GENERIC NAME: paroxetine
BRAND NAME: Paxil, Paxil CR, Pexeva
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Paroxetine is an oral drug that is used for treating depression. It is in a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class that also contains fluoxetine (Prozac), citalopram (Celexa), and sertraline (Zoloft). Paroxetine affects neurotransmitters, the chemicals that nerves within the brain use to communicate with each other. Neurotransmitters are manufactured and released by nerves and then travel and attach to nearby nerves. Thus, neurotransmitters can be thought of as the communication system of the brain. Serotonin is one neurotransmitter that is released by nerves in the brain. The serotonin either travels across the space that lies between nerves and attaches to receptors on the surface of nearby nerves or it attaches to receptors on the surface of the nerve that produced it, to be taken up by the nerve and released again (a process referred to as re-uptake).
Many experts believe that an imbalance among neurotransmitters is the cause of depression. Paroxetine works by preventing the reuptake of one neurotransmitter, serotonin, by nerve cells after it has been released. Since reuptake is an important mechanism for removing released neurotransmitters and terminating their actions on adjacent nerves, the reduced uptake caused by paroxetine increases free serotonin that stimulates nerve cells in the brain. The FDA approved paroxetine in December 1992.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Paroxetine is used for the management of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD), panic disorders, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and social anxiety disorder.
Quick GuideDepression Hurts: Physical Symptoms of Depression
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.