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Medications: Paxil® – paroxetine

MEDICATIONS

Paxil® – paroxetine (View the FDA label)

Major Depressive Disorder: PAXIL is indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder.

The efficacy of PAXIL in the treatment of a major depressive episode was established in 6-week controlled trials of outpatients whose diagnoses corresponded most closely to the DSM-III category of major depressive disorder (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Clinical Trials). A major depressive episode implies a prominent and relatively persistent depressed or dysphoric mood that usually interferes with daily functioning (nearly every day for at least 2 weeks); it should include at least 4 of the following 8 symptoms: Change in appetite, change in sleep, psychomotor agitation or retardation, loss of interest in usual activities or decrease in sexual drive, increased fatigue, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, slowed thinking or impaired concentration, and a suicide attempt or suicidal ideation.

The effects of PAXIL in hospitalized depressed patients have not been adequately studied.

The efficacy of PAXIL in maintaining a response in major depressive disorder for up to 1 year was demonstrated in a placebo-controlled trial (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Clinical Trials). Nevertheless, the physician who elects to use PAXIL for extended periods should periodically re-evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: PAXIL is indicated for the treatment of obsessions and compulsions in patients with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) as defined in the DSM-IV. The obsessions or compulsions cause marked distress, are time-consuming, or significantly interfere with social or occupational functioning.

The efficacy of PAXIL was established in two 12-week trials with obsessive compulsive outpatients whose diagnoses corresponded most closely to the DSM-IIIR category of obsessive compulsive disorder (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Clinical Trials).

Obsessive compulsive disorder is characterized by recurrent and persistent ideas, thoughts, impulses, or images (obsessions) that are ego-dystonic and/or repetitive, purposeful, and intentional behaviors (compulsions) that are recognized by the person as excessive or
unreasonable.

Long-term maintenance of efficacy was demonstrated in a 6-month relapse prevention trial. In this trial, patients assigned to paroxetine showed a lower relapse rate compared to patients on placebo (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Clinical Trials). Nevertheless, the physician who elects to use PAXIL for extended periods should periodically re-evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Panic Disorder: PAXIL is indicated for the treatment of panic disorder, with or without agoraphobia, as defined in DSM-IV. Panic disorder is characterized by the occurrence of unexpected panic attacks and associated concern about having additional attacks, worry about the implications or consequences of the attacks, and/or a significant change in behavior related to the attacks.

The efficacy of PAXIL was established in three 10- to 12-week trials in panic disorder patients whose diagnoses corresponded to the DSM-IIIR category of panic disorder (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Clinical Trials).

Panic disorder (DSM-IV) is characterized by recurrent unexpected panic attacks, i.e., a discrete period of intense fear or discomfort in which 4 (or more) of the following symptoms develop abruptly and reach a peak within 10 minutes: (1) palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate; (2) sweating; (3) trembling or shaking; (4) sensations of shortness of breath or smothering; (5) feeling of choking; (6) chest pain or discomfort; (7) nausea or abdominal distress; (8) feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint; (9) derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself); (10) fear of losing control; (11) fear of dying; (12) paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations); (13) chills or hot flushes.

Long-term maintenance of efficacy was demonstrated in a 3-month relapse prevention trial. In this trial, patients with panic disorder assigned to paroxetine demonstrated a lower relapse rate compared to patients on placebo (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Clinical Trials). Nevertheless, the physician who prescribes PAXIL for extended periods should periodically re-evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Social Anxiety Disorder: PAXIL is indicated for the treatment of social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, as defined in DSM-IV (300.23). Social anxiety disorder is characterized by a marked and persistent fear of 1 or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others. Exposure to the feared situation almost invariably provokes anxiety, which may approach the intensity of a panic attack. The feared situations are avoided or endured with intense anxiety or distress. The avoidance, anxious anticipation, or distress in the feared situation(s) interferes significantly with the person’s normal routine, occupational or academic functioning, or social activities or relationships, or there is marked distress about having the phobias. Lesser degrees of performance anxiety or shyness generally do not require psychopharmacological treatment.

The efficacy of PAXIL was established in three 12-week trials in adult patients with social anxiety disorder (DSM-IV). PAXIL has not been studied in children or adolescents with social phobia (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Clinical Trials).

The effectiveness of PAXIL in long-term treatment of social anxiety disorder, i.e., for more than 12 weeks, has not been systematically evaluated in adequate and well-controlled trials. Therefore, the physician who elects to prescribe PAXIL for extended periods should periodically re-evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: PAXIL is indicated for the treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), as defined in DSM-IV. Anxiety or tension associated with the stress of everyday life usually does not require treatment with an anxiolytic.

The efficacy of PAXIL in the treatment of GAD was established in two 8-week placebo-controlled trials in adults with GAD. PAXIL has not been studied in children or adolescents with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Clinical Trials).

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (DSM-IV) is characterized by excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation) that is persistent for at least 6 months and which the person finds difficult to control. It must be associated with at least 3 of the following 6 symptoms: Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge, being easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating or mind going blank, irritability, muscle tension, sleep disturbance.

