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Included as part of the PRECAUTIONS section.


Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

BRISDELLE is not approved for any psychiatric condition.

Antidepressants, including those that contain an SSRI, increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in pediatric and young adult patients when used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. There is limited information regarding suicidality in women who use BRISDELLE for treatment of VMS. The BRISDELLE trials excluded women with a presence or history of previous psychiatric disorders.

Consider discontinuing BRISDELLE in patients with worsening depression or those who experience emergent suicidality or symptoms that might be precursors to worsening depression or suicidality, especially if these symptoms are severe, abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient's presenting symptoms.

All patients being treated with BRISDELLE should be observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of treatment.

Anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania have been reported in patients being treated with antidepressants for MDD as well as for other psychiatric and nonpsychiatric indications. Although a causal link between the emergence of such symptoms and either the worsening of depression and/or the emergence of suicidal impulses has not been established, there is concern that such symptoms may represent precursors to emerging suicidality.

Families and caregivers of patients being treated with BRISDELLE should be alerted about the need to monitor patients for the emergence of agitation, irritability, unusual changes in behavior, and the other symptoms described above, as well as the emergence of suicidality, and to report such symptoms immediately to healthcare providers.

Serotonin Syndrome

The development of a potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome has been reported with SSRIs, including paroxetine, alone but particularly with concomitant use of serotonergic drugs (including triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, tryptophan, buspirone, and St. John's Wort), and with drugs that impair metabolism of serotonin (in particular, MAOIs, both those intended to treat depression and others such as linezolid and intravenous methylene blue).

Serotonin syndrome symptoms may include mental status changes (e.g., agitation, hallucinations, delirium, and coma), autonomic instability (e.g., tachycardia, labile blood pressure, dizziness, diaphoresis, flushing, hyperthermia), neuromuscular symptoms (e.g., tremor, rigidity, myoclonus, hyperreflexia, incoordination), and/or gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). Monitor patients for the emergence of serotonin syndrome.

The concomitant use of BRISDELLE with MAOIs is contraindicated. Do not start BRISDELLE in a patient who is being treated with MAOIs such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue. All reports with methylene blue that provided information on the route of administration involved intravenous administration in the dose range of 1 mg/kg to 8 mg/kg. No reports involved the administration of methylene blue by other routes (such as oral tablets or local tissue injection) or at lower doses. There may be circumstances when it is necessary to initiate treatment with an MAOI such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue in a patient taking BRISDELLE. BRISDELLE should be discontinued before initiating treatment with the MAOI [see CONTRAINDICATIONS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

If concomitant use of BRISDELLE with other serotonergic drugs (e.g., triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, tryptophan, buspirone, and St. John's Wort) is clinically warranted, consider the increased risk of serotonin syndrome and carefully observe the patient, particularly during treatment initiation [see CONTRAINDICATIONS, DRUG INTERACTIONS].

Discontinue BRISDELLE and any concomitant serotonergic agents immediately if the above events occur and initiate supportive symptomatic treatment.

Potential Impact on Tamoxifen Efficacy

It is uncertain whether the co-administration of paroxetine and tamoxifen has a significant adverse effect on the efficacy of 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. When tamoxifen is used for the treatment or prevention of breast cancer, weigh the likely benefit of BRISDELLE for treating VMS vs. the risk of possible decreased tamoxifen effectiveness, and consider avoiding the concomitant use of BRISDELLE for VMS treatment.

Abnormal Bleeding

SSRIs, including BRISDELLE, may increase the risk of bleeding events. Concomitant use of aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), 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 have ranged from ecchymosis, hematoma, epistaxis, and petechiae to life-threatening hemorrhages. Caution patients about the risk of bleeding associated with the concomitant use of BRISDELLE and NSAIDs, aspirin, or other drugs that affect coagulation [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].


Hyponatremia may occur as a result of treatment with SSRIs, including BRISDELLE. Elderly patients may be at greater risk. In many cases, the 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 in patients using SSRIs. Also, patients taking diuretics or who are volume-depleted can be at greater risk. Consider discontinuation of BRISDELLE in patients with symptomatic hyponatremia and institute appropriate medical intervention.

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

Bone Fracture

Epidemiological studies on bone fracture risk following exposure to SSRIs have reported an association between SSRI treatment and fractures. It is unknown to what extent fracture risk is directly attributable to SSRI treatment. If a BRISDELLE-treated patient presents with unexplained bone pain, point tenderness, swelling, or bruising, consider the possibility of a fragility fracture.

Screening Patients for Bipolar Disorder and Monitoring for Mania/Hypomania

BRISDELLE is only indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS and is not approved for use in treating either depression or bipolar depression. However, prior to initiating treatment with BRISDELLE, all patients should be adequately screened to determine if they are at risk for bipolar disorder; such screening should include a detailed psychiatric history, including a family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, and depression. It is generally believed (though not established in controlled trials) that use of an antidepressant alone may increase the likelihood of precipitation of a mixed/manic episode in patients at risk for bipolar disorder.


