Paxil® has been a widely used antidepressant for decades. With more than 18 million prescriptions filled annually, Paxil was one of the top five antidepressants prescribed by American doctors in 2007.1 However, in early 2012, GlaxoSmithKline, a British pharmaceutical company, was fined billions of dollars by the U.S. Justice Department for promoting Paxil for unapproved purposes.2 Over the past several years, serious side effects have been reported with the use of this drug.
General information about Paxil
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Paxil in 1992. Known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Paxil is designed to boost the brain’s serotonin levels.3 Serotonin is a naturally occurring chemical in the body that helps lift a person’s mood.
While Paxil has been primarily used as an antidepressant, the drug has other uses as well.4 Doctors have prescribed the medication to patients for:
- Social anxiety disorders
- General anxiety disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
FDA black box warnings
When medications are found to have serious or potentially life-threatening side effects, the FDA requires manufacturers to include “black box warnings" on labels to alert patients.5 In 2007, the agency issued a notice to makers of numerous antidepressants, including Paxil, to update labels6 with black box warnings about the increased risk of suicidal thinking and suicidal behavior in young adults ages 18-24.
Paxil side effects
Use of Paxil may cause many other unpleasant side effects for both adults and children, including:
Risks from withdrawal
Psychological and physical side effects are also linked to withdrawal from paroxetine, an ingredient in Paxil. Suicidal thoughts and depression may occur in addition to flu-like symptoms, pain, dizziness, swelling, “head/brain” shock, and blurred vision.7 These symptoms may last for weeks, months and even years.
Contacting an attorney
If you or a loved one has experienced serious side effects due to use of Paxil or withdrawal from the medication, you may have a legal claim against the manufacturer. In order to understand and protect your legal rights, contact an experienced personal injury, mass tort, or products liability attorney.