paxil withdrawal support: symptoms last updated:  03/10/02

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Note: this section deals only with problematic Paxil withdrawal. Although I have not found accurate numbers, it appears that anywhere from 4% to 10% of users can expect some or all of the listed symptoms. The rest of you should only experience the touted " two to three days of flue-like symptoms".

First, the good news: you are not going to die.  Although, there is at least one legal firm that specializes in wrong-full deaths caused by Paxil and other similar drugs, my research indicates that all of of these, were suicides. As hellish as the withdrawal will be or is at the moment, suicide is not warranted: there is an end in sight


Still, the bad news is that the withdrawal process can mirror every depiction of hell as I, a non-believer, had come to imagine.
Glaxo SmithKline (read about the huge sums involved) makes no mention of these on their Paxil home site , including in their prescription information . Avoid it if you have the chance by choosing an alternate drug, or, if you are already on it, take a couple of weeks off from work, and hold on. Here are some of the symptoms that  might await you, or that you might already have encountered. Note that this list of symptoms is by far not complete. It is a compilation of my own experience as well as that of the thousands who have written to me in the last couple of months. It appears that the Paxil withdrawal process varies from person to person. Although there are certain symptoms that affect most users , your particular withdrawal experience might be slightly different. Please e-mail me, if you have any symptoms to add to the following list.


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  • intense insomnia
  • extraordinarily vivid dreams
  • extreme confusion during waking hours
  • intense fear of losing your sanity
  • steady feeling of existing outside of reality as you know it (referred to as depersonalization at times)
  • memory and concentration problems
  • Panic Attacks (even if you never had one before)
  • severe mood swings, esp. heightened irritability / anger.
  • suicidal thoughts (in extreme cases)

 

  • a unconventional dizziness/ vertigo
  • the feeling of shocks, similar to mild electric one, running the length of your body
  • an unsteady gait
  • slurred speech
  • headaches
  • profuse sweating, esp. at night
  • muscle cramps
  • blurred vision
  • breaking out in tears.

 

  • hypersensitivity to motion, sounds, smells.
  • decreased appetite
  • nausea
  • abdominal cramping, diarrhea 
  • loss of appetite
  • chills/ hot flashes
 

 


Whereas the symptoms in the right hand column are a nuisance, and the ones in the middle column are barely tolerable, it is the left handed ones that redefine the term nightmare. Their nature is such, that you will find yourself questioning your sanity on a continual basis.
The duration of the withdrawal process seems to vary from individual to individual. In my own experience, the worst was over after the first two weeks. Still, three weeks into it, I was far from feeling ship-shape in Bristol fashion. It took around six weeks  for the symptoms to subside. 

Although quite capable of functioning at this point a year after discontinuing the drug, I am not certain whether I am quite up to spec even now. A certain lethargy and a depression that was not there beforehand seems to have taken hold. Others have reported similar experiences. Still, the link to Paxil probably cannot be proven until long-term studies have been carried out and it is important for you to note, that life does return to a more or less normal state in due time.

 

Possible Withdrawal Symptoms

It appears that Paxil withdrawal can come in many variations. The following symptoms have not been experienced personally, nor do they show up in letters sent to me on a regular basis. 

  • fainting
  • "scratching sound" inside one's head
  • constant white noise in the ears
  • tingling sensation in cheeks, lips, tongue and surrounding areas.
  • heart palpitations/ chest pain
  • swollen and sore eyes
  • fatigue
  • extremely localized, bursting headaches
  • lump in throat
  • rash / dry, flaky  and irritated skin
  • grinding of teeth
  • difficulty swallowing
  • itchiness
  • numbness 
  • speech problems / inability to use or find the right word
  • trembling
  • seizures (reported once)
  • involuntary muscle twitching
  • hallucinations

 

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