What to Expect When Prescribed Paxil for Fibromyalgia

paxil for fibromyalgia

By: ryan

A lot of patients are prescribed Paxil for fibromyalgia. Since fibromyalgia depression and anxiety are are some of the worst symptoms of fibromyalgia, antidepressants like Paxil are often prescribed. These conditions can be caused by fibromyalgia, and they can also be an underlying cause. Doctors will often prescribe antidepressants like Paxil to relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Antidepressants like Paxil can also provide some pain relief. They are also often helpful for patients who have trouble sleeping. One of the antidepressants prescribed for fibromyalgia is Paxil. Paxil is the brand name for paroxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) which are some of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. Paxil (paroxetine) is one of the most-prescribed SSRIs for treating depression and anxiety, and it can also be prescribed for fibromyalgia patients, both to provide relief from fibromyalgia and to relieve the concurring anxiety and depression that is often exacerbated by fibromyaglia.

What is Paxil?

Paxil is the brand name for the drug paroxetine, which is an antidepressant in a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The way SSRIs work is not completely understood, but researchers believe they restore chemical balance in the brain, and/ or affect positively communication between nerve cells in the central nervous system. Paxil is used by itself or in combination with other drugs for patients dealing with major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and social anxiety disorders. Doctors will often prescribe Paxil for fibromyalgia, either by itself or in combination with other medications.

Why would my doctor prescribe Paxil for fibromyalgia?

Research shows that SSRIs like Paxil can improve overall well-being, is effective with helping people sleep, and provide pain relief – with lesser effects on tender points and fatigue from fibromyalgia. Also, because fibromyalgia and anxiety are often diagnosed together, Paxil can provide some relief from the anxiety. Up to 20% of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia are also diagnosed with anxiety. Fibromyalgia and depression also often go together, so an SSRI antidepressant like Paxil can provide relief for fibromyalgia depression. Even if it doesn’t treat the fibromyalgia directly, it can be helpful with some of the conditions that are secondary to fibromyalgia.

Because stressful life events can cause fibromyalgia flares, which in turn can cause anxiety, which then turns into a vicious cycle of anxiety and pain, SSRIs like Paxil can help prevent flares. You may find yourself better able to cope with day-to-day stressors and anxiety that could in turn lead to fibro flares. Anything that may help prevent fibro flares may also be worth investigating.

It also common for people who are unable to go about their daily activities of living to become depressed. Not being able to care for your children, or go to a job can have a debilitating effect on your life, and an antidepressant like Paxil can help manage the depressed feelings. Many fibro patients develop anxiety about leaving the house, for fear of having a fibro flare while away from home. Medicines like Paxil can help reduce those feeling of anxiety and help return to a more normal daily routine.

While there aren’t many published studies on the efficacy of Paxil for fibromyalgia, what evidence is available suggests that the immediate-release form of Paxil (as opposed to the extended-release version) may provide some small improvement in pain, sleep, and depression based on one trial comparing Paxil to amitriptyline.

What are the side effects when taking Paxil for fibromyalgia?

Like any drug,  taking Paxil for fibromyalgia does have some side effects, some of which can be unpleasant.

Common side effects, which if they persist, let your doctor know:

  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • ejaculatory disorder
  • erectile dysfunction
  • insomnia
  • male genital disease
  • nausea
  • weakness
  • headache
  • decreased libido
  • delayed ejaculation
  • diaphoresis
  • xerostomia
  • Abnormal dreams
  • change in sense of taste
  • congestion
  • discouragement, feeling sad, or empty
  • drugged feeling
  • fast or irregular breathing
  • feeling of unreality
  • headache, severe and throbbing
  • increased appetite
  • itching of the vagina or genital area
  • itching, pain, redness, or swelling of the eye or eyelid
  • lack of emotion
  • loss of interest or pleasure
  • lump in the throat
  • menstrual changes
  • pain during sexual intercourse
  • problems with memory
  • sense of detachment from self or body
  • sneezing
  • thick, white vaginal discharge with no odor or with a mild odor
  • tightness in the throat
  • tingling, burning, or prickling sensations
  • trouble concentrating
  • voice changes
  • watering of the eyes
  • weight loss
  • yawn

You should contact your doctor if you experience any of these unlikely but serious side effects:

  • Agitation
  • chest congestion
  • skin rash
  • chills
  • cold sweats
  • difficulty with breathing
  • confusion
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • muscle pain or weakness
  • chest pain

Finally, seek immediate medial attention if you experience black or bloody stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, blurred vision, eye pain, swelling or redness of the eyes, widened pupils, or vision changes.

Should I try Paxil for fibromyalgia?

Paxil is only available by prescription, so you need to speak with a medical provider who is able to write them. If your fibromyalgia is accompanied by depression and/or anxiety, then an SSRI like Paxil may be a good treatment option for you. There are providers trained specifically in the treatment of fibromyalgia, so it may be helpful to find a specialist. If you belong to a fibromyalgia support group, it may be helpful to ask if any of the members have used Paxil for fibromyalgia, to get a personal testimony from someone you trust. The more knowledge you have the better you can tackle the disease.

Have you been prescribed Paxil for fibromyalgia? Let us know how it works (or doesn’t) in the comments.



Comments 1

UtahRed says:
I saw all the side effects and I wanted to laugh but at least it doesn’t cause death (apparently other fibro medications do ie lyrica, cymbalta, etc). So I guess I can take my chances with this one.