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i take paxil for social anxiety and i was wondering if there's any scientific research saying it's bad to take longterm? i've read it's a pain to get off of, but is there any reason you shouldn't just take it for life..if your social anxiety is that impairing? thanks
How long have you been on Paxil?

I was on paxil for 5.5 years. Getting off of it was pretty nasty (I had wicked panic attacks), you're right in that. I'm not really sure if I "grew up" or if it was the paxil (I started when I was just turning 21 and stopped when I was 26 1/2), but I found I wasn't "the same" when I stopped taking it and was unmedicated. According to my psychologist the long term effects of anti depressants on personality is somewhat unknown so I think it may be a little of both.

Physically, I found the paxil messed around with my weight (my weight seemingly yo-yo'd on paxil whereas it was pretty stable before hand. when I went off the paxil I was down 10 pounds from my starting weight), and I definitely had some sexual side effects that didn't completely go away after I stopped taking it (again I don't know if it's because I'm almost 30 now and you sex drive tends to change as you age), and I had MAJOR changes in my hair that didn't completely correct itself.

Honestly though, there are much better (and safer) AD's out there. Everyone's different but on paxil I was horribly tired (I could sleep for 30+ hours at a time) and felt numb. I switched to something else after not being on anything for about 8 months and I've never felt better. If it's working for you, great, but keep your options open.

I haven't read any scientific research on the matter, but I'm not sure how many trials are still being done on paxil since it isn't really a new drug.
thanks for your story, I haven't experienced any weight problems *knock on wood* but I've definitely had the sexual side effects..they're AWFUL! Aside from that, I'm content with the drug and I've been on 10mg cr for a year now. I've read about people increasing their dosage it "stopped working" which scares me. Did you ever have to increase your dosage?

what happened to your hair? :eek:

It seems like since paxil [I]isn't[/I] a new drug, they would be able to do a few good longterm studies now.
I am no longer taking Paxil but was on it for 6.5 yrs. I started at 20 mgs. and was down to 10 mgs. prior to stopping it. I also took it for Social Anxiety. I have now been off 10 months and still question whether I should've stopped it. I had (and still have but not as bad) horrible insomnia for months after stopping it and I never experienced that prior to or during treatment. Also, I still don't feel like my body bounced back as far as the sexual side effects go. Furthermore, I'm still anxious in various social settings and most days in general.

I think Paxil can be taken long term. I don't think anyone really knows the long term effects because it's not an old drug, but if you feel better on it than off I'd say stay on it. I know it's easy to think about what could happen from being on Paxil long term but I think that's part of our anxious minds making us fearful!

I tried to switch from Paxil to Zoloft in the end and it didn't work. I got fearful after trying to be switched and not having success with Zoloft so I decided to be on nothing and see how my body did Paxil-free.
whyfish: I started off on 20mgs of paxil and was told by my (quack) psychiatrist at the time I could self medicate up to 60mgs.

I ended up upping my dosage to 40mgs about 3 years into taking paxil because it just wasn't cutting it during times of increased stress (I moved across the country all by myself and knew no one, my job was awful, etc...general stressors that can be a nightmare to those of us suffering from anxiety!). The paxil never stopped working, I just felt I needed more than my original dosage to help with my additional stressors. You're on a low enough dose that it won't be that hard to switch to another AD if you so choose in the future.

Like Colby I don't feel my body ever bounced back from the sexual side effect either. I read somewhere in some research I did on side effects of paxil that there may be a chance it will permanently alter your sex drive/arousal ability to some degree. I'm on wellbutrin now, and I've had absolutely NO sexual side effects. None. I recovered somewhat in that aspect when I was paxil-free, and the wellbutrin hasn't affected me from what I've been like this past 8 months without paxil. My doctor put me on wellbutrin for that very reason (I had been complaining about side effects of paxil and that was a big one for me). I have two friend (both male) who are/were on paxil (20 and 30mg doses) and they had/are having a rougher time with that aspect than I ever had.

Anyway, if you're doing ok on the paxil right now, stick with it. if you find it's not cutting it down the road you could either try something new or up your dosage :)

OH and my hair: it started thinning out on top in the front. I used to have ridiculously thick hair, but it became really fine after taking the paxil. It's starting to thicken up a bit now. I'm not completely sure if it was the paxil, but I'm pretty sure if it was it's a rare side effect, so I wouldn't be too worried (esp since you're on a low dosage: I was on a fairly large dosage myself especially for my body size if that plays into things :P).

