighter and survivor and will press on no matter what, but these drugs are pure evil in the long run. I look forward to the day when the purveyors of this poison will be held accountable.

    November 14, 2013 at 08:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. mommadebba

    I am on 20mg of PARoxetine HCI and have cut the pill in half to ween off this medication. I just curious if anyone else agree's with this. I am also really upset that my so called doctor never told me about the side effects of going off this medication. The dizzy spells are killing me..I want out of the hell. I don't have insurance so I wanted to go off these without paying $100 to see the doctor just to find out how to go off them. Any suggestions?

    March 30, 2014 at 20:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Eric

    Paxil is not the answer it has destroyed my life. Stay away from ad,s and get into church it's free.

    June 16, 2014 at 12:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Eric

    Paxil. Take it if you want no sex drive, weight gain, feeling numb, can't remember nothing and best of all you go through pure Hell to get off it.

    June 16, 2014 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Mustafa

    I taking paxil for 2 years and not sure if I should stop I had no side effects but when I forget to take my 10mg at time
    I start to experience dizziness with pulses like when I walk I feel like my body had no wight and debilitation
    then I know that I forgot to take my pill sometime and for mine while I start to have headache alot but am not sure if its linked to paxil
    I want to quite but am fraid my illness will come back and at same time am fried its just a placebo its woks on me but sometimes I feel it give me like power 🙁 but I think its fake but I feel it

    July 31, 2014 at 02:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Patty

    I was on 20 mgs of Paxil for almost 20 years when I decided to drop to 10 mgs. I'd tried to get off it before but the withdrawal symptoms were overwhelming to me, including the brain zaps that occur when you move your eyes. So, I made a small chart for myself with lots of vertical lines and every night I would shave off the tiniest little bit of the pill. i did this for 12 months and eventually got down to 10 mgs with no discernible withdrawal symptoms. I've had doctors tell me I should be able to get off the drug in 6 weeks, but I don't believe its that simple, especially if you are someone with sensitivities to drugs. Good luck to you!

    April 7, 2015 at 19:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Chas Abramovich

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me dinner simply because I found it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to discuss this issue here on your web site.


    June 13, 2015 at 22:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Mary Anne Fowler

    My brother has been on Paxil for many years and attempted to get off of it. He ended up in hospital and is having a rough time. Thanks for the website, very informative!

    July 25, 2015 at 22:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Tammy

    I was on Paxil for about 18 yrs at 40mg/ day. Was living hell trying to taper off. After about a year of skipping days and tapering, I was fed up and quit altogether – at .5mg/ day. Oftentimes I feel down for no reason, and I wonder if there are new A/Ds on the market that'd be better than Paxil... but I'm too afraid to try anything and get addicted to a pill all over again.

    August 6, 2015 at 21:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. junaid

    dear sir i wS on pafoxtine for seven years it was all doing fine for panic attacks but now its not working i feel nervous and confused i cant do any calculatilns my memory is weak i cant remember thing so my gp gave me citalopram i want to ask doctor said me suddenly stop paroxti e anz start new drug citraloprm as i know ic we cold turkey paroxtine withdrawn syndrome occur but now in this situation side effects will occor or not coz gp strt my new dose to 10 mg then after week 40 mg daily plz help me i m so afraid

    August 19, 2015 at 19:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Name*jody Chronister

    Paxil has improved my life for years now. Started taking 20mg a day since 1998 for anxiety. It worked well and got other benefits. I have suffered from all day sneezing fits since I was a child 12 old. A nerve in my nose would trigger a tickling and then sneezing until my nose was so red and sore going through a box of tissues in a 10 hour period. This would happen more often on weekends and holidays when my excitement level was higher. I went off paxil cold turkey 5-6 times and endured the side effects that would last about 2 weeks. Within another 2 weeks I would get the sneezing fits again. Probably will never go off paxil because of the calming effect of the nerve in my nose. My life sucked before paxil! People who get the side effects of flashing lights, electric pulses and some other minor side effects when going off of paxil just need to roll with it... It goes away in a couple weeks.