The efficacy of PAXIL in maintaining a response in patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, who responded during an 8-week acute treatment phase while taking PAXIL and were
then observed for relapse during a period of up to 24 weeks, was demonstrated in a placebo controlled trial (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Clinical Trials). Nevertheless, the physician who elects to use PAXIL for extended periods should periodically re-evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: PAXIL is indicated for the treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The efficacy of PAXIL in the treatment of PTSD was established in two 12-week placebo controlled trials in adults with PTSD (DSM-IV) (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Clinical Trials).

PTSD, as defined by DSM-IV, requires exposure to a traumatic event that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or threat to the physical integrity of self or others, and a response that involves intense fear, helplessness, or horror. Symptoms that occur as a result of exposure to the traumatic event include reexperiencing of the event in the form of intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, or dreams, and intense psychological distress and physiological reactivity on exposure to cues to the event; avoidance of situations reminiscent of the traumatic event, inability to recall details of the event, and/or numbing of general responsiveness manifested as diminished interest in significant activities, estrangement from others, restricted range of affect, or sense of foreshortened future; and symptoms of autonomic arousal including hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response, sleep disturbance, impaired concentration, and irritability or outbursts of anger. A PTSD diagnosis requires that the symptoms are present for at least a month and that they cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

The efficacy of PAXIL in longer-term treatment of PTSD, i.e., for more than 12 weeks, has not been systematically evaluated in placebo-controlled trials. Therefore, the physician who elects to prescribe PAXIL for extended periods should periodically re-evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

PAXIL and other antidepressant medicines may cause serious side effects, including:

  1. Suicidal thoughts or actions:
    • PAXIL and other antidepressant medicines may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in some children, teenagers, or young adults within the first few months of treatment or when the dose is changed.
    • Depression or other serious mental illnesses are the most important causes of suicidal thoughts or actions.
    • Watch for these changes and call your healthcare provider right away if you notice:
      • New or sudden changes in mood, behavior, actions, thoughts, or feelings, especially if severe.
      • Pay particular attention to such changes when PAXIL is started or when the dose is changed.

Keep all follow-up visits with your healthcare provider and call between visits if you are worried about symptoms.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms, or call 911 if an emergency, especially if they are new, worse, or worry you:

  • attempts to commit suicide
  • acting on dangerous impulses
  • acting aggressive or violent
  • thoughts about suicide or dying
  • new or worse depression
  • new or worse anxiety or panic attacks
  • feeling agitated, restless, angry, or irritable
  • trouble sleeping
  • an increase in activity or talking more than what is normal for you
  • other unusual changes in behavior or mood

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms, or call 911 if an emergency. PAXIL may be associated with these serious side effects:

  1. Serotonin Syndrome or Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome-like reactions. This condition can be life-threatening and may include: 
    • agitation, hallucinations, coma, or other changes in mental status
    • coordination problems or muscle twitching (overactive reflexes)
    • racing heartbeat, high or low blood pressure
    • sweating or fever
    • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
    • muscle rigidity
  2. Severe allergic reactions:
    • trouble breathing
    • swelling of the face, tongue, eyes, or mouth
    • rash, itchy welts (hives), or blisters, alone or with fever or joint pain
  3. Abnormal bleeding: PAXIL and other antidepressant medicines may increase your risk of bleeding or bruising, especially if you take the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs, like ibuprofen or naproxen), or aspirin.
  4. Seizures or convulsions
  5. Manic episodes:
    • greatly increased energy
    • severe trouble sleeping
    • racing thoughts
    • reckless behavior
    • unusually grand ideas
    • excessive happiness or irritability
    • talking more or faster than usual
  6. Changes in appetite or weight. Children and adolescents should have height and weight monitored during treatment.
  7. Low salt (sodium) levels in the blood. Elderly people may be at greater risk for this.
    Symptoms may include:

    • headache
    • weakness or feeling unsteady
    • confusion, problems concentrating or thinking, or memory problems

Do not stop PAXIL without first talking to your healthcare provider. Stopping PAXIL too quickly may cause serious symptoms including:

  • anxiety, irritability, high or low mood, feeling restless, or changes in sleep habits
  • headache, sweating, nausea, dizziness
  • electric shock-like sensations, shaking, confusion

General: Activation of Mania/Hypomania: During premarketing testing, hypomania or mania occurred in approximately 1.0% of unipolar patients treated with PAXIL compared to 1.1% of active-control and 0.3% of placebo-treated unipolar patients. In a subset of patients classified as bipolar, the rate of manic episodes was 2.2% for PAXIL and 11.6% for the combined active-control groups. As with all drugs effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder, PAXIL should be used cautiously in patients with a history of mania.

Seizures: During premarketing testing, seizures occurred in 0.1% of patients treated with PAXIL, a rate similar to that associated with other drugs effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder. PAXIL should be used cautiously in patients with a history of seizures. It should be discontinued in any patient who develops seizures.

Discontinuation of Treatment With PAXIL: Recent clinical trials supporting the various approved indications for PAXIL employed a taper-phase regimen, rather than an abrupt discontinuation of treatment. The taper-phase regimen used in GAD and PTSD clinical trials involved an incremental decrease in the daily dose by 10 mg/day at weekly intervals. When a daily dose of 20 mg/day was reached, patients were continued on this dose for 1 week before treatment was stopped.

