Compare Lexapro vs. Paxil

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Lexapro
(escitalopram)

Paxil
(paroxetine)

Improves mood and helps you relax. Lexapro (escitalopram) is good for treating depression and anxiety. It is less likely to cause side effects than and has fewer drug interactions. However, it might not be a good choice if you have liver or heart problems.Improves mood and helps you relax. Paxil (Paroxetine) is good for treating depression and anxiety but it causes more weight gain, sleepiness, and withdrawal symptoms than other antidepressants.
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Prices and coupon for 30 (10mg) tablets of escitalopram
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Prices and coupon for 30 (20mg) tablets of paroxetine
Reviews & ratings
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4.89Lexapro
Reviews for Lexapro (escitalopram)
61%
of people (All ages) say Lexapro (escitalopram) is worth it
48%
say it works well
15%
say it's a big hassle
1063 reviews
Have you used Lexapro (escitalopram)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Paxil (paroxetine)
52%
-9% worse vs. Lexapro (escitalopram)
39%
-9% worse vs. Lexapro (escitalopram)
24%
-9% worse vs. Lexapro (escitalopram)
694 reviews
Have you used Paxil (paroxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
LexaproPaxil
  • Nausea 8%
  • Sleep difficulty 5%
  • Problems with ejaculation 9%
  • Diarrhea 3%
  • Dry mouth 1%
  • Drowsiness 4%
  • Runny nose 1%
  • Fatigue 3%
  • Dizziness 2%
  • Flu-like symptoms 1%
More Lexapro side effects »
  • Nausea 17%
  • Drowsiness 14%
  • Dry mouth 6%
  • Headache 1%
  • Muscle weakness 9%
  • Constipation 5%
  • Sleep difficulty 7%
  • Ejaculatory disturbance‡§ 13%
  • Dizziness 7%
  • Diarrhea 4%
More Paxil side effects »
How it works
LexaproPaxil
Lexapro (escitalopram) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin in the brain which regulates mood.Paxil (Paroxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin activity in the brain, which regulates mood.
Type of medication
LexaproPaxil
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
LexaproPaxil
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Extended release tablet
  • Liquid
Used for
LexaproPaxil
Risk factors for serious side effects
LexaproPaxil
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • Stopping Lexapro (escitalopram) suddenly
  • Taking blood thinners
    • Bipolar disorder
    Detailed Lexapro (escitalopram) risks & warnings »
    • Age 24 years or younger
    • Using other medications that affect serotonin
    • Stopping Paxil (Paroxetine) suddenly
    • Taking other blood-thinning drugs
      • History of bipolar disorder
      • At risk for bipolar disorder
        Detailed Paxil (paroxetine) risks & warnings »
        Pregnancy

        Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

        Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

        Interactions
        LexaproPaxil
        • Lexapro (escitalopram) has less drug interactions than other similar antidepressants and might cause fewer side effects.
        No interactions related info.
        Food
        LexaproPaxil
        No food related info.
        • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
        Sleep
        LexaproPaxil
        No sleep related info.
        • It causes drowsiness, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
        Weight
        LexaproPaxil
        • Can cause a small weight gain of 1-5 pounds.
        • Can cause weight gain, which can be helpful if you've recently lost weight or have a low appetite.
        • More likely to cause minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants.
        Upsides and benefits
        LexaproPaxil
        • Effective at relieving depression and anxiety symptoms.
        • Lowers the likelihood that your depression will come back.
        • Lexapro (escitalopram) has less drug interactions than other similar antidepressants and might cause fewer side effects.
        • Effective at relieving depression and anxiety symptoms.
        • Lowers relapse rates of depression and anxiety disorders, including OCD, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
        • It causes drowsiness, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
        • Can cause weight gain, which can be helpful if you've recently lost weight or have a low appetite.
        • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
        Downsides and risks
        LexaproPaxil
        • Can cause a small weight gain of 1-5 pounds.
        • Lexapro (escitalopram) is not a good option if you have heart or liver problems.
        • The first antidepressant you try might not always work, so you may need to try a few different medicines until you find one that works for you.
        • Can cause more sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate than most antidepressants.
        • More likely to cause minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants.
        • Can harm an unborn child, so you can't take it if you're pregnant.
        • Like most antidepressants, it can cause a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people younger than age 24.
        • The first antidepressant you try doesn't always work or it can cause side effects you really don't like. You might need to try a few different medications until you find one that works for you.
        Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
        LexaproPaxil
        • Don't suddenly stop taking DRUG NAME. Talk to your doctor about how to slowly go down in your dose to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
        • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
        • Like other SSRI medications, it could take up to 8 weeks to see the full effects of Lexapro (escitalopram).
        • Take Lexapro (escitalopram) in the morning since it can keep you up if you take it at night.
        • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
        • Takes about 8 to 12 weeks to see the medication's full effects on your mood.
        • Stop taking it slowly to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
        • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
        • The controlled-release (CR) tablet can cause less nausea than other forms.
        • Don’t crush, break, or chew the Paxil (Paroxetine) controlled-release tablet or the Pexeva film-coated tablets.
        • It’s best to take Paxil (Paroxetine) in the morning, except Brisdelle, which can be taken at bedtime.
        Learn more
        More about LexaproSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        Have you used Lexapro (escitalopram)?
        Worth itNot sureNot worth it
        More about PaxilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        Have you used Paxil (paroxetine)?
        Worth itNot sureNot worth it