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When does Paxil cause serotonin syndrome?

Paxil is a drug that is commonly prescribed to treat depression and anxiety. It is classified as a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI), and it is made by GlaxoSmithKline. The drug has been approved for use since 1992 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); however, it also comes with some serious side effects. This article will discuss the risks of serotonin syndrome when taking Paxil.

Before talking about this side effect, let's look at the conditions that Paxil usually treats:

  • Depression
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • Generalized anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • When serotonin syndrome develops

In the past, doctors sometimes prescribed Paxil to patients taking medicine for migraine headaches -- specifically the migraine medicines known as 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor agonists (triptans). However, in 2006, the FDA issued a warning that life-threatening cases of serotonin syndrome have developed in people combining Paxil with these migraine medicines. Here are the symptoms of serotonin syndrome:

  • Coordination loss
  • Hallucination
  • Restless feelings
  • High-speed heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Body temperature increase
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Coma

Migraine patients who are taking drugs to treat migraine in addition to Paxil should speak to their doctor before agreeing to combine these two medications. In fact, due to the risks of potentially-fatal serotonin syndrome, you may want to tell your family members and friends who suffer from migraines that 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor agonists (triptans) should not be taken in combination with drugs like Paxil or serious health complications could develop.

If you were prescribed Paxil and later developed serotonin syndrome, you might also want to discuss your situation with an experienced pharmaceutical litigation and dangerous products lawyer.

Source: FindLaw, "Paxil," accessed Aug. 22, 2017

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