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Side Effects of Quitting Paxil


Paxil is a medication known as a selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor with a variety of uses within the mental health community, including the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, as patients have been noting since the drug came to market, it's not the kind of drug you can take for months or years on end and then stop taking without experiencing some particularly tough and unexpected side effects.

These effects are said to be the result of anticholinergic rebound, or an interruption in an important neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. As the brain and body adapt to this, side effects occur.

These side effects, which seem like drug abuse withdrawal symptoms, have earned a somewhat euphemistic term: SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome

SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome

Some sources suggest that SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome will occur in anywhere from one of four patients to three of four patients taking an SSRI for longer than five weeks. These potential symptoms (as not everyone will experience any or all of them) are as follows:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • The sensation of skin-crawling
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • insomnia
  • Visual disturbances
  • Fever and/or chills
  • Lightheadedness
  • Problems walking
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling easily agitated
  • Problems concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts

Because this can go on for longer than a week (in some cases several weeks), patients should only taper down or stop Paxil under their doctor's supervision.

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