    August 31, 2015 at 14:51 | Report abuse | Reply
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  37. Amanda

    I was diagnosed with server post traumatic depression, anxiety, and you name it I had it. I was prescribed paxil and started on 10mg didn't help than my doctor bumped it up to 37.5 and after being on that dose for a month I found myself chain smoking and going crazy back to back with coffee I was never a smoker but for some reason this terrible medicine caused me more harm than help. I found myself very suicidal and not caring about anyone. It got so bad that I started hallucinating and find myself arguing with my husband it made me very angry than one day I snapped very delusional very suicidal not thinking I drank more than half a bottle of nyquil cause I was on day three without sleep-not recommended!!! Threw up we never connected it to my medication I was this complete different person it was awful it tore my family apart so once I looked into it and found out I had all the server reactions I was scared to take it so I stopped cold turkey. It wasn't pretty throwing up brain zaps dizziness I lost 18lbs in one week was severely dehydrated couldn't focus and still find myself forgetting words at time. I wouldn't recommend this medication to the next person I can't believe this medication is even legal... lucky for me my husband stood by me and were working it out but for someone who had no one to tell them how they are acting could be so dangerous even deadly so please look into this before taking cause this medication isn't for everyone and looks like it's not right for most I would not wish this on my worst enemy!!!

    February 9, 2016 at 22:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Rhonda Kearney

    I have been taking paroxetine, 40 MG for almost 4 years now. I did try to ween myself off a few time and ended up with extreme (head buzzes). My doctor forgot to fill my prescription for 2 weeks once and I finally got the meaning of *she must be off her meds again* I have never had this reaction with any drug EVER before. I safely quit Xanax, before this.... The first time I tried to ween of this meds I ended up in the ER thinking I was having a heart attack, I literally thought I was going to die! Head buzzes where the least of my problems. I work in Customer service where I'm always been professional, I told someone what I actually thought. So reading these comments about fights and unusual behavior disturbs me. This med Does calm me, but I wouldn't wish any of the withdrawal side effects on my worst enemy.

    April 29, 2016 at 23:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. j_klein

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  40. Kelly

    Hey, so I've been taking Paxil CR for about a month & 1 week now. I started for 1 week at 10mg then went to 20mg since then. I haven't had a checkup since because I've had to keep rescheduling the appt. I'm running out of meds tomorrow, and also had reduced my dosage from 20mg back to 10mg (about 5 days ago-1week ago) to more slowly stop taking the medicine than to go cold turkey from 20mg. Do you think I will have drastic side effects? Hopefully not since I've been on it for less than 2 months..

    August 21, 2016 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Brian

    I have been taking Paxil for almost 3 1/2 years now. After my grandmother passed away, my life has changed overnight. I always have anxiety, but I controlled perfectly fine until her death. I guess that's part of life changes, too. Paxil saved my life. If that wasn't for Paxil; I probably will end up losing job, losing house, and everything. Thanks all to my therapist to put me on Paxil. Even although, I gained 40LBS, but I'm very happy and be able to work and be able to socialize into events everywhere. I love my life! Yea, gain weight does suck! But I'd rather that over losing everything.

    December 8, 2016 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. jonnieac

    I've been taking 10 mg of Paxil for almost a year for depression. 2 1/2 weeks ago I realized I had forgotten to take them for about three days and decided to not take anymore my worst symptoms have been the dizziness and the heads zapps. I am almost 3 weeks now without and I still have the dizziness and some heads zaps. I also have some blurred vision but I have not experienced the anger. I keep thinking it's going to get better but the dizziness continues and the dizziness causes anxiety. Like one of the previous posts I have vowed to just keep going I don't want to go back now and try to taper or take anymore of it. I am so thankful I didn't let my doctor give me the extra 10 mg a day he wanted to

    February 23, 2017 at 19:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Justin Vigue

    "But remember that most people can stop an antidepressant cold and won't have symptoms."

