Background: Paroxetine is a widely used antidepressant that has received attention regarding suicide risk in younger patients.
Objective: The purpose of this paper is to review the pharmacology, efficacy and safety of paroxetine in the affective disorders.
Methods: The authors performed a PubMed search for all literature in English crossing the words 'paroxetine' and 'Paxil' against the words 'serotonin transporter,' 'clinical trials,' 'depression' and 'SSRI'. A search for paroxetine-related information at the FDA website and under the clinical trial register of the GSK website were also performed.
Results/conclusion: Paroxetine is a serotonin re-uptake inhibitor with good selectivity and no significant active metabolites. Paroxetine is approved (ages >or= 18 years) for the treatment of major depressive disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), post-traumatic stress disorder, and generalized anxiety disorders. Drug - drug interactions involving the CYP enzyme system have been documented, as well as concern for increased suicidality risk in younger adults and recent FDA alerts regarding teratogenicity, serotonin syndrome and persistent pulmonary hypertension.