Paxil CR (paroxetine hcl) is a powerful mood altering drug in the class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRI’s.
Paxil CR refers to the brand name of paroxetine hydrochloride - the generic name of a hydrochloride salt of a phenylpiperidine compound.
(Phenylpiperidine is classified with heroin and morphine in the UK as a ‘Class A’ drug – the most restrictive drug class.)
Paxil is an antidepressant medication used to relieve symptoms of depression, generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorders, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
Paxil CR (which stands for controlled-release) is used to treat depression, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).(Along with off-label uses.)
Paxil and Paxil CR are the exact same drug. Basically, every 10 mg of Paxil is equal to 12.5 mg of Paxil CR.
The difference is that Paxil CR has a Zero Order Release formulation that supposedly provides a constant rate of drug release over a certain period of time.
The Zero Order Release is used for drugs with a short half-life to maintain constant blood levels of the active drug compound with fewer doses. It has a degradable polymeric matrix called Geomatrix.
Paxil CR is released more slowly into the body than the immediate release formulation.
With Paxil CR:
- You cannot split the pill in half.
- The time to maximum drug concentration is extended by one to five hours.
- The half-life is 15 – 20 hours. (Compared with 21 hours for Paxil.)
- The side effects are the same as immediate release Paxil.
- The cost is slightly more than immediate release Paxil.
The problem has been that if you miss even one dose of Paxil, you can end up with severe withdrawal symptoms. With Paxil CR, hopefully, that won’t happen.
It’s also important to understand the underlying causes that would lead someone to such a painful place of needing Paxil CR.
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