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Avatar universal

Paxil Withdrawal

I've tried to get off Paxil recently and had the WORST problems. After researching and talking to people who have gotten off (or tried to get off) of the drug I am horrified that Paxil is still being prescribed. I am also AMAZED that a DOCTOR would actually say that this isn't dangerous, or that it isn't the PAXIL!?!? Are you kidding? How much were you paid to say that? Paxil DID help with my panic attacks. Did not cure or stop them, but helped. Then getting off of it, or trying to was ABSOLUTE HELL! I can't walk because I'm so dizzy I can't keep my balance. My head feels foggy and cloudy. My head also hurts and it feels like someone keeps hammering a nail into my eyes. I cannot read a book or focus on the computer screen. I get confused and do not understand even the simplest of things. I am 27, smart, in shape and fast- paced. When trying to slowly wean off of this drug - I become slow and confused. Also, I become nauseous, the lights around become extremely bright. I cannot stand the lights even in my house. I have to squint and then even cover my eyes. I become emotional -- overly ovely emotional. I become paranoid and scared and start to panic because I see shadows out of the corners of my eyes. Then I try to go to work and I can't correctly hear or understand what people are saying to me. I feel like I'm watching a movie or it is a dream. I start to wonder if I'm losing my mind. I start sweating in my own house (that I always keep at 60 degrees) and have to go outside in the 30 degree weather with a tank top on. That is if I don't fall down the steps from the dizziness or the shocks in my head. I became extremely angry and irratated. So angry that family members suggested that I go to anger management classes. That was before they knew that it was the Paxil. These are just some of the MAIN things I am feeling while slowly slowly weaning off of this drug that was supposed to help me. My doctor that put me on Paxil told me to only stay on it for 1 year. So one year later, this is what's going on. It is happening to everyone trying to wean off of Paxil. If you don't have one symptom, you have the other. And lucky me, I have most of them. I have NO time to take off of work and I worked like this every day until I couldn't take it anymore and went back on Paxil. I read one doctor say that this was a safe drug and there are no withdrawal symptoms and I had to laugh out loud. Please "doctor" try out Paxil for yourself for a year or 2 and then stop taking it. My husband was on Paxil in the army and stopped taking it and got what they call the "Paxil Flu". This is a dangerous drug that has many side effects and many MANY more withdrawal symptoms. You might as well be on heroin and try to get off. If I could go back, I would have never gotten on Paxil. It helped with panic attacks but gave me about 30 other problems. So to sum up.... when on Paxil you get to look forward to gaining weight, making bad decisions and choices that will affect the rest of your life and coming close to death while trying to get off of this drug from HELL!!
P.S. There are documents stating that GSK (the makers of Paxil) knew that there were horrible withdrawal symptoms and hid this fact. So either the doctor's don't know about it or they're lying to us. Either way, this is happening.. it's real and extremely dangerous.
144 Responses
Avatar universal
Hello Dana: I can only say that when I came off Paxil it was like a nightmare.  I did the coming off slowly but my head did not feel like it belonged to me any longer.  I then  did something (instinctively) and that was take Flora brand -  St. John's Wort 420 mg to come off it.  I don't recommend this, but it worked for me.  I stayed on it for 6 months while coming off and it seemed to even me out, pad the landing as I like to say.  If you don't already see a Naturopath, I would recommend that for sure.  I know it costs $, but even if you only go and see them once, it could really save you in the long run.

Good luck and keep us posted.
Avatar universal
I am sorry that you are having withdrawal problems from this.  How fast did you wean off of it?  I only ask this because, when I originally started coming off of an SSRI, I was having unwanted side effects and I went back to the doctor and suggested that maybe I go much slower.  It really minimized the effects and other than a headache and a little naseau, it worked for me.  In my opinion, some GP docs, wean us off of these medications a little too fast...have you tried going back to talking to him/her?
669255 tn?1240460507
ahh this is really scaring me.. i am on paxil right now and have been on it for a few months.. what was your dosage? what were you given as you were being weaned off???