With this regimen in those studies, the following adverse events were reported at an incidence of 2% or greater for PAXIL and were at least twice that reported for placebo: Abnormal dreams, paresthesia, and dizziness. In the majority of patients, these events were mild to moderate and were self-limiting and did not require medical intervention.

During marketing of PAXIL and other SSRIs and SNRIs, there have been spontaneous reports of adverse events occurring upon the discontinuation of these drugs (particularly when abrupt), including the following: Dysphoric mood, irritability, agitation, dizziness, sensory disturbances (e.g., paresthesias such as electric shock sensations and tinnitus), anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy, emotional lability, insomnia, and hypomania. While these events are generally self­ limiting, there have been reports of serious discontinuation symptoms.

Patients should be monitored for these symptoms when discontinuing treatment with PAXIL. A gradual reduction in the dose rather than abrupt cessation is recommended whenever possible. If intolerable symptoms occur following a decrease in the dose or upon discontinuation of treatment, then resuming the previously prescribed dose may be considered. Subsequently, the physician may continue decreasing the dose but at a more gradual rate (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRA TION).

See also PRECAUTIONS: Pediatric Use, for adverse events reported upon discontinuation of treatment with PAXIL in pediatric patients.

Tamoxifen: Some studies have shown that the efficacy of tamoxifen, as measured by the risk of breast cancer relapse/mortality, may be reduced when co-prescribed with paroxetine as a result of paroxetine’s irreversible inhibition of CYP2D6 (see Drug Interactions). However, other studies have failed to demonstrate such a risk. It is uncertain whether the coadministration of paroxetine and tamoxifen has a significant adverse effect on the efficacy of tamoxifen. One study suggests that the risk may increase with longer duration of coadministration. When tamoxifen is used for the treatment or prevention of breast cancer, prescribers should consider using an alternative antidepressant with little or no CYP2D6 inhibition.

Akathisia: The use of paroxetine or other SSRIs has been associated with the development of akathisia, which is characterized by an inner sense of restlessness and psychomotor agitation such as an inability to sit or stand still usually associated with subjective distress. This is most likely to occur within the first few weeks of treatment.

Hyponatremia: Hyponatremia may occur as a result of treatment with SSRIs and SNRIs, including PAXIL. In many cases, this hyponatremia appears to be the result of the syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH). Cases with serum sodium lower than 110 mmol/L have been reported. Elderly patients may be at greater risk of developing hyponatremia with SSRIs and SNRIs. Also, patients taking diuretics or who are otherwise volume depleted may be at greater risk (see PRECAUTIONS: Geriatric Use). Discontinuation of PAXIL should be considered in patients with symptomatic hyponatremia and appropriate medical intervention should be instituted.

Signs and symptoms of hyponatremia include headache, difficulty concentrating, memory impairment, confusion, weakness, and unsteadiness, which may lead to falls. Signs and symptoms associated with more severe and/or acute cases have included hallucination, syncope, seizure, coma, respiratory arrest, and death.

Abnormal Bleeding: SSRIs and SNRIs, including paroxetine, may increase the risk of bleeding events. Concomitant use of aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, warfarin, and other anticoagulants may add to this risk. Case reports and epidemiological studies (case-control and cohort design) have demonstrated an association between use of drugs that interfere with serotonin reuptake and the occurrence of gastrointestinal bleeding. Bleeding events related to SSRIs and SNRIs use have ranged from ecchymoses, hematomas, epistaxis, and petechiae to life-threatening hemorrhages. Patients should be cautioned about the risk of bleeding associated with the concomitant use of paroxetine and NSAIDs, aspirin, or other drugs that affect coagulation.

Bone Fracture: Epidemiological studies on bone fracture risk following exposure to some antidepressants, including SSRIs, have reported an association between antidepressant treatment and fractures. There are multiple possible causes for this observation and it is unknown to what extent fracture risk is directly attributable to SSRI treatment. The possibility of a pathological fracture, that is, a fracture produced by minimal trauma in a patient with decreased bone mineral density, should be considered in patients treated with paroxetine who present with unexplained bone pain, point tenderness, swelling, or bruising.

Use in Patients With Concomitant Illness: Clinical experience with PAXIL in patients with certain concomitant systemic illness is limited. Caution is advisable in using PAXIL in patients with diseases or conditions that could affect metabolism or hemodynamic responses.

As with other SSRIs, mydriasis has been infrequently reported in premarketing studies with PAXIL. A few cases of acute angle closure glaucoma associated with paroxetine therapy have been reported in the literature. As mydriasis can cause acute angle closure in patients with narrow angle glaucoma, caution should be used when PAXIL is prescribed for patients with narrow angle glaucoma.

PAXIL has not been evaluated or used to any appreciable extent in patients with a recent history of myocardial infarction or unstable heart disease. Patients with these diagnoses were excluded from clinical studies during the product’s premarket testing. Evaluation of electrocardiograms of 682 patients who received PAXIL in double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, however, did not indicate that PAXIL is associated with the development of significant ECG abnormalities. Similarly, PAXIL does not cause any clinically important changes in heart rate or blood pressure.

