Compare Prozac vs. Paxil

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

Prozac
(fluoxetine)

Paxil
(paroxetine)

Improves mood and helps you relax. Prozac (Fluoxetine) is good for treating depression and anxiety. It's more energizing than other antidepressants, but may not be the best choice for people who have trouble sleeping.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.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.74Prozac
Reviews for Prozac
62%
of people (All ages) say Prozac is worth it
40%
say it works well
16%
say it's a big hassle
1319 reviews
Have you used Prozac (fluoxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Paxil
52%
+10% better vs. Prozac
39%
+1% better vs. Prozac
24%
+8% better vs. Prozac
694 reviews
Have you used Paxil (paroxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
ProzacPaxil
  • Nausea 13%
  • Headache 2%
  • Insomnia 18%
  • Nervousness 5%
  • Somnolence 7%
  • Anxiety 6%
  • Diarrhea 4%
  • Asthenia 5%
  • Anorexia 7%
  • Dizziness 3%
More Prozac side effects »
  • Nausea 17%
  • Somnolence 14%
  • Dry Mouth 6%
  • Headache 1%
  • Asthenia 9%
  • Constipation 5%
  • Insomnia 7%
  • Ejaculatory Disturbance‡§ 13%
  • Dizziness 7%
  • Diarrhea 4%
More Paxil side effects »
How it works
ProzacPaxil
Prozac (Fluoxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin activity 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
ProzacPaxil
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
ProzacPaxil
  • Pill
  • Delayed release capsule
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Extended release tablet
  • Liquid
Used for
ProzacPaxil
Risk factors for serious side effects
ProzacPaxil
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • Stopping Prozac (Fluoxetine) suddenly
  • History of heart problems
  • History of liver problems
Detailed Prozac (fluoxetine) 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
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.

Food
ProzacPaxil
  • Take in the morning with food to avoid side effects.
  • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
Sex
ProzacPaxil
  • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
No sex related info.
Sleep
ProzacPaxil
No sleep related info.
  • It causes drowsiness, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
Weight
ProzacPaxil
No weight related info.
  • 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
ProzacPaxil
  • Effective at relieving depression and anxiety symptoms.
  • Lowers relapse rates of depression and bulimia nervosa.
  • Causes less sleepiness than other antidepressants.
  • It's more energizing than other antidepressants, so it's good for people who have low energy.
  • It has been used to treat depression for a long time, so there's a lot of information available about how it works and how safe it is.
  • 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 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
ProzacPaxil
  • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
  • Can increase feelings of anxiety or cause headaches during the first few weeks of taking it. These effects should go away over time.
  • More likely than other antidepressants to interact with other medications you're taking.
  • Like most antidepressants, it can cause a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people younger than 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 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
ProzacPaxil
  • Take in the morning with food to avoid side effects.
  • 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.
  • 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 ProzacSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Prozac (fluoxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about PaxilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Paxil (paroxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it