Side-effects of paroxetine

© 2006-2009 Paul Cooijmans


This anti-depressant, which I took from 2000 to 2005, is also called Seroxat or Paxil. These are the side-effects I experienced, with comments that reflect my own interpretation thereof and ideas thereon:

Initial temporary effects (first weeks)

Long-term effects (none of these are severe)

Withdrawal effects (a few weeks; none are severe but one must be alert to the danger of falling back into depression)

Situation after withdrawal period

General remarks

The dose should have been lower, like 10 mg a day instead of the default of 20. Sensitivity to medications varies per individual, and this apparently has to with the ability of the body to break down the substances contained in the pills. This ability in turn is encoded in a number of genes that in the remote past were important in breaking down the poisonous chemicals naturally occuring in the vegetable foods that made up part of our diet. Now that we mainly eat safe, manufactured foods, variants (alleles) of those genes have become common that in the past would have killed us.

There is no habituation (needing ever more for the same effect), so it is not addictive in the medical sense.

The effect on depression itself is excellent; however, the pills only cure the symptom (depression), not the cause of it, which may lie outside the person. This may in some cases be dangerous, and I understand there have been cases of people committing suicide or violence against others after starting with paroxetine. I have also read that some of those school shootings you hear about now and then have been done by people who were using this or another S.S.R.I. pill. Apparently, sometimes the medication removes the depression (but not its cause) and thus makes the patient just courageous enough to tackle the outside cause of its problems, for instance by killing or attacking the people who have been bothering him, or to commit suicide.

In such cases, treatment with medication works like blocking the safety valve of a steam engine while keeping the fire under the kettle burning. For this reason, and because of the long-term side effects, I have recently become more critical of a medication-only treatment of depression, and of the pharmaceutical industry which benefits from it. I have tried to think of possible alternative solutions, but it is hard to find things that work as well as medication. Categories wherein possibly effective measures lie are:

So far I see the last method as the most promising.