During premarketing testing, hypomania or mania occurred in approximately 1.0% of unipolar patients treated with paroxetine tablets compared to 1.1% of active-control and 0.3% of placebo-treated unipolar patients. In a subset of patients classified as bipolar, the rate of manic episodes was 2.2% for paroxetine tablets and 11.6% for the combined active-control groups. As with all drugs effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder, paroxetine tablets should be used cautiously in patients with a history of mania.
During premarketing testing, seizures occurred in 0.1% of patients treated with paroxetine tablets, a rate similar to that associated with other drugs effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder. Paroxetine tablets should be used cautiously in patients with a history of seizures. It should be discontinued in any patient who develops seizures.
Recent clinical trials supporting the various approved indications for paroxetine tablets employed a taper-phase regimen, rather than an abrupt discontinuation of treatment. The taper-phase regimen used in GAD and PTSD clinical trials involved an incremental decrease in the daily dose by 10 mg/day at weekly intervals. When a daily dose of 20 mg/day was reached, patients were continued on this dose for 1 week before treatment was stopped.
With this regimen in those studies, the following adverse events were reported at an incidence of 2% or greater for paroxetine tablets and were at least twice that reported for placebo: Abnormal dreams, paresthesia, and dizziness. In the majority of patients, these events were mild to moderate and were self limiting and did not require medical intervention.
During marketing of paroxetine tablets and other SSRIs and SNRIs, there have been spontaneous reports of adverse events occurring upon the discontinuation of these drugs (particularly when abrupt), including the following: Dysphoric mood, irritability, agitation, dizziness, sensory disturbances (e.g., paresthesias such as electric shock sensations and tinnitus), anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy, emotional lability, insomnia, and hypomania. While these events are generally selflimiting, there have been reports of serious discontinuation symptoms.
Patients should be monitored for these symptoms when discontinuing treatment with paroxetine tablets. A gradual reduction in the dose rather than abrupt cessation is recommended whenever possible. If intolerable symptoms occur following a decrease in the dose or upon discontinuation of treatment, then resuming the previously prescribed dose may be considered. Subsequently, the physician may continue decreasing the dose but at a more gradual rate (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
See also PRECAUTIONS— Pediatric Use, for adverse events reported upon discontinuation of treatment with paroxetine tablets in pediatric patients.
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. It is uncertain whether the coadministration of paroxetine and tamoxifen has a significant adverse effect on the efficacy of tamoxifen. One study suggests that the risk may increase with longer duration of coadministration. When tamoxifen is used for the treatment or prevention of breast cancer, prescribers should consider using an alternative antidepressant with little or no CYP2D6 inhibition.
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.
Hyponatremia may occur as a result of treatment with SSRIs and SNRIs, including paroxetine. In many cases, this 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. Elderly patients may be at greater risk of developing hyponatremia with SSRIs and SNRIs. Also, patients taking diuretics or who are otherwise volume depleted may be at greater risk (see PRECAUTIONS: Geriatric Use). Discontinuation of paroxetine should be considered in patients with symptomatic hyponatremia and appropriate medical intervention should be instituted.
Signs and symptoms of hyponatremia include headache, difficulty concentrating, memory impairment, confusion, weakness, and unsteadiness, which may lead to falls. Signs and symptoms associated with more severe and/or acute cases have included hallucination, syncope, seizure, coma, respiratory arrest, and death.
SSRIs and SNRIs, including paroxetine, may increase the risk of bleeding events. Concomitant use of aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, 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 and SNRIs use have ranged from ecchymoses, hematomas, epistaxis, and petechiae to life-threatening hemorrhages. Patients should be cautioned about the risk of bleeding associated with the concomitant use of paroxetine and NSAIDs, aspirin, or other drugs that affect coagulation.
Epidemiological studies on bone fracture risk following exposure to some antidepressants, including SSRIs, have reported an association between antidepressant treatment and fractures. There are multiple possible causes for this observation and it is unknown to what extent fracture risk is directly attributable to SSRI treatment. The possibility of a pathological fracture, that is, a fracture produced by minimal trauma in a patient with decreased bone mineral density, should be considered in patients treated with paroxetine who present with unexplained bone pain, point tenderness, swelling, or bruising.
Clinical experience with paroxetine tablets in patients with certain concomitant systemic illness is limited. Caution is advisable in using paroxetine tablets in patients with diseases or conditions that could affect metabolism or hemodynamic responses.
As with other SSRIs, mydriasis has been infrequently reported in premarketing studies with paroxetine tablets. A few cases of acute angle closure glaucoma associated with paroxetine therapy have been reported in the literature. As mydriasis can cause acute angle closure in patients with narrow angle glaucoma, caution should be used when paroxetine tablets are prescribed for patients with narrow angle glaucoma.
Paroxetine tablets have not been evaluated or used to any appreciable extent in patients with a recent history of myocardial infarction or unstable heart disease. Patients with these diagnoses were excluded from clinical studies during the product’s premarket testing. Evaluation of electrocardiograms of 682 patients who received paroxetine tablets in double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, however, did not indicate that paroxetine tablets are associated with the development of significant ECG abnormalities. Similarly, paroxetine tablets do not cause any clinically important changes in heart rate or blood pressure.
Increased plasma concentrations of paroxetine occur in patients with severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance < 30 mL/min.) or severe hepatic impairment. A lower starting dose should be used in such patients (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
Patients should be cautioned about the risk of serotonin syndrome with the concomitant use of paroxetine and triptans, tramadol, or other serotonergic agents.
Patients should be advised that taking paroxetine tablets can cause mild pupillary dilation, which in susceptible individuals, can lead to an episode of angle closure glaucoma. Pre-existing glaucoma is almost always open-angle glaucoma because angle closure glaucoma, when diagnosed, can be treated definitively with iridectomy. Open-angle glaucoma is not a risk factor for angle closure glaucoma. Patients may wish to be examined to determine whether they are susceptible to angle closure, and have a prophylactic procedure (e.g., iridectomy), if they are susceptible.
Prescribers or other health professionals should inform patients, their families, and their caregivers about the benefits and risks associated with treatment with paroxetine tablets and should counsel them in its appropriate use. A patient Medication Guide is available for paroxetine tablets. The prescriber or health professional should instruct patients, their families, and their caregivers to read the Medication Guide and should assist them in understanding its contents. Patients should be given the opportunity to discuss the contents of the Medication Guide and to obtain answers to any questions they may have. The complete text of the Medication Guide is reprinted at the end of this document.
Patients should be advised of the following issues and asked to alert their prescriber if these occur while taking paroxetine.
All MedLibrary.org resources are included in as near-original form as possible, meaning that the information from the original provider has been rendered here with only typographical or stylistic modifications and not with any substantive alterations of content, meaning or intent.