Newest Medication For Depression
Q: Paxil (paroxetine hydrochloride), a new antidepressant medication,was
introduced into the United States in early 1993. It is a member of the
SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) family(along with Zoloft
and Prozac). These new medications are effective in alleviating the
symptoms of major depression without causing some of the harmful
side effects caused by the oldertricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).
A:What does Paxil treat? Depression is a biologically based disorder, although social and genetic factors may contribute to the illness. Depression is associated with a decreased number of neurotransmitters in the brain (particularly serotonin and norepinephrine). These chemical messengers help regulate several functions and thoughts, including mood. Paxil blocks the reabsorption of serotonin and normalizes the brain's chemical supply. What are the advantages of Paxil over other antidepressants? Paxil is as effective in relieving depression as TCAs such as imipramine. However, Paxil causes fewer adverse cardiovascular and anticholinergic effects (dry mouth, constipation, blurred vision, urinary retention) than the older TCAs. It does not usually cause drowsiness, low blood pressure, or weight changes. Paxil has no active metabolites and leaves one's system 24 hours after it enters. SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, which makes Paxil, states that Paxil is the most selective of the SSRI antidepressants. This selectivity causes serotonin levels in the brain to normalize quickly, relieving depression with relatively few side effects. Who can benefit from taking Paxil? Paxil is equally effective in elderly depressed patients as it is in younger. Elderly people may turn to Paxil for relief because it does not cause significant changes in blood pressure, unlike Effexor and some other antidepressants. Paxil is effective in the treatment of anxiety which accompanies depression in some people. Those experiencing lethargy at the beginning of treatment can also take Paxil with positive results because Paxil does not impair psychomotor function.
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