Increased plasma concentrations of paroxetine occur in patients with severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance <30 mL/min.) or severe hepatic impairment. A lower starting dose should be used in such patients (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Tryptophan: As with other serotonin reuptake inhibitors, an interaction between paroxetine and tryptophan may occur when they are coadministered. Adverse experiences, consisting primarily of headache, nausea, sweating, and dizziness, have been reported when tryptophan was administered to patients taking PAXIL. Consequently, concomitant use of PAXIL with tryptophan is not recommended (see WARNINGS: Serotonin Syndrome).

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors: See CONTRAINDICATIONS and WARNINGS.

Pimozide: In a controlled study of healthy volunteers, after PAXIL was titrated to 60 mg daily, co-administration of a single dose of 2 mg pimozide was associated with mean increases in pimozide AUC of 151% and Cmax of 62%, compared to pimozide administered alone. The increase in pimozide AUC and Cmax is due to the CYP2D6 inhibitory properties of paroxetine. Due to the narrow therapeutic index of pimozide and its known ability to prolong the QT interval, concomitant use of pimozide and PAXIL is contraindicated (see CONTRAINDICATIONS).

Serotonergic Drugs: Based on the mechanism of action of SNRIs and SSRIs, including paroxetine hydrochloride, and the potential for serotonin syndrome, caution is advised when PAXIL is coadministered with other drugs that may affect the serotonergic neurotransmitter systems, such as triptans, lithium, fentanyl, tramadol, or St. John’s Wort (see WARNINGS: Serotonin Syndrome). The concomitant use of PAXIL with MAOIs (including linezolid and intravenous methylene blue) is contraindicated (see CONTRAINDICATIONS).

The concomitant use of PAXIL with other SSRIs, SNRIs or tryptophan is not recommended (see PRECAUTIONS: Drug Interactions: Tryptophan).

Thioridazine: See CONTRAINDICATIONS and WARNINGS.

Warfarin: Preliminary data suggest that there may be a pharmacodynamic interaction (that causes an increased bleeding diathesis in the face of unaltered prothrombin time) between paroxetine and warfarin. Since there is little clinical experience, the concomitant administration of PAXIL and warfarin should be undertaken with caution (see PRECAUTIONS: Drugs That Interfere With Hemostasis).

Triptans: There have been rare postmarketing reports of serotonin syndrome with the use of an SSRI and a triptan. If concomitant use of PAXIL with a triptan is clinically warranted, careful observation of the patient is advised, particularly during treatment initiation and dose increases (see WARNINGS: Serotonin Syndrome).

Human Experience:
Since the introduction of PAXIL in the United States, 342 spontaneous cases of deliberate or accidental overdosage during paroxetine treatment have been reported worldwide (circa 1999). These include overdoses with paroxetine alone and in combination with other substances. Of these, 48 cases were fatal and of the fatalities, 17 appeared to involve paroxetine alone. Eight fatal cases that documented the amount of paroxetine ingested were generally confounded by the ingestion of other drugs or alcohol or the presence of significant comorbid conditions. Of 145 non-fatal cases with known outcome, most recovered without sequelae. The largest known ingestion involved 2,000 mg of paroxetine (33 times the maximum recommended daily dose) in a patient who recovered.

Commonly reported adverse events associated with paroxetine overdosage include somnolence, coma, nausea, tremor, tachycardia, confusion, vomiting, and dizziness. Other notable signs and symptoms observed with overdoses involving paroxetine (alone or with other substances) include mydriasis, convulsions (including status epilepticus), ventricular dysrhythmias (including torsade de pointes), hypertension, aggressive reactions, syncope, hypotension, stupor, bradycardia, dystonia, rhabdomyolysis, symptoms of hepatic dysfunction (including hepatic failure, hepatic necrosis, jaundice, hepatitis, and hepatic steatosis), serotonin syndrome, manic reactions, myoclonus, acute renal failure, and urinary retention.

Overdosage Management:
No specific antidotes for paroxetine are known. Treatment should consist of those general measures employed in the management of overdosage with any drugs effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder.

Ensure an adequate airway, oxygenation, and ventilation. Monitor cardiac rhythm and vital signs. General supportive and symptomatic measures are also recommended. Induction of emesis is not recommended. Due to the large volume of distribution of this drug, forced diuresis, dialysis, hemoperfusion, or exchange transfusion are unlikely to be of benefit.

A specific caution involves patients who are taking or have recently taken paroxetine who might ingest excessive quantities of a tricyclic antidepressant. In such a case, accumulation of the parent tricyclic and/or an active metabolite may increase the possibility of clinically significant sequelae and extend the time needed for close medical observation (see PRECAUTIONS: Drugs Metabolized by Cytochrome CYP2D6).

In managing overdosage, consider the possibility of multiple drug involvement. The physician should consider contacting a poison control center for additional information on the treatment of any overdose. Telephone numbers for certified poison control centers are listed in the Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR).

