What to expect when switching from Paxil to Prozac? (3 common outcomes)

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In this blog post, we will discuss what one should expect when switching from paxil to prozac. Both prozac and paxil are antidepressants. This blog will cover the circumstances which lead to the discontinuation of paxil. We will also discuss the common antidepressant switching strategies. 

What to expect when switching from paxil to prozac? 

You can expect the following things when you switch from paxil to prozac:

  • Better therapeutic outcome 
  • Lesser side effects 
  • Long-term tolerability 

Better therapeutic outcome 

When you switch from paxil to prozac, it is expected to receive better therapeutic outcomes. One of the possible reasons for paxil discontinuation is inadequate therapeutic response. 

Both of these meds can be used to treat mild to severe episodes of depression, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), social phobias, panic disorder, eating disorders and symptoms associated with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). 

If you continue to take your antidepressant but it does show any sign of relief from your symptoms, it clearly indicates that the drug is not the right choice for you and it can not help to treat your symptoms in the long run. 

Prozac is generally well tolerated and is a good option when you’re switching from one antidepressant to another. 

Lesser side effects 

Paxil is associated with a number of side effects including:

  • Weakness
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness 
  • Inability to concentrate 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Flatulence 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Forgetfulness 
  • Constipation 
  • Abdominal pain
  • Acid reflux or heartburn 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Loss or gain of weight 
  • Changes in taste and smell
  • Xerostomia or dry mouth 
  • Sweating 
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Loss of libido in both male and females. Males may suffer from inability to ejaculate, while females may suffer from inability to have an orgasm. 

Paxil (Paroxetine) is also associated with some serious side effects, which may include:

  • Allergic reaction associated with symptoms like redness of skin, itching, burning sensation, blisters, blue-purple patches, tightness of chest, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, hoarseness etc. 
  • Auditory or visual hallucinations 
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat 
  • Convulsions 
  • Infections associated with sore throat, fever, flu and cough etc. 
  • Black stools
  • Painful and unusual erection in males
  • Bone fracture 
  • Swelling or tenderness in different parts of the body.

These side effects can vary from person to person. Some of these become so severe that the person becomes unable to tolerate paxil and it results in discontinuation of the treatment. 

This is when your doctor may switch you to prozac, which is also associated with side effects, but it is usually well tolerated. 

Long-term tolerability 

Antidepressants usually start to work within 4 to 6 weeks of treatment. Both paxil and prozac also take the same amount of time to kick in. These meds are supposed to be taken daily for several months, according to the severity of your mental health condition. 

Some conditions require years and years of treatment, but is it possible if your antidepressant doesn’t suit you? No. It is impossible to live with a medicine that you can’t tolerate well. 

This is exactly why antidepressants are often switched a couple of times to finally end up with the one which works the best for you. Paxil may become difficult for some people and they can’t continue the med for a long period of time. 

This is why it is often switched to prozac. Now, one thing to bear in mind is that it’s not necessary that prozac will work 100% for you. You may or may not tolerate it well. 

What are the important points to keep in mind when you switch your antidepressant? 

There are few things you need to understand before you switch from paxil to prozac. These include:

Your new antidepressant might take a few weeks to work

The new drug will not start working overnight. Your body will take its time to adapt to prozac. Be patient. Don’t lose hope or think that no antidepressant is working for you. Just give it a few weeks, be consistent and maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

You may suffer from side effects 

Prozac may produce some unwanted side effects at first, but as your body gets used to it, they will begin to subside. So don’t think that your new med doesn’t suit you, it’s just your body adapting to it. Hang in there! 

Common side effects of prozac include:

  • Restlessness 
  • Anxiety 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Dizziness 
  • Skin rash
  • Muscular pain
  • Joint pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Tiredness 
  • Sweating 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Loss of sexual desire 

You may experience withdrawal symptoms

In case of completely washing out the paxil, you might face withdrawal symptoms. The best way is to taper down paxil slowly while starting prozac from the lowest effective dose. 

This can be done because both of these meds belong to the same class of antidepressants, that is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). 

How to determine the best switching strategy? 

When we specifically talk about paxil and prozac, they both belong to the same class of antidepressants so they can be switched easily. 