In premarketing testing of paroxetine, seizures occurred in 0.1% of paroxetine-treated patients. Use BRISDELLE cautiously in patients with a history of seizures or with conditions that potentially lower the seizure threshold. Evaluate and consider discontinuing use in any patient who develops seizures.


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. Discontinue treatment with BRISDELLLE if akathisia occurs.

Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma

Mydriasis has been reported in the premarketing studies with paroxetine. Cases of acute angle closure glaucoma associated with paroxetine therapy have been reported in the literature. Because mydriasis can cause acute angle closure in patients with narrow angle glaucoma, when BRISDELLE is prescribed for patients with narrow angle glaucoma, caution them to report visual symptoms.

Potential for Cognitive and Motor Impairment

BRISDELLE has the potential to impair judgment, thinking, or motor skills. Patients should be cautioned about operating hazardous machinery, including motor vehicles, until they are reasonably certain that the drug treatment does not affect them adversely.

Patient Counseling Information

See FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide).

Instruct patients to read the Medication Guide before starting therapy with BRISDELLE and to reread it each time the prescription is renewed.

  • Advise patients, their families, and their caregivers to look for the emergence of suicidality, especially early during treatment [see BOXED WARNING and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
  • Instruct patients not to take BRISDELLE with an MAOI or within 14 days of stopping an MAOI and allow 14 days after stopping BRISDELLE before starting an MAOI [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and CONTRAINDICATIONS].
  • Advise patients not to take BRISDELLE with thioridazine or pimozide [see CONTRAINDICATIONS].
  • Caution patients about the risk of serotonin syndrome, particularly with the concomitant use of BRISDELLE with triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, linezolid, tramadol, St. John's Wort, lithium, tryptophan supplements, other serotonergic agents, or antipsychotic drugs [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and DRUG INTERACTIONS].
  • Caution patients that efficacy of tamoxifen may be reduced when administered concomitantly and counsel them about the likely benefit of paroxetine for treating VMS vs. the risk of possible decreased tamoxifen effectiveness [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
  • Caution patients about the concomitant use of BRISDELLE and NSAIDs, aspirin, warfarin, and other anticoagulants because combined use of drugs that interfere with serotonin reuptake has been associated with an increased risk of bleeding [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
  • Caution patients about the risk of hyponatremia, particularly elderly patients and those who are taking diuretics or are volume-depleted [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
  • Inform patients that there is the possibility for an increased risk of fracture [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
  • Advise patients, their families, and their caregivers to observe for signs of activation of mania/hypomania [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
  • Advise patients to notify their physician if they become pregnant during therapy [see CONTRAINDICATIONS and Use in Specific Populations].
  • Caution patients about operating hazardous machinery, including motor vehicles, until they are reasonably certain that paroxetine therapy does not affect their ability to engage in such activities [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
  • Advise patients to inform their healthcare provider if they are taking, or plan to take, any prescription or over-the-counter drugs, including herbal supplements, because there is a potential for interaction with paroxetine [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
  • Advise patients that paroxetine, the active ingredient in BRISDELLE, is also the active ingredient in certain other drugs and these medications should not be taken concomitantly [see INDICATIONS AND USAGE and DRUG INTERACTIONS].

Nonclinical Toxicology

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility


Two-year carcinogenicity studies were conducted in rodents given paroxetine in the diet at 1, 5, and 25 mg/kg/day (mice) and 1, 5, and 20 mg/kg/day (rats). The doses used in these carcinogenicity studies were approximately 16 (mouse) and 26 (rat) times the MHRD for VMS. There was a significantly greater number of male rats in the high-dose group with reticulum cell sarcomas (1/100, 0/50, 0/50, and 4/50 for control, low-, middle-, and high-dose groups, respectively) and a significantly increased linear trend across groups for the occurrence of lymphoreticular tumors in male rats. Female rats were not affected. Although there was a dose-related increase in the number of tumors in mice, there was no drug-related increase in the number of mice with tumors. The relevance of these findings to humans is unknown.


Paroxetine produced no genotoxic effect in a battery of 5 in vitro and 2 in vivo assays that included the following: bacterial mutation assay, mouse lymphoma mutation assay, unscheduled DNA synthesis assay, and tests for cytogenetic aberrations in vivo in mouse bone marrow and in vitro in human lymphocytes and in a dominant lethal test in rats.

