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PAXIL (paroxetine hydrochloride) is an oral prescription medication used to treat a number of psychiatric disorders or mental illnesses. These include Major Depressive Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
People with these mental disorders may have decreased levels or activity of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, or chemical, found in the brain, digestive tract, and in platelets (blood cells responsible or clotting and wound healing). In the brain, serotonin contributes to a general happiness, pleasure, and elevated mood. When the levels of serotonin in the brain are low, a person may develop depression, anxiety, or other mental illness.
Paxil and Other SSRIs
Paxil (paroxetine) is an SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) which is used to treat Major Depressive Disorder and other mental illnesses. Normally, serotonin is released by neurons (nerve cells) and binds to places on other nerve cells which leads to feelings of well-being and happiness. Once released from nerve cells, the serotonin is picked back up and is no longer available to bind to neurons, thereby ending the “happy” effects of serotonin.
Paxil and other SSRIs prevent this serotonin from being taken back up by the nerve cells so that the serotonin stays active longer and levels are, in essence, increased. This contributes to the antidepressant effect of Paxil. Other SSRIs include Prozac (fluoxetine), Luvox (fluvoxamine), Zoloft (sertraline), Celexa (citalopram), and Lexapro (escitalopram).