Antidepressants are medicines that doctors prescribe to treat the symptoms of depression. Data from the period 2005 to 20081 shows that 11 percent of Americans ages 12 and older take antidepressant medication. Patients may take these medicines over the long term. Fourteen percent of Americans using antidepressants do so for more than 10 years. There are a number of different types of antidepressant medicine. Each one has different potential side effects and risks.
How antidepressants work
Paxil®is one of the brand names for the drug paroxetine.2 Other brand names in the United States include Pexeva®and Paxil CR® Paxil is a medicine from the group of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors3 (or SSRIs). Doctors prescribe more SSRIs in the United States than any other type of antidepressant. These drugs can ease symptoms of moderate to severe depression. Studies show that they have fewer side effects than other antidepressants. SSRIs such as Paxil block the process by which the brain absorbs a chemical named serotonin. This boosts the patient’s mood.
Side effects of Paxil
Like other medicines, there are a number of potential side effects4 from Paxil, which commonly include:
- Sexual dysfunction
- Anxiety and irritability
- Dry mouth
While these side effects may be inconvenient, they are generally not serious. However, there are other more serious side effects that may occur in Paxil patients.
Linking Paxil suicide risks in teenagers
Teenagers, children and young adults up to age 24 sometimes became suicidal following the use of Paxil. Teenage suicide statistics show that teens who use antidepressants are generally at higher risk for suicide than older patients. Doctors will not normally prescribe antidepressants to anybody younger than age 18, except in rare circumstances.
In 2007, suicide5 was the third most common cause of death in people ages 15 to 24. In young adults ages 20 to 24, 12.7 people per 100,000 deaths were the result of suicide. Parents and health care providers may be able to spot early suicide warnings in some teens, but this may not always be possible. These early suicide warning signs6 include extreme personality changes, loss of energy, changes in appetite, or poor school performance. Paxil suicide risks are therefore of great concern.
Paxil regulation and recalls
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates all drugs and medicines for use in the market. The FDA has made several steps in response to consumers' and health care professionals’ concerns about the use of Paxil. In October 2004,7 the FDA ordered all manufacturers to add clear warnings to the packaging in antidepressants. These black box labels warn about Paxil suicide risks in adolescents. In 2005, the FDA issued a public health advisory notice warning that Paxil may increase the risk of suicide in teens.
Patients suffering the side effects of Paxil have successfully filed lawsuits against the manufacturer of Paxil. If you or a loved one has suffered complications as a result of using Paxil, you should contact a competent attorney for further advice.