Impairment of Fertility

A reduced pregnancy rate was found in reproduction studies in rats at a paroxetine dose of 15 mg/kg/day, which is 19 times the MRHD for VMS on an mg/m² basis. Irreversible lesions occurred in the reproductive tract of male rats after dosing in toxicity studies for 2 to 52 weeks. These lesions consisted of vacuolation of epididymal tubular epithelium at 50 mg/kg/day and atrophic changes in the seminiferous tubules of the testes with arrested spermatogenesis at 25 mg/kg/day (65 times and 32 times the MHRD for VMS on an mg/m² basis, respectively).

Use In Specific Populations


Pregnancy Category X

Risk Summary

BRISDELLE is contraindicated in pregnant women because menopausal VMS does not occur during pregnancy and paroxetine can cause fetal harm. Epidemiological studies have shown that infants exposed to paroxetine in the first trimester of pregnancy may have an increased risk of cardiovascular malformations. Cardiac malformations are a common congenital abnormality. These data would suggest that the risk of a cardiac abnormality following paroxetine exposure in the first trimester may increase the risk from 1% to 2%. Exposure to SSRIs in late pregnancy may lead to an increased risk for neonatal complications requiring prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support, and tube feeding, and/or persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). No teratogenicity was seen in reproductive development studies conducted in rats and rabbits. However, an increase in rat pup deaths was seen during the first 4 days of lactation when dosing occurred during the last trimester of gestation and continued throughout lactation, at a dose approximately equal to the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) for VMS (7.5 mg) on an mg/m² basis. If this drug is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to a fetus.

Human Data

First-Trimester Pregnancy Exposure

  • Epidemiologic studies which include data from the Swedish National Registry, a retrospective cohort study using United Healthcare data and a meta-analysis of studies (1992-2008) have shown a less than 2-fold increased risk of cardiac malformations, primarily ventricular septal and atrial septal defects, with first-trimester paroxetine exposure. Two case-control studies using separate databases with > 9000 birth defect cases and > 4000 controls showed 7 and 6 paroxetine-exposed infants respectively, with right ventricular outflow tract obstructions, a 2- to 3-fold increased risk. An increase in overall congenital malformations with first-trimester paroxetine use was not observed in all studies.

Third-Trimester Pregnancy Exposure

  • Neonates exposed to SSRIs late in the third trimester have developed complications requiring prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support, and tube feeding. Such complications can arise immediately upon delivery. Reported clinical findings have included respiratory distress, cyanosis, apnea, seizures, temperature instability, feeding difficulty, vomiting, hypoglycemia, hypotonia, hypertonia, hyperreflexia, tremor, jitteriness, irritability, and constant crying. These features are consistent with either a direct toxic effect of SSRIs or, possibly, a drug discontinuation syndrome. It should be noted that in some cases, the clinical picture is consistent with serotonin syndrome [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
  • Infants exposed to SSRIs in late pregnancy may have an increased risk for persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). PPHN occurs in 1 – 2 per 1000 live births in the general population and is associated with substantial neonatal morbidity and mortality. In a retrospective case-control study of 377 women whose infants were born with PPHN and 836 women whose infants were born healthy, the risk for developing PPHN was approximately 6-fold higher for infants exposed to SSRIs after the 20th week of gestation compared to infants who had not been exposed to antidepressants during pregnancy. There is currently no corroborative evidence regarding the risk for PPHN following exposure to SSRIs in pregnancy; this is the first study that has investigated the potential risk. The study did not include enough cases with exposure to individual SSRIs to determine if all SSRIs posed similar levels of PPHN risk.

Animal Data

Reproduction studies were performed at doses up to 50 mg/kg/day in rats and 6 mg/kg/day in rabbits administered during organogenesis. These doses are approximately 65 (rat) and 16 (rabbit) times the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) for VMS on an mg/m² basis. There were no teratogenic effects. However, in rats, there was an increase in pup deaths during the first 4 days of lactation when dosing occurred during the last trimester of gestation and continued throughout lactation. This effect occurred at a dose of 1 mg/kg/day or approximately equal to the MRHD for VMS on an mg/m² basis. The no-effect dose for rat pup mortality was not determined. The cause of these deaths is unknown.

Nursing Mothers

Paroxetine is excreted in human milk. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from BRISDELLE, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established; BRISDELLE is not indicated in the pediatric population.

Geriatric Use

Clinical studies of BRISDELLE did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Elderly patients may have elevated paroxetine plasma concentrations compared to younger patients. However, no BRISDELLE dose adjustment is considered necessary in elderly patients [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

SSRIs have been associated with cases of clinically significant hyponatremia in elderly patients, who may be at greater risk for this adverse event [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Renal Impairment

No BRISDELLE dose adjustment is considered necessary in patients with renal impairment [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

Hepatic Impairment

No BRISDELLE dose adjustment is considered necessary in patients with liver impairment [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

Last reviewed on RxList: 7/12/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.


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