Paxil is prescribed by doctors to treat major depression and other disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress syndrome, social anxiety, and generalized anxiety. It is also used in cases of chronic headaches, bipolar disorder, for tingling in the hands and feet caused by diabetes, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
Of the SSRI medications available, Paxil is one of the most potent. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the United States market in 1992, by 1997 it was the fifth most prescribed anti-depressant drug in the Unites States with more than 18 million prescribed each year.
Like the other SSRI drugs, Paxil side effects include:
And like other SSRIs, some of Paxil’s side effects can be extremely serious. If you experience or have experienced any of the following side effects, immediate medical attention is required.
Balance or coordination problems
Abnormal or racing heart rate
If Paxil is taken by pregnant women, the following may occur, especially if taken during the first trimester:
Septal heart defects
Cleft lip or cleft palate
Hypoplastic heart syndrome, both left and right (HLHS)
Cranial defects (brand and skull)
Persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN)
Paxil now has a black box warning. In 2004, an FDA panel voted to require companies that manufacture antidepressant drugs to add black-box labelling informing users of its risk to the fetus by pregnant users. The FDA also mandated that the labels on Paxil must clearly state that taking the drug increases the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults. The warning also informed that those taking the drug due to issues of depression should be closely monitored for signs of suicidal or other significant behavior changes.
If you have stopped taking Paxil, there are a number of symptoms that you may experience. Some Paxil users may not experience any withdrawal or very minimal withdrawal symptoms while others may experience them full on. Withdrawal symptoms may include:
Headaches and dizziness
Chest pain and/or heart palpitation
If you experience the chest pain, heart palpitations, or have difficulty swallowing, seek medical attention. These symptoms, while reported as rare, are dangerous and should not be ignored.
The approximate number of Paxil users who have filed lawsuits against GlaxoSmithKline since the drug became available is five thousand. Some of these claims were filed in class action lawsuits. Billions of dollars have been paid by the company in resolving the litigation related to Paxil withdrawal, suicides, and birth defects.
The first birth defect case against the drug manufacturer was in October 2009. The Philadelphia jury found that GlaxoSmithKline “negligently failed to warn” doctors about Paxil’s risks when used by pregnant women and that the drug was a “factual cause” of the fatal heart defects her son had. An amount of 2.5 million was awarded, and by July 2010, GlaxoSmithKline had settled approximately eight hundred Paxil birth defect lawsuits at a total estimated cost of 1.14 billion dollars.
Lawsuits can be filed by anyone who used Paxil and suspects that the drug has caused serious side effects or has a child born with serious side effects if the mother used Paxil during her pregnancy. Families who have been affected should contact an experienced and reputable lawsuit attorney to see if they are eligible for lost earnings, pain and suffering and/or any medical treatment(s).