Uses

Major Depressive Disorder: PAXIL is indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder.

The efficacy of PAXIL in the treatment of a major depressive episode was established in 6-week controlled trials of outpatients whose diagnoses corresponded most closely to the DSM-III category of major depressive disorder (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Clinical Trials). A major depressive episode implies a prominent and relatively persistent depressed or dysphoric mood that usually interferes with daily functioning (nearly every day for at least 2 weeks); it should include at least 4 of the following 8 symptoms: Change in appetite, change in sleep, psychomotor agitation or retardation, loss of interest in usual activities or decrease in sexual drive, increased fatigue, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, slowed thinking or impaired concentration, and a suicide attempt or suicidal ideation.

The effects of PAXIL in hospitalized depressed patients have not been adequately studied.

The efficacy of PAXIL in maintaining a response in major depressive disorder for up to 1 year was demonstrated in a placebo-controlled trial (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Clinical Trials). Nevertheless, the physician who elects to use PAXIL for extended periods should periodically re-evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: PAXIL is indicated for the treatment of obsessions and compulsions in patients with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) as defined in the DSM-IV. The obsessions or compulsions cause marked distress, are time-consuming, or significantly interfere with social or occupational functioning.

The efficacy of PAXIL was established in two 12-week trials with obsessive compulsive outpatients whose diagnoses corresponded most closely to the DSM-IIIR category of obsessive compulsive disorder (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Clinical Trials).

Obsessive compulsive disorder is characterized by recurrent and persistent ideas, thoughts, impulses, or images (obsessions) that are ego-dystonic and/or repetitive, purposeful, and intentional behaviors (compulsions) that are recognized by the person as excessive or
unreasonable.

Long-term maintenance of efficacy was demonstrated in a 6-month relapse prevention trial. In this trial, patients assigned to paroxetine showed a lower relapse rate compared to patients on placebo (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Clinical Trials). Nevertheless, the physician who elects to use PAXIL for extended periods should periodically re-evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Panic Disorder: PAXIL is indicated for the treatment of panic disorder, with or without agoraphobia, as defined in DSM-IV. Panic disorder is characterized by the occurrence of unexpected panic attacks and associated concern about having additional attacks, worry about the implications or consequences of the attacks, and/or a significant change in behavior related to the attacks.

The efficacy of PAXIL was established in three 10- to 12-week trials in panic disorder patients whose diagnoses corresponded to the DSM-IIIR category of panic disorder (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Clinical Trials).

Panic disorder (DSM-IV) is characterized by recurrent unexpected panic attacks, i.e., a discrete period of intense fear or discomfort in which 4 (or more) of the following symptoms develop abruptly and reach a peak within 10 minutes: (1) palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate; (2) sweating; (3) trembling or shaking; (4) sensations of shortness of breath or smothering; (5) feeling of choking; (6) chest pain or discomfort; (7) nausea or abdominal distress; (8) feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint; (9) derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself); (10) fear of losing control; (11) fear of dying; (12) paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations); (13) chills or hot flushes.

Long-term maintenance of efficacy was demonstrated in a 3-month relapse prevention trial. In this trial, patients with panic disorder assigned to paroxetine demonstrated a lower relapse rate compared to patients on placebo (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Clinical Trials). Nevertheless, the physician who prescribes PAXIL for extended periods should periodically re-evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Social Anxiety Disorder: PAXIL is indicated for the treatment of social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, as defined in DSM-IV (300.23). Social anxiety disorder is characterized by a marked and persistent fear of 1 or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others. Exposure to the feared situation almost invariably provokes anxiety, which may approach the intensity of a panic attack. The feared situations are avoided or endured with intense anxiety or distress. The avoidance, anxious anticipation, or distress in the feared situation(s) interferes significantly with the person’s normal routine, occupational or academic functioning, or social activities or relationships, or there is marked distress about having the phobias. Lesser degrees of performance anxiety or shyness generally do not require psychopharmacological treatment.

The efficacy of PAXIL was established in three 12-week trials in adult patients with social anxiety disorder (DSM-IV). PAXIL has not been studied in children or adolescents with social phobia (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Clinical Trials).

The effectiveness of PAXIL in long-term treatment of social anxiety disorder, i.e., for more than 12 weeks, has not been systematically evaluated in adequate and well-controlled trials. Therefore, the physician who elects to prescribe PAXIL for extended periods should periodically re-evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: PAXIL is indicated for the treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), as defined in DSM-IV. Anxiety or tension associated with the stress of everyday life usually does not require treatment with an anxiolytic.

The efficacy of PAXIL in the treatment of GAD was established in two 8-week placebo-controlled trials in adults with GAD. PAXIL has not been studied in children or adolescents with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Clinical Trials).

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (DSM-IV) is characterized by excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation) that is persistent for at least 6 months and which the person finds difficult to control. It must be associated with at least 3 of the following 6 symptoms: Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge, being easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating or mind going blank, irritability, muscle tension, sleep disturbance.

