Sounds like 'pa-rox-e-teen'

Easy-to-read medicine information about paroxetine – what it is, how to take paroxetine safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine

Also called

  • Antidepressant
  • Belongs to a group of medicines known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Loxamine®
  • Aropax®

What is paroxetine?

  • Paroxetine is a medicine used to treat depression, obsessive compulsive disorder or panic attacks.
  • It works by increasing serotonin, a chemical in the brain, and in this way improves mood and helps you relax.
  • It is one of a group of medicines known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).


  • The dose of paroxetine will be different for different people. Your doctor will usually start you on a low dose and depending on your response, may increase your dose. This allows your body to get used to the medicine and reduces unwanted side effects.
  • Always take your paroxetine exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much paroxetine to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions. 

How to take paroxetine

  • Take paroxetine once a day, in the morning, after breakfast.
  • Limit or avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking paroxetine.
  • If you forget to take your tablet, take it as soon as you remember.
  • But, if it is nearly time for your next, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.
  • Keep taking paroxetine every day. It may take 4 to 6 weeks before you experience the full benefits of paroxetine.
  • Do not stop taking paroxetine suddenly; speak to your doctor or nurse before stopping.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, paroxetine can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Feeling sick (nausea) or vomiting
  • Stomach upset
  • Try taking paroxetine after food
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Try taking paroxetine in the morning
  • Feeling sleepy, drowsy, dizzy or tired
  • Be careful when driving or using tools until you know how this medicine affects you
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Feeling anxious or nervous
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in weight
  • Dry mouth
  • Impaired sexual function
  • These are quite common when you first start taking paroxetine and usually go away with time
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Worsening depression, or unusual changes in mood or behaviour
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116
  • Signs of serotonin syndrome such as feeling agitated and restless, heavy sweating, shivering, fast heart rate or irregular heart beat, headache, diarrhoea and rigid or twitching muscles
  • You are at increased risk of serotonin syndrome if you recently started
    taking paroxetine or recently increased the dose
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116


Paroxetine interacts with a number of medications and herbal supplements so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting paroxetine or before starting any new medicines. 

Learn more

The following links provide further information on paroxetine.

Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet: Aropax 

New Zealand Formulary Patient Information: paroxetine

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Last reviewed: 07 Mar 2015