Paroxetine for the treatment of depression: a critical update

Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2012 Feb;13(3):421-31. doi: 10.1517/14656566.2012.652085. Epub 2012 Jan 21.


Introduction: A growth in the market for antidepressants, paired with an ever-increasing population affected from depressive disorder, requires a critical re-evaluation of most prescribed antidepressants, in order to provide up-to-date practical prescribing information for clinicians. Paroxetine represents a widely prescribed and reliable antidepressant for the expert clinician, but the latest data do not rank it amongst the most effective and tolerable newer antidepressants.

Areas covered: This paper reviews latest data on paroxetine and investigates its clinical efficacy and safety in different groups of patients.

Expert opinion: In previous subanalysis and metaregression analysis, paroxetine failed to show clear differences in terms of efficacy across clinical subgroups. Thus, nowadays the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of the molecule are fundamental to guiding its prescription, both for efficacy and tolerability issues, for example, it can have a high impact on sexual function and weight should also be considered at the beginning of treatment. Since prescription is still based mainly on its side-effect profile, newer and more accurate directions for an individualized prescription are needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / therapeutic use*
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Paroxetine / adverse effects
  • Paroxetine / therapeutic use*
  • Patient Selection
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Paroxetine