The efficacy of PAXIL in maintaining a response in patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, who responded during an 8-week acute treatment phase while taking PAXIL and were
then observed for relapse during a period of up to 24 weeks, was demonstrated in a placebo controlled trial (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Clinical Trials). Nevertheless, the physician who elects to use PAXIL for extended periods should periodically re-evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: PAXIL is indicated for the treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The efficacy of PAXIL in the treatment of PTSD was established in two 12-week placebo controlled trials in adults with PTSD (DSM-IV) (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Clinical Trials).

PTSD, as defined by DSM-IV, requires exposure to a traumatic event that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or threat to the physical integrity of self or others, and a response that involves intense fear, helplessness, or horror. Symptoms that occur as a result of exposure to the traumatic event include reexperiencing of the event in the form of intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, or dreams, and intense psychological distress and physiological reactivity on exposure to cues to the event; avoidance of situations reminiscent of the traumatic event, inability to recall details of the event, and/or numbing of general responsiveness manifested as diminished interest in significant activities, estrangement from others, restricted range of affect, or sense of foreshortened future; and symptoms of autonomic arousal including hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response, sleep disturbance, impaired concentration, and irritability or outbursts of anger. A PTSD diagnosis requires that the symptoms are present for at least a month and that they cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

The efficacy of PAXIL in longer-term treatment of PTSD, i.e., for more than 12 weeks, has not been systematically evaluated in placebo-controlled trials. Therefore, the physician who elects to prescribe PAXIL for extended periods should periodically re-evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Side Effects

PAXIL and other antidepressant medicines may cause serious side effects, including:

  1. Suicidal thoughts or actions:
    • PAXIL and other antidepressant medicines may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in some children, teenagers, or young adults within the first few months of treatment or when the dose is changed.
    • Depression or other serious mental illnesses are the most important causes of suicidal thoughts or actions.
    • Watch for these changes and call your healthcare provider right away if you notice:
      • New or sudden changes in mood, behavior, actions, thoughts, or feelings, especially if severe.
      • Pay particular attention to such changes when PAXIL is started or when the dose is changed.

Keep all follow-up visits with your healthcare provider and call between visits if you are worried about symptoms.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms, or call 911 if an emergency, especially if they are new, worse, or worry you:

  • attempts to commit suicide
  • acting on dangerous impulses
  • acting aggressive or violent
  • thoughts about suicide or dying
  • new or worse depression
  • new or worse anxiety or panic attacks
  • feeling agitated, restless, angry, or irritable
  • trouble sleeping
  • an increase in activity or talking more than what is normal for you
  • other unusual changes in behavior or mood

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms, or call 911 if an emergency. PAXIL may be associated with these serious side effects:

  1. Serotonin Syndrome or Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome-like reactions. This condition can be life-threatening and may include: 
    • agitation, hallucinations, coma, or other changes in mental status
    • coordination problems or muscle twitching (overactive reflexes)
    • racing heartbeat, high or low blood pressure
    • sweating or fever
    • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
    • muscle rigidity
  2. Severe allergic reactions:
    • trouble breathing
    • swelling of the face, tongue, eyes, or mouth
    • rash, itchy welts (hives), or blisters, alone or with fever or joint pain
  3. Abnormal bleeding: PAXIL and other antidepressant medicines may increase your risk of bleeding or bruising, especially if you take the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs, like ibuprofen or naproxen), or aspirin.
  4. Seizures or convulsions
  5. Manic episodes:
    • greatly increased energy
    • severe trouble sleeping
    • racing thoughts
    • reckless behavior
    • unusually grand ideas
    • excessive happiness or irritability
    • talking more or faster than usual
  6. Changes in appetite or weight. Children and adolescents should have height and weight monitored during treatment.
  7. Low salt (sodium) levels in the blood. Elderly people may be at greater risk for this.
    Symptoms may include:

    • headache
    • weakness or feeling unsteady
    • confusion, problems concentrating or thinking, or memory problems

Do not stop PAXIL without first talking to your healthcare provider. Stopping PAXIL too quickly may cause serious symptoms including:

  • anxiety, irritability, high or low mood, feeling restless, or changes in sleep habits
  • headache, sweating, nausea, dizziness
  • electric shock-like sensations, shaking, confusion
Precautions

General: Activation of Mania/Hypomania: During premarketing testing, hypomania or mania occurred in approximately 1.0% of unipolar patients treated with PAXIL compared to 1.1% of active-control and 0.3% of placebo-treated unipolar patients. In a subset of patients classified as bipolar, the rate of manic episodes was 2.2% for PAXIL and 11.6% for the combined active-control groups. As with all drugs effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder, PAXIL should be used cautiously in patients with a history of mania.

Seizures: During premarketing testing, seizures occurred in 0.1% of patients treated with PAXIL, a rate similar to that associated with other drugs effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder. PAXIL should be used cautiously in patients with a history of seizures. It should be discontinued in any patient who develops seizures.

Discontinuation of Treatment With PAXIL: Recent clinical trials supporting the various approved indications for PAXIL employed a taper-phase regimen, rather than an abrupt discontinuation of treatment. The taper-phase regimen used in GAD and PTSD clinical trials involved an incremental decrease in the daily dose by 10 mg/day at weekly intervals. When a daily dose of 20 mg/day was reached, patients were continued on this dose for 1 week before treatment was stopped.

