Compare Paxil vs. Lexapro

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

Paxil
(paroxetine)

Lexapro
(escitalopram)

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.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.
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Prices and coupon for 30 (20mg) tablets of paroxetine
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Prices and coupon for 30 (10mg) tablets of escitalopram
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.53Paxil
Reviews for Paxil (paroxetine)
52%
of people (All ages) say Paxil (paroxetine) is worth it
39%
say it works well
24%
say it's a big hassle
694 reviews
Have you used Paxil (paroxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Lexapro (escitalopram)
61%
+9% better vs. Paxil (paroxetine)
48%
+9% better vs. Paxil (paroxetine)
15%
+9% better vs. Paxil (paroxetine)
1063 reviews
Have you used Lexapro (escitalopram)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
PaxilLexapro
  • 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 »
  • 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 »
How it works
PaxilLexapro
Paxil (Paroxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin activity in the brain, which regulates mood.Lexapro (escitalopram) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin in the brain which regulates mood.
Type of medication
PaxilLexapro
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
PaxilLexapro
  • Pill
  • Extended release tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for
PaxilLexapro
Risk factors for serious side effects
PaxilLexapro
  • 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 »
      • 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 »
        Pregnancy

        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.

        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.

        Interactions
        PaxilLexapro
        No interactions related info.
        • Lexapro (escitalopram) has less drug interactions than other similar antidepressants and might cause fewer side effects.
        Food
        PaxilLexapro
        • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
        No food related info.
        Sleep
        PaxilLexapro
        • It causes drowsiness, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
        No sleep related info.
        Weight
        PaxilLexapro
        • 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.
        • Can cause a small weight gain of 1-5 pounds.
        Upsides and benefits
        PaxilLexapro
        • 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.
        • 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.
        Downsides and risks
        PaxilLexapro
        • 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.
        • 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.
        Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
        PaxilLexapro
        • 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.
        • 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.
        Learn more
        More about PaxilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        Have you used Paxil (paroxetine)?
        Worth itNot sureNot worth it
        More about LexaproSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        Have you used Lexapro (escitalopram)?
        Worth itNot sureNot worth it