Have you looked up any articles in article databases? You might be able to find some studies that way from medical journals. And, there are tons of laymen websites on paxil that should provide some answers (just take them with a grain of salt since they're amateur sites).
i'm verrrry curious about longterm sexual side effects now. i was browsing and i've read complaints, but you HAVE to look at the length taken, some of the patients were reporting one week into my sexual side effects are pretty um, debilitating, to the point where i'd have to consider viagra...which concerns me i'm ONLY on 10 mgs and it has that kind of effect? :confused::confused:

Have you looked up any articles in article databases? You might be able to find some studies that way from medical journals. And, there are tons of laymen websites on paxil that should provide some answers (just take them with a grain of salt since they're amateur sites).[/QUOTE]

yeah im a little overwhelmed as to where to look..i graduated from college so i dont have access to the same resources.
Whyfish: one of the guys I know who took paxil had the same problem you have. He said it wasn't worth it and went off of it. Not sure if he went on something else.

I know I've mentioned it before, but Wellbutrin has a very low risk of sexual side effects (and weight gain!) I don't feel the exact same as when I was on paxil, although I'm on a mid range dosage on wellbutrin as opposed to a high dosage of paxil. If you feel you need more maybe see if wellbutrin could work for you? I haven't had any changes, sexually speaking, from when i was off the paxil while on wellbutrin. Actually, when I say I don't feel the same as when I was on paxil, I have to say I feel more in touch with reality. I'm happier, but i can still experience a wide range of emotions and actually get irritated/mad at something that one should get irritated/mad at. On 40mgs of Paxil NOTHING bothered me and I let a lot of people in my life get away with a lot of things because I just couldn't get mad or feel the need to stand up for myself.
I found that the sexual side effects improved a bit as time went on. At first it was impossible to "finish" but after a few months it got a bit better. Hang in there and see how your body adapts. The reason the sexual side effects are present is because SSRI's (Paxil, etc...) enhance serotonin levels and and suppress dopamine. Reducing dopamine blunts emotions and reduces sex drive.
The SSRIs all have 'sexual side effects'. For me, I'm just as attracted to the same people, but it's harder to get excited inbed and harder still to have an orgasm.

ssri = prozac zoloft paxil luvox celexa lexapro. they work on serotonin.

wellbutrin (aka bupropion) works instead on dopamine. they got some dumb name like SDRI i think. So it's common for a pdoc to put you on an SSRI and Wellbutrin together. But the result isn't quite exactly the same as before, but good enough.
yeah, i'm a bit confused..i tried lexapro which i thought was "better" than paxil and i acted crazy on it. i'm afraid to switch meds, when i tried getting off paxil for 2 weeks i was very very depressed. also even if i switched, who knows i'd probably still encounter the same problems. also i've been on paxil for a year, i can't imagine the sex drastically improving at this point :confused:

would something like viagra help..or would that not even work? *too much information* but not being able to "finish" with someone is the problem and feeling numb...
switching meds: NeVER ever go off an antidepressant cold turkey. You turn into a total troll. SOunds like what happened to you. When I went off paxil, the doctor told me go down to 30mg/day for a week (i started at 40), then the next week go down to 20mg, then 10mg, then 5mg/day. yeah, more than a month to slowly go down. I think this is why teenagers commit suicide sometimes on these meds, they blow them off for a half week or a week and their depression spikes. maturity has its benefits.

And, each of these antidepressants operates on its own wavelength, so you can't for instance swap out 20mg of Paxil and replace it with 20mg of Prozac. The Prozac will take the usual month to ramp up from zero, meanwhile the Paxil dropoff will instantly turn you into one of those Night of the Living Dead zombies.

Lexapro is supposed to be better than Paxil, averaged over all patients. The list of SEs for these drugs is a laundry list of every SE ever suffered by anybody on the drug. Most of them you won't get, and the severity of each you do get is unpredictable until you start on it. So, go by what happened to you, not what it says in the book.

Here is my advice. I took Paxil for 12 years. At 5 years, it became less effective, and so my Pdoc augmented it with a low dose of Buspar. He said that they work well together, which is my experience. That way, I didn't have to increase the Paxil dosage.
The Paxil/Buspar stopped working for me after 12 years, so I started on Zoloft, which gives insomnia, but I guess some side effects are a fact of life with ADs.
No side effects are desireable. It's about what you can tolerate.
When taking Paxil I had restless legs, weight gain and sexual functioning problems. I had a short period after dropping Paxil where I dropped weight, sexual functioning improved a bit, and restless legs ran away.
So no, I don't think the side effects are permanent.

P.S. - I'm learning that daily exercise helps all ADs work better.

Good Luck:)

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