With this regimen in those studies, the following adverse events were reported at an incidence of 2% or greater for PAXIL and were at least twice that reported for placebo: Abnormal dreams, paresthesia, and dizziness. In the majority of patients, these events were mild to moderate and were self-limiting and did not require medical intervention.

During marketing of PAXIL and other SSRIs and SNRIs, there have been spontaneous reports of adverse events occurring upon the discontinuation of these drugs (particularly when abrupt), including the following: Dysphoric mood, irritability, agitation, dizziness, sensory disturbances (e.g., paresthesias such as electric shock sensations and tinnitus), anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy, emotional lability, insomnia, and hypomania. While these events are generally self­ limiting, there have been reports of serious discontinuation symptoms.

Patients should be monitored for these symptoms when discontinuing treatment with PAXIL. A gradual reduction in the dose rather than abrupt cessation is recommended whenever possible. If intolerable symptoms occur following a decrease in the dose or upon discontinuation of treatment, then resuming the previously prescribed dose may be considered. Subsequently, the physician may continue decreasing the dose but at a more gradual rate (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRA TION).

See also PRECAUTIONS: Pediatric Use, for adverse events reported upon discontinuation of treatment with PAXIL in pediatric patients.

Tamoxifen: Some studies have shown that the efficacy of tamoxifen, as measured by the risk of breast cancer relapse/mortality, may be reduced when co-prescribed with paroxetine as a result of paroxetine’s irreversible inhibition of CYP2D6 (see Drug Interactions). However, other studies have failed to demonstrate such a risk. It is uncertain whether the coadministration of paroxetine and tamoxifen has a significant adverse effect on the efficacy of tamoxifen. One study suggests that the risk may increase with longer duration of coadministration. When tamoxifen is used for the treatment or prevention of breast cancer, prescribers should consider using an alternative antidepressant with little or no CYP2D6 inhibition.

Akathisia: The use of paroxetine or other SSRIs has been associated with the development of akathisia, which is characterized by an inner sense of restlessness and psychomotor agitation such as an inability to sit or stand still usually associated with subjective distress. This is most likely to occur within the first few weeks of treatment.

Hyponatremia: Hyponatremia may occur as a result of treatment with SSRIs and SNRIs, including PAXIL. In many cases, this hyponatremia appears to be the result of the syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH). Cases with serum sodium lower than 110 mmol/L have been reported. Elderly patients may be at greater risk of developing hyponatremia with SSRIs and SNRIs. Also, patients taking diuretics or who are otherwise volume depleted may be at greater risk (see PRECAUTIONS: Geriatric Use). Discontinuation of PAXIL should be considered in patients with symptomatic hyponatremia and appropriate medical intervention should be instituted.

Signs and symptoms of hyponatremia include headache, difficulty concentrating, memory impairment, confusion, weakness, and unsteadiness, which may lead to falls. Signs and symptoms associated with more severe and/or acute cases have included hallucination, syncope, seizure, coma, respiratory arrest, and death.

Abnormal Bleeding: SSRIs and SNRIs, including paroxetine, may increase the risk of bleeding events. Concomitant use of aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, warfarin, and other anticoagulants may add to this risk. Case reports and epidemiological studies (case-control and cohort design) have demonstrated an association between use of drugs that interfere with serotonin reuptake and the occurrence of gastrointestinal bleeding. Bleeding events related to SSRIs and SNRIs use have ranged from ecchymoses, hematomas, epistaxis, and petechiae to life-threatening hemorrhages. Patients should be cautioned about the risk of bleeding associated with the concomitant use of paroxetine and NSAIDs, aspirin, or other drugs that affect coagulation.

Bone Fracture: Epidemiological studies on bone fracture risk following exposure to some antidepressants, including SSRIs, have reported an association between antidepressant treatment and fractures. There are multiple possible causes for this observation and it is unknown to what extent fracture risk is directly attributable to SSRI treatment. The possibility of a pathological fracture, that is, a fracture produced by minimal trauma in a patient with decreased bone mineral density, should be considered in patients treated with paroxetine who present with unexplained bone pain, point tenderness, swelling, or bruising.

Use in Patients With Concomitant Illness: Clinical experience with PAXIL in patients with certain concomitant systemic illness is limited. Caution is advisable in using PAXIL in patients with diseases or conditions that could affect metabolism or hemodynamic responses.

As with other SSRIs, mydriasis has been infrequently reported in premarketing studies with PAXIL. A few cases of acute angle closure glaucoma associated with paroxetine therapy have been reported in the literature. As mydriasis can cause acute angle closure in patients with narrow angle glaucoma, caution should be used when PAXIL is prescribed for patients with narrow angle glaucoma.

PAXIL has not been evaluated or used to any appreciable extent in patients with a recent history of myocardial infarction or unstable heart disease. Patients with these diagnoses were excluded from clinical studies during the product’s premarket testing. Evaluation of electrocardiograms of 682 patients who received PAXIL in double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, however, did not indicate that PAXIL is associated with the development of significant ECG abnormalities. Similarly, PAXIL does not cause any clinically important changes in heart rate or blood pressure.

