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What are the side effects of Paxil?

Q: My 31 years old female relative has been prescribed Paxil antidepressant for depression 5 year ago. But she is still taking it and has sleeplessness panic and anxiety attacks every time she stops. Does she need to take this drug life long? What are the side effects and consequences of this? I have heard that it could cause holes in the heart of fetus of pregnant woman taking Paxil; is it true?

A:Paxil is the brand name; the name of the medicine is paroxetine. It is a bit difficult to wean a patient off from this drug due to withdrawal effects. The drug is contraindicated (not permitted) for use during pregnancy because studies have shown that infants born to women who had first trimester paroxetine exposure had an increased risk of heart disorders, mainly ventricular and atrial septal defects (hole in the heart).

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