The best switching strategy is determined according to the severity of your symptoms and the reason which led to the discontinuation of the first drug. Common switching strategies include:

  • Direct switch: Here, you stop one antidepressant and directly switch to another. This strategy is only applicable if you’re switching to a drug which belongs to the same class of antidepressants.
  • Cross taper: Here, you taper off one antidepressant while gradually increasing the dose of the next one, over a few weeks period. 
  • Taper and switch right away: Here, you gradually taper off your current drug. As soon as you have completely stopped the first drug, you start taking the next one. 
  • Taper and switch, after washing out the first drug completely: Here, you gradually taper off the first drug and wait a couple of weeks, usually 1-6 weeks, for your body to completely wash out the drug from your system, even traces.

In case of switching from paxil to prozac, you can try either direct switch or cross taper. It is not recommended to cross taper if paxil is causing terrible side effects. 

Such people are already suffering from enough side effects and discomfort, it is not suitable to start another antidepressant with paxil, no matter how low the dose is. Your healthcare provider will closely study your condition and determine the best switching strategy for you. 

How to find the perfect antidepressant? 

Finding the perfect antidepressant is one hell of a task. Some meds just don’t work for you. No matter how many times you try to increase the dose or take it in the best possible way, they just don’t work for you. This process takes a while. 

When you start an antidepressant, you need to give it a few weeks because these meds don’t work overnight, like analgesics which provide pain relief in an hour or two. Antidepressants usually take 3 – 4 weeks to start making changes in your system. 

They require proper adherence, or else they might not work the way you want them to. The medication itself is not solely responsible, as your body’s reaction to it plays a major role as well. 

So yes, there’s only one way to find the perfect antidepressant. You’ve got to try them! There’s no way to set a standard here, as your perfect antidepressant might not be so perfect for someone else. Stick to the one your doctor recommends.

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have discussed what one should expect when switching from paxil to prozac. Both paxil and prozac belong to the same class of antidepressants, that is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). 

It is easy to switch from one antidepressant to another which belongs to the same class. Your doctor may recommend switching to another antidepressant, if the current one doesn’t work best for you. It usually takes a few trials to determine which antidepressant works best for you. 

Just stick to your doctor’s advice and do not deviate from it. Make sure you don’t stop or start using any medication without your doctor’s approval.

FAQs: switching from paxil to prozac what to expect 

Can Prozac replace Paxil?

Yes, prozac can replace paxil. Both of these antidepressants belong to the same class, that is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The mechanism of action is exactly the same. However, some paxil works best in some people while producing harmful effects in others. The same goes for Prozac. It is impossible to predict how your body will react to these meds. 

Is Prozac more potent than Paxil?

Both prozac and paxil are strong selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. However, experts believe that paxil may work better than prozac for people who are suffering from the combination of depression and insomnia. Similarly, some mental health conditions are treated better with prozac as compared to paxil. This indicates that both of these meds have variable effects on people. 

What to expect when switching antidepressants?

When you switch your antidepressant, it is expected to receive better therapeutic outcomes. One of the possible reasons for antidepressant discontinuation is inadequate therapeutic response. 

If you continue to take your antidepressant but it does show any sign of relief from your symptoms, it clearly indicates that the drug is not the right choice for you and it can not help to treat your symptoms in the long run. 

Better tolerability is another expectation when you switch your antidepressant. It is impossible to live with a medicine that you can’t tolerate well. This is exactly why antidepressants are often switched a couple of times to finally end up with the one which works the best for you. 

How long does it take to notice a difference with Prozac?

Prozac usually starts to show noticeable improvement in the symptoms of your mental health condition within 4 weeks of treatment. However, it may show relief in physical symptoms but it still takes a few weeks to make changes in your psychological symptoms. The time duration can vary from person to person. Some people may start to notice differences much earlier than the others. 

What does Prozac feel like when it starts working?

Prozac may start to make your physical symptoms associated with depression a little better. However, it can take up to 4 to 6 weeks to start making your psychological symptoms better. 

You may also experience a few side effects, which may start right after you take your first ever dose, but these side effects begin to subside within 2 to 3 weeks of treatment. 

How do you know if you need to switch antidepressants?

  • If your antidepressant is not living up to the expectations and it fails to provide relief from depression symptoms, your doctor might think of increasing the dose of the same antidepressant. If it still doesn’t work, then it’s time to switch. Your doctor will prescribe another antidepressant and follow proper switching strategy. 
  • If your antidepressant is interfering with the effects or metabolism of some other medicines that you are taking along with it, it’s best to switch to another antidepressant that’s safe to use with your other prescribed medications. 
  • If your antidepressant is producing side effects which are not going away, even after 3 to 4 weeks of your treatment, you might need to change it. Your antidepressant should be well tolerated as you have to live with it everyday, for several months or even longer. 

References 

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