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Paxil vs. Effexor

Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

Are Paxil and Effexor the Same Thing?

Paxil (paroxetine hydrochloride) and Effexor (venlafaxine) are antidepressants used to treat depression.

Paxil is also used to treat panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (premenstrual dysphoric disorder).

Paxil and Effexor are different types of antidepressants. Paxil is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and Effexor is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SSNRI).

What Are Possible Side Effects of Paxil?

Common side effects of Paxil include:

What Are Possible Side Effects of Effexor?

Common side effects of Effexor include:

  • dizziness,
  • nervousness,
  • nausea,
  • constipation,
  • headaches,
  • anxiety,
  • insomnia,
  • strange dreams,
  • drowsiness,
  • increased sweating,
  • blurred vision,
  • dry mouth,
  • changes in appetite or weight,
  • decreased sex drive,
  • impotence,
  • difficulty having an orgasm,
  • increased blood pressure, and
  • seizures.

What is Paxil?

Paxil (paroxetine hydrochloride) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant used to treat depression, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (premenstrual dysphoric disorder).

What is Effexor?

Effexor is a prescription medicine used to treat depression. It is important to talk with your healthcare provider about the risks of treating depression and also the risks of not treating it. You should discuss all treatment choices with your healthcare provider. Talk to your healthcare provider if you do not think that your condition is getting better with Effexor.

What Drugs Interact With Paxil?

Call your doctor immediately if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Paxil may interact with cold or allergy medicines, sedatives, narcotics, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, medicines for seizures or anxiety, other antidepressants, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), blood thinners, cimetidine, fentanyl, fosamprenavir, ritonavir, St. John's wort, tamoxifen, theophylline, tramadol, L-tryptophan, heart medications, medicines to treat psychiatric disorders, almotriptan, frovatriptan, sumatriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, or zolmitriptan. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking Paxil. Paxil may cause heart defects or serious lung problems in a newborn if you take the medication during pregnancy. However, you may have a relapse of depression if you stop taking your antidepressant during pregnancy. Do not start or stop taking Paxil during pregnancy without your doctor's advice. Paxil passes into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Consult doctor before breastfeeding. Withdrawal symptoms may occur if you suddenly stop taking Paxil.

What Drugs Interact With Effexor?

Do Not take Effexor if you:

  • take a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI). Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you are not sure if you take an MAOI, including the antibiotic linezolid or intravenous methylene blue.
  • Do not take an MAOI within 5 days of stopping Effexor unless directed to do so by your healthcare provider.
  • Do not start Effexor if you stopped taking an MAOI in the last 14 days unless directed to do so by your healthcare provider.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines that you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Effexor and some medicines may interact with each other, may not work as well, or may cause serious side effects.

Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take:

  • triptans used to treat migraine headache
  • medicines used to treat mood, anxiety, psychotic or thought disorders, including tricyclics, lithium, buspirone, SSRIs, SNRIs or MAOIs
  • tramadol and fentanyl
  • amphetamines
  • cimetidine
  • the antibiotics ciprofloxacin, enoxacin
  • medicine to treat irregular heart rate (like propafenone, flecainide, quinidine)
  • theophylline
  • the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) (like ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin).
  • over-the-counter supplements such as tryptophan or St. John's Wort
  • thioridazine (Mellaril). Mellaril together with Effexor can cause serious heart rhythm problems or sudden death.

Ask your healthcare provider for a list of these medicines if you are not sure.

Do not take Effexor with any other medicine that contain duloxetine.

How Should Paxil Be Taken?

The recommended initial dose of Paxil depends on the condition being treated and ranges from 20 mg/day to 50 mg/day.

How Should Effexor Be Taken?

Take Effexor tablets, USP exactly as prescribed. Your healthcare provider may need to change the dose of Effexor tablets, USP until it is the right dose for you.

Venlafaxine tablets, USP is to be taken with food.

If you miss a dose of Effexor tablets, USP, take the missed dose as s oon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of Effexor tablets, USP at the same time.

If you take too much Effexor tablets, USP, call your healthcare provider or poison control center right away, or get emergency treatment.

When switching from another antidepressant to Effexor tablets, USP your doctor may want to lower the dose of the initial antidepressant first to avoid side effects.

Reviewed on 7/3/2018

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

SOURCE:

FDA. Paxil Product Information.

https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2012/020031s067,020710s031.pdf

Pfizer. Effexor Product Information.

http://labeling.pfizer.com/showlabeling.aspx?ID=100

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