i hope you are doing ok!!
Avatar universal
I only took 10 mg - half of a pill. I was on it for over a year though. Thanks to everybody who responded. These withdrawal's are nasty! Since I was only on a half pill, I started doing it every other day. That didn't work well at all so my doc said to go even slower. Still horrible, so I went slower, slower, slower. I've heard that some people take xanax or prozac while trying to come off of Paxil. Also, the herbal remedies. I don't seem to have much luck with any of them. But every one's different, and will experience different side effects and withdrawals. I've researched a lot and found many people with ALL of the withdrawals and side effects. Good luck to you and be very careful when weaning off! Go as SLOW as possible.
Avatar universal
Just hang in there...it WILL get better as you come off of it. You are doing the right thing by be very proactive in this in my opinion.  
669255 tn?1240460507
I am on 25 mg of Paxil right now, I am going to talk to my doctor about withdrawal symptoms, etc. because I do plan to go off of my medication eventually.. better sooner than later from the sounds of it! I am in therapy now, so I am hoping that I can overcome this through CBT... thank you for your comments!
Avatar universal
Sorry to hear you are having a rough time. Like you say, everyone's different and I personally found paxil a godsend for anxiety. I found the side affects at the beginning worse than the withdrawal ones (bad nausea/hot flushes/burning skin versus some odd visual stuff and intense dreams/nightmares but then anxiety has some pretty terrible symptoms too) Yes, it should  be only taken when absolutely neccessary but I think all those that find the withdrawals ok don't talk about it much and don't post on the internet so the dreadful tales you can read might be a bit of a self-selected group. Not saying some people don't have very bad symptoms but on balance I think paxil is a helpful drug for many many people.

Hope things get easier for you day by day. Take care.
Avatar universal
How are you doing?
763297 tn?1281383025
Hi, I read your post and I definitdely relate. I have been on 30 mg of Paxil for almost a year for bad depression but I have gained about 30-40 lbs and I cannot function daily without 12-16 hours of sleep. I have gone against my doctor's wishes and slowly started to whean myself off of this drug because of these problems. I cannot stand the amount of weight I have put on. I am slowly stopping because I have stopped all of a sudden and experienced the extreme dizziness, nausea, light headedness, blurred vision, hallucinations, and sever headaches. I am cutting my 30 mg pills into 20 mg pieces but not I am going back to the beginning side effects of Paxil where I cannot sleep at all. I now have to take Nyquil to sleep because I constantly toss and turn throught the night. It helps me to hear that I am not alone in my struggles do if you want to talk or just comment please feel free.
246464 tn?1249455747
I switched from Paxil to Lexapro a little over a year ago. I had been on Paxil for 10 years before that.

For the longest time it was near impossible to get a doctor to even admit there was withdrawls  or any problems with paxil. I wish i would have noticed more about my Doctors office. With his paxil note-pad, Paxil Clock on the wall, Paxil tee-shirts and frisbees in the back room, and Paxil pens on every table.

During one visit to his office, he had left the door open from his office and his supply room, where he would meet with Phrarm Reps. One Pfizer Rep was telling my doctor that he was still in the running for 3 free nights at the Pfizer company cabin at Lake Tahoe, if he could get more people prescriptions to Zoloft.

My Doctor then walks in to talk to me. He said he had been going over my chart, and was wondering if perhaps taking me off Lexapro, and putting me on..... (Surprise, Surprise).... Zoloft might be a good idea. I told him no.

So who knows what motivates some of these doctors to do what they do.
Avatar universal
I have never been so miserable in my life. I have been coming down off of Paxil for 6 months. There is no such thing as "weening" off of Paxil. No matter how slow you go, the side effects are still there. I know that I need some type of medication, but am afraid to try anything else for fear of having to go through this hell again. I don't know what to do at this point, it is so bad. It would be so easy to take a pill and "feel better", but I am determined to stop. I have come to far. How long will this last. I honestly don't know how much more of this I can take. I can't be around anyone. The irritability, the headaches, and I even have a jaw ache that is hell. My muscles hurt, and I cannot stop crying. If anyone is contemplating trying Paxil, please do not take it. Horrible. I am just hoping that I will make it through this.
669255 tn?1240460507
Stay strong, hang on, I recently switched from 25 mg to 12.5 and had some symptoms like headaches and shakiness, i know this sounds kind of silly but when i would get more upset from the stress of thie side effects happening i would try doing yoga and stuff... maybe try something like that? i know it doesn't take away from the physical side effects, but it has certainly helped me with the emotional upset about the changes happening
Avatar universal
I am sorry you are all going through such a hard time getting off your medicines.  I know they all have side affects & some withdrawal but I am SO SURPRISED at how freely they give out these meds without warning people.  If you read at all on the internet you can quickly learn about what people are going through when trying to get off SSRI's.  How can the doctors not know or be informed about thes "nightmares" people are experiencing??  I made another appt with my doctor & I have printed out (from the internet) hundreds of people who say they are going through HELL getting off these meds and I will be sure MY doctor knows what people are going through and find out if they are aware.  I think eveyone should mention to their doctors so they are more informed of these dangerous drugs and how they are really affecting REAL people.  I am not saying I am totally against these meds I just think people should know what they are getting into & then they can make an educated decision on whether they think they will benifit in the end.  What we are not told by doctors are the side affects AFTER taking the meds...when it's time to get off.  I sure hope everyone is feeling a little better each day.  I can only imagine what you are going through on top of the anxiety that we all deal with everyday.  
Avatar universal
Yeah, tell me about it.  Neither the doctor who put me on Paxil nor the one who took me off told me anything about withdrawal.  I had to find out what was happening to me on the internet, and I never have recovered.  
Avatar universal
I can soo relate. I have had to quit paxil "cold turkey". I only get pd once a month and the dr. wouldn't send me 15. (enough to last me til pay day) This is day 5! I have been sooooo sick. I have 5 kids at home and work with kids during the day. I have been on paxil for a year. At times I could break down and cry. While other times I am trying not to go into a rage. While the whole time being "sick as a dog." I wish I hadn't taken this drug at all. My dr. put me on it last March for depression. I am worse now than I was then.
Take care.

