Compare Paxil vs. Xanax

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

Paxil
(Paroxetine)

Xanax
(Alprazolam)

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.Helps you relax. Xanax (Alprazolam) is okay for occasional or short-term use (up to 4 weeks) for anxiety, and longer-term for panic attacks. More likely to cause withdrawal symptoms compared to similar drugs.
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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 Xanax (Alprazolam)
74%
+22% better vs. Paxil (Paroxetine)
55%
+16% better vs. Paxil (Paroxetine)
13%
+11% better vs. Paxil (Paroxetine)
1287 reviews
Have you used Xanax (Alprazolam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
PaxilXanax
  • 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 »
  • Drowsiness 34%
  • Fatigue and tiredness 6%
  • Impaired coordination 23%
  • Irritability 3%
  • Memory impairment 11%
  • Increased appetite 10%
More Xanax side effects »
How it works
PaxilXanax
Paxil (Paroxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin activity in the brain, which regulates mood.Xanax (Alprazolam) is a fast-acting benzodiazepine. It affects neurotransmitters in the brain and calms the nervous system. This reduces anxiety and can cause sleepiness.
Type of medication
PaxilXanax
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
PaxilXanax
  • Pill
  • Extended release tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
Used for
PaxilXanax
Risk factors for serious side effects
PaxilXanax
  • 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 »
      • History of drug abuse
      • Taking with alcohol or drugs
      • Taking more than 4 mg/day or longer than 12 weeks
      • Stopping Xanax (Alprazolam) suddenly
      • Severely depressed
      • Taking with alcohol or drugs
      • First trimester of pregnancy
      • Current liver problems
      Detailed Xanax (Alprazolam) 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 real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

      Alcohol
      PaxilXanax
      No alcohol related info.
      • Can be habit-forming, so it's not typically used for long-term treatment, or for people who've had problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
      • Not safe to use with alcohol.
      Food
      PaxilXanax
      • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
      No food related info.
      Kidneys and liver
      PaxilXanax
      No kidneys and liver related info.
      • Processed by the liver, so might not be the best choice if you have liver problems.
      Sleep
      PaxilXanax
      • It causes drowsiness, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
      • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
      • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
      Weight
      PaxilXanax
      • 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.
      No weight related info.
      Upsides and benefits
      PaxilXanax
      • 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 short-term anxiety.
      • Effective longer-term for panic attacks.
      • Can be used together with antidepressants to manage anxiety disorders. Especially helpful for anxiety symptoms while you wait for an antidepressant to kick in (it can take several weeks).
      Downsides and risks
      PaxilXanax
      • 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.
      • Processed by the liver, so might not be the best choice if you have liver problems.
      • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
      • Can be habit-forming, so it's not typically used for long-term treatment, or for people who've had problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
      • Compared to other benzodiazepines, more likely to cause withdrawal if you take it for a long time and then stop suddenly.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      PaxilXanax
      • 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.
      • Good for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms.
      • Starts working in 45 minutes when swallowed.
      • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
      • Addictive. Long-term use can cause dependence or abuse.
      • Not safe to use with alcohol.
      Learn more
      More about PaxilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      Have you used Paxil (Paroxetine)?
      Worth itNot sureNot worth it
      More about XanaxSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      Have you used Xanax (Alprazolam)?
      Worth itNot sureNot worth it