Increased plasma concentrations of paroxetine occur in patients with severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance <30 mL/min.) or severe hepatic impairment. A lower starting dose should be used in such patients (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Interactions

Tryptophan: As with other serotonin reuptake inhibitors, an interaction between paroxetine and tryptophan may occur when they are coadministered. Adverse experiences, consisting primarily of headache, nausea, sweating, and dizziness, have been reported when tryptophan was administered to patients taking PAXIL. Consequently, concomitant use of PAXIL with tryptophan is not recommended (see WARNINGS: Serotonin Syndrome).

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors: See CONTRAINDICATIONS and WARNINGS.

Pimozide: In a controlled study of healthy volunteers, after PAXIL was titrated to 60 mg daily, co-administration of a single dose of 2 mg pimozide was associated with mean increases in pimozide AUC of 151% and Cmax of 62%, compared to pimozide administered alone. The increase in pimozide AUC and Cmax is due to the CYP2D6 inhibitory properties of paroxetine. Due to the narrow therapeutic index of pimozide and its known ability to prolong the QT interval, concomitant use of pimozide and PAXIL is contraindicated (see CONTRAINDICATIONS).

Serotonergic Drugs: Based on the mechanism of action of SNRIs and SSRIs, including paroxetine hydrochloride, and the potential for serotonin syndrome, caution is advised when PAXIL is coadministered with other drugs that may affect the serotonergic neurotransmitter systems, such as triptans, lithium, fentanyl, tramadol, or St. John’s Wort (see WARNINGS: Serotonin Syndrome). The concomitant use of PAXIL with MAOIs (including linezolid and intravenous methylene blue) is contraindicated (see CONTRAINDICATIONS).

The concomitant use of PAXIL with other SSRIs, SNRIs or tryptophan is not recommended (see PRECAUTIONS: Drug Interactions: Tryptophan).

Thioridazine: See CONTRAINDICATIONS and WARNINGS.

Warfarin: Preliminary data suggest that there may be a pharmacodynamic interaction (that causes an increased bleeding diathesis in the face of unaltered prothrombin time) between paroxetine and warfarin. Since there is little clinical experience, the concomitant administration of PAXIL and warfarin should be undertaken with caution (see PRECAUTIONS: Drugs That Interfere With Hemostasis).

Triptans: There have been rare postmarketing reports of serotonin syndrome with the use of an SSRI and a triptan. If concomitant use of PAXIL with a triptan is clinically warranted, careful observation of the patient is advised, particularly during treatment initiation and dose increases (see WARNINGS: Serotonin Syndrome).

Overdose

Human Experience:
Since the introduction of PAXIL in the United States, 342 spontaneous cases of deliberate or accidental overdosage during paroxetine treatment have been reported worldwide (circa 1999). These include overdoses with paroxetine alone and in combination with other substances. Of these, 48 cases were fatal and of the fatalities, 17 appeared to involve paroxetine alone. Eight fatal cases that documented the amount of paroxetine ingested were generally confounded by the ingestion of other drugs or alcohol or the presence of significant comorbid conditions. Of 145 non-fatal cases with known outcome, most recovered without sequelae. The largest known ingestion involved 2,000 mg of paroxetine (33 times the maximum recommended daily dose) in a patient who recovered.

Commonly reported adverse events associated with paroxetine overdosage include somnolence, coma, nausea, tremor, tachycardia, confusion, vomiting, and dizziness. Other notable signs and symptoms observed with overdoses involving paroxetine (alone or with other substances) include mydriasis, convulsions (including status epilepticus), ventricular dysrhythmias (including torsade de pointes), hypertension, aggressive reactions, syncope, hypotension, stupor, bradycardia, dystonia, rhabdomyolysis, symptoms of hepatic dysfunction (including hepatic failure, hepatic necrosis, jaundice, hepatitis, and hepatic steatosis), serotonin syndrome, manic reactions, myoclonus, acute renal failure, and urinary retention.

Overdosage Management:
No specific antidotes for paroxetine are known. Treatment should consist of those general measures employed in the management of overdosage with any drugs effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder.

Ensure an adequate airway, oxygenation, and ventilation. Monitor cardiac rhythm and vital signs. General supportive and symptomatic measures are also recommended. Induction of emesis is not recommended. Due to the large volume of distribution of this drug, forced diuresis, dialysis, hemoperfusion, or exchange transfusion are unlikely to be of benefit.

A specific caution involves patients who are taking or have recently taken paroxetine who might ingest excessive quantities of a tricyclic antidepressant. In such a case, accumulation of the parent tricyclic and/or an active metabolite may increase the possibility of clinically significant sequelae and extend the time needed for close medical observation (see PRECAUTIONS: Drugs Metabolized by Cytochrome CYP2D6).

In managing overdosage, consider the possibility of multiple drug involvement. The physician should consider contacting a poison control center for additional information on the treatment of any overdose. Telephone numbers for certified poison control centers are listed in the Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR).

Interpreting the GeneSight® Test:
Gene-Drug Interaction Chart

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