    This post is old, so I'll just assume that Charles had old information when it was written, but the above statement is completely inaccurate, as is much of the above post. If you have been on SSRI's for more than 6 months, at dosages at or above 10mg (the minimum), then you will have symptoms from withdrawal, and it's just a matter of how severe they are. Tapering is the way to go, and do it over a long period of time, especially if you have been on SSRI's for many years. Involve your doctor, and preferably one that actually understands these drugs and knows how they work. Don't get your information from online hacks like this.

    February 26, 2017 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Aprill

    I have been on paroxetine for only a few months, since February17. I cute my dosage in half for 2 weeks and then I stopped taking in cold turkey... I've been having some withdrawal symptoms, but how long will I go through this ?

    October 12, 2017 at 15:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Dallas

    I have been on aropax since I was 17 I’m
    33 now at first it changed my life but then I put on heaps of weight I sleep all the time .. I’m so tired on a daily basis
    I’ve tried changing medications before but nothing works they seem ok for a while but then I go numb and cry all the time and won’t leave the house aropax has wrecked my life I just wish at 17 I could of got the help needed I might not be this way now ..
    I’ve been on 40mg now on 20mg
    One week ago I went down to half a pill 10mg I have been dizzy and had pins and needles
    I’m very depressed and no longer value life ...
    When I was young I could of done anything with my life but I feel like I’ve waisted away ...
    I have no friends because I’m to tired to call them or hang out with them life just sucks doctors can’t help me

    June 13, 2018 at 02:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mary

      Dallas, you need to seek help. Life always has value. Try exercising too. It has helped me so much in getting off Paxil.

      July 5, 2018 at 14:03 | Report abuse |
  46. Mary

    today is 7/5/2018. I stopped Paxil cold turkey on 6/28/2018 after 12 years of being on 20mg daily. The only withdrawal symptom I have experienced this far is the dizziness/vertigo. Over these years, I've gained almost 40 pounds and lived in a cloud. I could not remember one day to the next. I had no memory span. I couldn't remember dreams. Two nights ago I had a series of three volatile nightmares. Could be a w/d symptom? Not sure. But reading all these comments, I am glad I stopped cold turkey. I could not imagine going through this for months on end, trying to wean off. I increased my exercise and as long as I don't turn my head too fast, I am getting through this. I hope I only have 3-4 more weeks of these symptoms and I can return to a somewhat normal life. I can remember nightly dreams now, which has been over a decade since I could.

    July 5, 2018 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. carol

    I have been on 20 mg of Paxil for 15years and slowly but surely I started to loose my memory small things at first.But now I can't remember said to me 5 min ago.I am coming off this drug one way or the other,hopefully with the help of my neurologist as I have suffered a movement disorder called DISTONIA.If I knew now that one of the symptoms of distonia was Aneixty ,I would never had taken this drug.I am a fighter and suffer a great deal of pain so hopefully I have to look at the positive of coming off this drug.As fives days out of 7 my pain level by the time I go to bed,which is 8 o'clock by the way my pain level can be 10.There is nothing I can do but grin and bear it till my pain killers and CBS OIL kicks in.Wish me luck

    January 26, 2019 at 04:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Lea

    Today is 4/26/2019 I have been on 10 mg Paxil for almost a yr. for anxiety. Before I was put on it I was having dizzy spells and after I started taking it a few months out I started having blackouts. And just continue to got worse in February of this yr I was diagnosed With NES ( non- epileptic seizures ) I do know from my research that Paxil can cause this severe side effects. I’m losing my memory my train of thought etc I wish that I knew about all these side effects before I started this medication. I want off so dang bad so I can ha e some kind of life again. Beside locking myself in my home and sleeping all the time . I haven’t took any Paxil in the last 5 days and I’m not sure if my seizures will get worse but I have to do something Any suggestions would gratefully be helpful

    April 26, 2019 at 15:53 | Report abuse | Reply
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