What are the pros and cons of paroxetine?

Paroxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that is commonly used to treat depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. Like any medication, paroxetine has its pros and cons, and it’s important to weigh them carefully before deciding whether or not to use it. In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of paroxetine from an analytical perspective, drawing on relevant studies to support our analysis.

Pros of Paroxetine:

  1. Effective Treatment for Depression and Anxiety

Studies have consistently shown that paroxetine is an effective treatment for depression and anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. In a meta-analysis of 17 randomized controlled trials, paroxetine was shown to be significantly more effective than placebo in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety (Cipriani et al., 2018). This suggests that paroxetine can be a valuable tool for individuals struggling with these mental health conditions.

  1. Fewer Side Effects Compared to Other SSRIs

Compared to other SSRIs, paroxetine has been found to have fewer side effects, especially in terms of sexual dysfunction (Byerly et al., 2013). This is a significant advantage for individuals who are concerned about the potential negative impact of medication on their sexual health. In addition, paroxetine is less likely to cause weight gain than some other SSRIs (Fava et al., 2016), which may be another important consideration for some patients.

  1. Can Improve Sleep Quality

Paroxetine has been shown to improve sleep quality in patients with depression (Nutt et al., 2008). This is an important benefit, as poor sleep quality can exacerbate symptoms of depression and anxiety. By improving sleep, paroxetine may help patients feel more rested and better able to cope with their mental health condition.

Cons of Paroxetine:

  1. Withdrawal Symptoms

One of the most significant drawbacks of paroxetine is the potential for withdrawal symptoms when stopping the medication. These symptoms can include dizziness, nausea, headaches, and other unpleasant side effects (Fava et al., 2015). In some cases, withdrawal symptoms can be severe and long-lasting, which can be distressing for patients. This is particularly important to consider for patients who may need to stop taking paroxetine in the future.

  1. Increased Risk of Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

Like other SSRIs, paroxetine has been associated with an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, particularly in children and young adults (Stone et al., 2009). This risk should be carefully considered when prescribing paroxetine, and patients should be monitored closely for signs of suicidal ideation.

  1. Potential for Drug Interactions

Paroxetine can interact with other medications, such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can increase the risk of negative side effects (Fava et al., 2016). This means that patients taking paroxetine need to be careful about which medications they take, and should always inform their healthcare provider about all the medications they are currently using.


In conclusion, paroxetine is an effective treatment for depression and anxiety disorders, with fewer side effects compared to other SSRIs. It may also improve sleep quality in patients with depression. However, it is important to carefully consider the potential drawbacks of paroxetine, such as withdrawal symptoms, increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and potential for drug interactions. Patients and healthcare providers should work together to determine whether paroxetine is the right choice for treating a particular mental health condition, taking into account both the benefits and risks of the medication.

There are various forms of drugs available, such as tablets or liquids, and each may have a separate patient information leaflet (PIL) for different doses. It is important to refer to the PIL for the specific form and dose of the drug that you have been prescribed.

You can search for further information and PILs on websites such as:

  • The British National Formulary (BNF)
  • Electronic medicines compendium (emc)
  • The National Library of Medicine's DailyMed
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 
  • Different drug forms like tablets or liquids have specific patient information leaflets (PIL) for various doses. Refer to the PIL for your prescribed drug form and dose.

    Search for PILs on websites like:


    • ANSM (Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament et des produits de santé): ansm.sante.fr


    • AEMPS (Agencia Española de Medicamentos y Productos Sanitarios): aemps.gob.es


    • BfArM (Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte): bfarm.de


    For questions about your medication:

    • Consult your doctor, a healthcare professional, or a pharmacist


    • Contact SOS Médecins: 3624
    • For mental health support, contact SOS Suicide: 01 45 39 40 00

    Belgium (French)

    Switzerland (French)

    • La Main Tendue: 143
    • Website: 143.ch

    Canada (French)

    • Centre de prévention du suicide du Québec: 1 866 APPELLE (1 866 277-3553)
    • Website: cpsquebec.ca


    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact Teléfono de la Esperanza: 717 003 717


    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact Telefonseelsorge: 0800 111 0 111 or 0800 111 0 222


    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact Telefono Amico: 199 284 284


    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact 113 Zelfmoordpreventie: 0800 0113


    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact Sos Voz Amiga: 21 354 45 45, 91 280 26 69, or 96 352 46 60

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