Avatar universal
Hello I'm 20 years old and have been on paxil for a year iam currently trying to cold turkey quit and as I read slowly getting your self off the pills make no difference... I am currently coming off of them because I just found out I'm 4 weeks pregnante... so without seeing a doctor yet I thought of my child first and said no to any pills.... the side effects suck I get this feeling where my heart skips a beat and my whole body feels tingly I feel attimes like my body goes numb almost wants to put me in a panick attack and the neasues part I'm not sure if its from pregnancy or quitting the pill like iam but I have that too... this medication ***** and I know now to never go back on it... that being all said I guess I wanna know if anyone here knows how long these with drawls last

Avatar universal
You should never quit any of these meds cold turkey.  Go to your psychiatrist and get a tapering schedule.  If he sounds like he doesn't know about tapering, see another shrink.  Slower is better.  You're not anyone else, so no one can tell you how long it'll last.  Some get no withdrawal, some get minor ones, some get bad ones.  I still encourage you to properly taper off it.
685562 tn?1447158831
this is one of the MANY REASONS why I dont like any of the SSRI's or any of the AD's.

visit cchrDOTorg, lots of answers and hope there

All physc meds are dangerous, and based on **** theroy
Everything is from a physical problem, the Docs that dont believe that are just to dumb to properly diagnose.

756668 tn?1287228987
Congrats on your pregnancy!  Good thing you are coming off of Paxil...don't know if your doctor discussed this with you or not, but have you seen the numbers of what this drug can do for birth defects?  The goverment is researching it now.  Alot of people have issues with this drug.  Just keep talking aout it with your doctor I am sure he/she is fully aware of how crappy this med can be, even for anxiety..and they say xanax is bad.  I have always said, all these types of meds have bad withdrawls and side-effects...but then again some of us don't feel anything and no problems while others go through a very hard time.

Wishing you and all the best with Paxil.
Avatar universal
i was prescribed paxil for depression in March 2009 at 20mg the side effects were muscle twitching so I reduced to 10mg after 4 weeks and then after 2 weeks on 10mg i didnt take anymore.  ive been thru hell and am still in it ive aged 20yrs in 18weeks my muscles are wasting and i think im gonna die soon im only 59yrs and was fit in March      i dont sleep and i get weaker everyday i cant eat sleep or concentrate  now ive been prescribed pregabalin  i darent take it it will finish me off.  has anyone ever survived paxil discontinuation ?
Avatar universal
I have been on Paxil for 2 years and found the results to be great however I am currently unemployed and went off the Paxil cold turkey becaus of the financial difficulty. I am going through "Paxil Withdrawals" just like everyone on here has said. I have the vertigo, the electric zaps, the headaches and the emotional ups and downs. I feel like I am not even in my own body sometimes. The problem I am having is with my boyfriend. He does not understand why I am "not acting like myself" and is getting frustrated with me because he does not know how to help me. Can anyone help me explain this to him to prevent this from ruining our relationship??????
Avatar universal
Put him on the internet, type in Paxil withdrawal, and make him sit there and read.  And why would you ever go off this med cold turkey?  Why does anyone still do this after all the lawsuits and revelations and ten years of publicity?
Avatar universal
I had to go cold turkey because i do not have the money to have it filled. I have never heard of the lawsuits or withdrawal issues until i started to experience it and went googling. This is all very new to me because i never experienced any trouble with paxil in the two years i have taken it.
Avatar universal
It costs very little to fill a generic Paxil prescription.  It's been off patent for years.  Money is not the issue here.  Whoever called it in for you before will probably call it in for you for free; I know my old psychiatrist did when I lost my health insurance.  I hope this goes well for you, but if you find you do need to go back on it, finding a way should be doable.
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