Paroxetine (Paxil) has an elimination half-life of 21 hours and is also highly bound to plasma proteins, so it requires special attention when administered with drugs such as warfarin. Paroxetine is a potent inhibitor of the cytochrome P450 2D6 isoenzyme and can raise the plasma levels of drugs metabolized via this route. Of particular concern are drugs with a narrow therapeutic index, such as TCAs and the type 1C antiarrhythmics flecainide, propafenone, and encainide. Additionally, paroxetine itself is metabolized by this enzyme and inhibits its own metabolism, leading to nonlinear kinetics. Weight gain is higher with paroxetine than with the other SSRIs, and it tends to be more sedating, presumably because of its potential anticholinergic effects. Additionally, patients have had difficulty with abrupt discontinuation with this agent, reporting a flulike syndrome; this symptom can be avoided by tapering the medication.
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